Love, Heartbreak

How You Take Part In Emotional Abuse In Your Relationship — And Why It's Time To Stop

Photo: unsplash/Keem Ibarra
How You Take Part In Emotional Abuse In Your Relationship And Why It's Time To Respect Your Partner

Emotional abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse, one that lacks respect from one partner to another. It's seen frequently in marriages because it begins subtly.

You may belittle your partner for not getting that raise or shout at your wife when the kids are acting up. 

RELATED: 21 Signs You're In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

How many times have you told your girlfriends that you have three kids including your husband? Although you may have joked about it, what do you think he heard?

Your spouse is your partner, not your child, not your slave, and not your employee.

No doubt, there are many types of abuse that can occur in a relationship. But, the problem with emotional abuse is that it’s difficult to admit that you’re doing it.

Most people want to think that they are kind to their partner and exclude themselves, pointing the finger at someone else — maybe even their spouse. After all, no one wants to be the toxic partner in a toxic relationship.

However, blaming is a type of emotional abuse as is name calling, making your partner feel like they’re always wrong, yelling, making your partner the butt of jokes, or constantly criticizing them.

Telling your man to grow up or punishing him with the silent treatment is emotional abuse — just as telling your wife to shut up or criticizing what she fixes for dinner are.

Emotional abuse is not to be confused with normal marriage conflict.

Everyone has conflict and you need that in a healthy marriage, but abuse is when one partner uses dominance or the fact that they’re right and you’re wrong when emotional abuse happens.

Your body may know you’re being emotionally abused way before you do.

Feeling your stomach tighten or your heart pound whenever a conflict needs to be resolved are signs that emotional abuse is happening to you, especially if it ends with a personal attack on you.

How do you stop or prevent emotional abuse in your marriage?

Every marriage needs constant nurturing to survive, communicating about how you feel, and working on resolving the problem areas keeps your marriage healthy.

The signs of emotional abuse are subtle.

When you bring up the fact that you believe your partner is not treating you with respect, you can expect defensiveness. That is also one of the symptoms of an emotionally abusive relationship.

If the abuse is severe and you feel numb with shame and as though you’re walking on eggshells, it's time to see a professional counselor.

Most abusers don’t change and leaving the relationship may be the best option.

RELATED: 7 Things That Look Like Love (But Are Actually Emotional Abuse)

If you feel like you're the one being emotionally abused, here are the 4 important steps you need to take.

1. Confront the abuser

Tell your partner you’ve had enough and don’t listen to any more of their excuses. It’s not your fault that they cannot control their actions.

2. Set boundaries

If your partner is willing to take responsibility for their part and stop controlling or dominating the relationship, you can work together to make your relationship healthy.

3. Practice giving each other respect

No couple agrees with every opinion of the other, but respecting the actions and opinions of one another is key to keeping the marriage alive.

4. Work on your self-esteem

Don’t internalize every criticism your partner throws your way. They don’t need to like your TV shows, music, or anything else you do.

Don’t take it personally. Having differences in marriage is a good thing. Learn to like who you are while also demanding respect from them.

It's time to take charge of your life.

If the abuser is unwilling to stop or work toward building a healthier marriage with you, then leave. Choosing to live with someone who thinks they’re entitled to belittle you is not good for you or your children.

Sometimes, the signs of abuse in abusive relationships are ignored because people fear that if they leave, they won't find a better relationship elsewhere. They fear that they'll be alone.

It's important to set the bar high in your marriage and work each day to be a better version of yourself. You can’t control anyone else but yourself.

However, allowing your spouse to treat you with disrespect victimizes you and turns him or her into an abuser. Great marriages aren’t given — they’re created with respect and compassion.

RELATED: 5 Major Red Flags Of Emotional Abuse In A Relationship

Mary Jo Rapini is an intimacy and sex counselor, specializing in empowering relationships. For more information, go to her website or talk to her on her Facebook fan page.

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