It’s difficult to convince others that you’ve sustained emotional scars when there are no physical scars to show. Hell, it’s even difficult to convince your own self that the wounds on your self-esteem and confidence run deeper than ones you could ever fester on the outside.
I knew I was in an abusive relationship. But it took me a while to admit to myself that I had to get out of it. Let me be very clear, there never was a hand raised against me. But the thrashing that my ego received every single day left bruises on my soul that took a long long time to heal.
In order to find your way out of an abusive relationship, you need to first know that you are in one. Women often miss the signs of being victims of emotional abuse as long as the men don’t overpower them with their physical strength.
Emotionally Abusive Relationship Signs
Look out for these warning signs to know that you’re trapped in a toxic relationship. You’re emotionally being abused if your partner:
- Constantly criticized you
- Puts you down frequently, not just when alone, but also in front of other people
- Embarrasses you
- Humiliates you
- Is overly possessive
- Makes you feel guilty for something that’s not your fault
- Pushes you away from your family and friends
- Is extremely dominating
- Is always rude to you
This list is not an exhaustive one. There may be other factors indicating that you’re not with the right person.
Can An Abusive Relationship Ever Get Better?
It’s natural to hope that an abusive relationship will get better. That the other person will change. But this depends entirely on whether that person realizes that they are being abusive, and wants to change.
This is something that’s beyond your control. There’s a slim chance that a person will stop behaving as per their basic nature. Even if they do, it’s often too good to be true. The ‘rainbows and butterflies’ phase might last for a short while before the abuser gets back to behaviour that they think is normal.
In a rare instance, your partner might really be willing to change. Try to identify whether they are putting on a show or making a genuine effort. Don’t get sucked into false promises. If you think that your self-esteem can’t stand it any longer, walk away.
Why Can’t People Just Walk Away From The Emotional Abuse?
Most victims, despite knowing that they’re in an unhealthy relationship, are too scared to leave. They decide to stick it out in the hope that things will get better. But that rarely ever happens. Here are a few reasons why people don’t just leave.
- Abusive Behaviour Is Rationalized By The Society
Society justifies emotional abuse by making you believe that it’s absolutely normal and happens to everyone. Especially if you’re a woman! You’re supposed to listen to what the man of the house says and oblige.
You must have often heard this term being used in context to abusive bosses. But associating it with your own partner is an unfortunate situation to be in. By gaslighting you, your partner makes you question your own sanctity. You start believing that you’re out of your mind making up things in your head and that the abuse is a figment of your imagination.
- Self-esteem Is Often Too Low To Make A Fresh Start
People who’ve been subjected to constant emotional bashing tend to be extremely low on self-confidence and self-esteem. They often believe that they are worthless, and making a fresh start is not possible for them. They underestimate themselves and surrender to the belief that there’s no better life out there for them.
- Fear Of Social Stigma
People often stay with their abusive partners out of the fear of judgement. They feel that society will stigmatize and ostracize them. “What will people say” unfortunately influences many life decisions for many people, including this one.
Mustering the courage to walk away is not easy. But it needs to be done. I know that it’s easier said than done. But I’ve walked away from a relationship that had once made me the worst version of myself. Sure, it took me a while. But I walked towards the light at the end of the tunnel. And I’m the best version of myself today.
How To Walk Away From A Relationship With Dignity
I would like to share with you a few tips that helped me make my life-altering decision.
- Don’t Blame Yourself
An abusive partner always tricks you into thinking that their behaviour is your fault. You’re the one that incites them to treat you the way they do. But that’s not true. The abuser’s actions are NOT YOUR FAULT! As time passes, you start believing them and start wondering if there’s actually something wrong with you. You deem yourself unlovable.
You must get yourself out of this loop. It’s not you. It’s definitely them. You can’t control someone else’s actions. What they do is a choice that they make; you have nothing to do with it. Understand this. You are only responsible for your actions, and no one else’s.
- Respect Yourself
Your partner clearly doesn’t respect you, which in turn has resulted in you disrespecting yourself. If you start treating yourself with dignity, you will refuse to be treated the way your partner does.
Staying in a toxic relationship will become unacceptable once you regain your self-respect and realize that no one has the right to abuse you. Not even yourself.
- Be Willing To Walk Away
The biggest reason why people can’t walk away from an emotionally abusive relationship is that they aren’t prepared to do so. In order to regain control of your life, you have to be willing to cut cords with all the negativity in your life, including your partner.
- Know That It’s Never Too Late To Start Over
A lot of people I know have told me that they’re too old to bring about a 180-degree turn in their lives and start over. Trust me when I say this, it’s not. A close relative of mine left her verbally abusive husband at the age of 50 and started working for an insurance company.
While she had to start from scratch, she is one of the most successful people I know today. And the biggest reason for her success, she says, is her happiness and freedom, that she would never have found had she still been living with her now ex-husband.
It’s never too late to make a fresh start. No matter how old you are, there is something bigger waiting for you. It’s up to you to cross the bridge and grab life by the horns on the other side.
- Seek Help
It’s okay to ask for help. If you’re unable to detach from an ugly relationship, ask your loved ones for assistance. It could be your parent, sibling, or friend. Just know that they are there for you and they love you. And will help you out in every way possible to get you out of your current situation. You just have to say the word.
Final Thoughts – Emotionally Abusive Relationship
Domestic violence is widespread across the world. And its relatively easier to catch the perpetrators. But what of those who don’t leave behind any marks on your body, just on your soul?
Mental torture is just as bad as physical torture. Or maybe even worse. Physical wounds heal with time. But who’s to say when emotional suffering will end.
Love and respect thyself. And if you have kids, set an example for them. Stand up for yourself and quit being in an emotionally abusive relationship. You deserve better.