Being a Josea-girl means being an empowered woman, particularly one who takes care of their own wellbeing. But what does that mean in the context of today’s, “International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women”On this special day we want to share a list of signs that focus the spotlight on psychologically abusive relationships because violence against women is not just happening in a physical way: one can also be a victim of emotional violence. We hope this list helps increase the awareness in our community and re-empowers each of us to reach out if we witness any of these signs.
So, what are the signs of emotional abuse?
First of all, emotional abuse doesn’t have to take the obvious form of yelling. It can include being judgemental, making jokes about you or your body all the time, patronizing, forgetting promises and agreements, setting you up, or revising history. To the outsider, the abuser often seems like a “nice guy,” while controlling and self-absorbed to their intimate partner. It is the mixture between these two modes—the one that loves and the one that harms—that often makes it so confusing for the partner. Abusers present an exterior of calm and rational self-control, when in reality they have no internal control of their own pain and chaotic self-hate, so they try to control others and make others lose control.
- Abusers play the ‘push-me, pull-you’ game where they threaten to withdraw their love or say hurtful statements out of the blue to destabilize the relationship
- Abusers expect to be forgiven for their ‘mistakes’ and will often create excuses for their actions (e.g. blaming their actions on a traumatic childhood or former abusive partners). On the other hand, they are unable to forgive their partners for legitimate mistakes.
- Abusers will try to convince their partner it’s NOT OK to feel angry, hurt, or upset by their actions. When the victim DOES feel those things, the abuser claims it’s the victim’s “own problem,” and takes no responsibility for them.
- Abusers never give freely or unconditionally. They expect some kind of compensation in return, and may do so without stating what their expectation is. While people legitimately DO change their minds about things, abusers will do it often and without warning, creating maximum uncertainty and anxiety for their partner.
Remember: People who are capable of genuinely loving you in a healthy and safe way, don't want to hurt you, and do not deliberately do things to hurt you! They don't play on your insecurities. They don’t blame YOU for all relationship problems. This list is a shortcut and inspired by the website re-empowerment.de