If you’re in a relationship with an emotional abuser, you might not understand what is going on inside the head of your significant other. You may feel like no matter what you do, it’s never enough. You may find that you’re constantly getting blamed for random things but the truth is, it’s not you, it’s them.
There is a great article by Swan Waters that lists the 20 traits of emotional abusers. Here’s a summary:
1. An abuser takes no responsibility for their faults
2. An abuser expresses no true emotions
3. An abuser drains the energy right out of you
4. An abuser is charming, flirty and overly confident
5. Abusers are lovely one minute and lash out the next
6. Abusers usually do not ‘communicate’
7. Abusers often lack maturity
8. An abuser likes to divide and conquer
9. Abusers don’t talk of their past but often have issues
10. Abusers show jealousy
11. An abuser loves playing the victim
12. Abusers lack emotional self-control
13. Abusers make superficial judgements about others
14. Abusers are often cruel
15. An abuser will try to come off as perfect
16. Abusers are predominantly concerned with image
17. An abuser thinks you only exist for their needs
18. Abusers abhor compliments
19. An abuser always aims for deniability
20. Abusers are drama addicted
If you’ve been able to identify your significant other as an emotional abuser, the next question is, what do you do about it. The first thing is to realize that you cannot change your partner and it is not your responsibility. Reach out for support and know when it’s time to say goodbye. It may be hard for you to imagine your life without the relationship, but you deserve to be treated with more respect.
Don’t make excuses for your partner’s behavior, but do make sure to put your safety first. If your home feels unsafe, go somewhere else and send your children somewhere safe like a friend’s house. Make sure to have a phone on you at all times and program in the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE even if it is ‘just’ emotional abuse.
Once you’re in a safe zone, block your ex’s phone number as well as any ties on social media. Take care of yourself and don’t let them get into your head. This was not your fault. You deserve to be happy. You may also want to look into finding a mental health professional who can help you cope through the situation. Stay strong, things will get better and remember you deserve much more.
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