HBeing 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 shift 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 us to reach out to each other 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 pushme-pull-you-game threatening to withdraw their love and they are dropping hurtful statements out of the blue intended to destabilize
  • emotional abusers expect to be forgiven for their ‘mistakes’, they will often find good excusses why they act the way they do; for example an abusive former partner or a traumatic childhood. On the other hand they are unable to forgive their partners for legitimate mistakes
  • he will try to tell his partner that it is NOT OK to feel angry or hurt or upset bis his actions - or that if she DOES feel those things, „her feelings are her own“, that he has no responsibility for them
  • the abuser never gives freely or unconditionally. He expects some kind of recompense in return, often without stating what the expectation is. While people legitimately DO change their minds about things, abusers will do it often, and without warning, with maximum effect 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 (https://www.re-empowerment.de/).