The awareness of emotional abuse is growing, which is a good thing because while it leaves no outward marks, the damage it causes goes deep and takes a long time to heal. Sadly, emotional abuse from those close to us can leave wounds and scars that stay with us for a lifetime. So really this means that those we love the most, our parents or boyfriend or girlfriend are the ones causing us the most damage and it’s usually the hardest to see.
The term emotional abuse is a dangerous thing. It isn’t as cut and dried as physical abuse. Emotional abuse is not when your parents forget to pick you up for soccer practice a couple of times during the season. It is not even when they occasionally get frustrated and mad and yell. Notice that word, occasionally? That is a big key. Every once in a while, we all do things we regret or know we shouldn’t have done. This seems especially true while we’re teenagers. Life is rough, it’s confusing, and there’s a lot of confusing emotions to sort through. Typically our parents are also struggling to figure out how to be parents to us and with the fact that we’re growing up. All of that is to say that some rough patches are expected. Healthy families and partners dig in during these times and figure out how to work through them, together. If there is emotional abuse in your family or your relationship, it takes on a different look all together.
If you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship, you’re living every other minute of every day filled with sickening dread. You will find yourself investing a lot of energy trying to keep your parent, parents, or partner happy. Sadly, most of us find out that no matter what we do it will never make that other person happy. When you the subject of emotional abuse, it is normal to feel fearful, nauseous, and anxious whenever you have to be around or interact with the abuser.
When the abuser is someone we are close to like a parent, caregiver or someone we’re in a relationship with, it can be hard to know what is emotional abuse. Here are the six most common types of emotional abuse.
Rejecting you in extreme and consistent ways is a form of emotional abuse. Some of the ways this may manifest include:
- belittling, overly harsh criticism
- yelling and screaming at you
- humiliating or demeaning jokes at your expense
- withholding love, attention, and touch
- locking you out of the house to punish or “discipline” you
- physical or emotional abandonment
Ignoring you usually means that your parent may be physically there, but emotionally they are absent. While this usually means they didn’t get their emotional needs met and are unable to meet yours, it doesn’t mean you have to stay and be emotionally abused in turn. Examples include:
- denying you the medical care
- not providing you as much of a safe and clean environment as is available
- not responding to you when you try to connect
- abandoning you physically or emotionally
- consistently ignoring your interests, schooling, and friends
There are other types of emotional abuse, check out our blog on 6 Types of Emotional Abuse for more information. If you are in an abusive situation, there are resources out there to help you. We have the Cornerstone Emergency Shelter at 9290 Hurlock Ave, just around the corner from the Skate Park. We’re open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We are always open if you need a place to sleep and a warm meal or just someone to talk to who will understand. We can also help you talk through and work things out with your parents. If you want to give us a call instead, you can reach us at 907-789-7654. There are other resources for you too, just follow this link for more information.