One very popular cause of divorce and unrest in marriage is domestic violence which most times involves physical abuse and brutality. But there is another form of abuse which when not addressed and handled properly, could lead to a broken or an unhappy marriage. That form of abuse is what we call emotional abuse.
This form of abuse is as old as relationships on earth but has not been given much attention because it does not create physical wounds. But it may very well create heart wounds and mind scars and should therefore be addressed as well because it is also a major relationship killer.
What is emotional abuse? Emotional abuse is an abuse on the emotional aspect of our being. When we enter into a relationship, a large percentage of our emotional self is thrown into it and when one partner betrays or humiliates the other on purpose, making them to question their love fidelity or level of commitment or even personal self-worth and value, we tag it emotional abuse. A more technical definition is, “any act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth.”
Emotional abuse comes in many forms, they include:
- Financial abuse: the abuser does not allow the victim control over any of the finances.
2.Yelling: name-calling, blaming and shaming (forms of humiliation).
- Isolation: controlling access to friends and family.
- Threats and intimidation: denial and blame, denying or minimizing the abuse or blaming the victim; saying that the victim “made them do it”.
Emotional abuse is a mind killer and should not be taken for granted. Cheating on one’s spouse and being unapologetic about it, is a form of emotional abuse. Being together for several years and suddenly coming up with a child conceived and born outside the relationship is emotional abuse. Dating a person for several years and suddenly dumping them to commit or get married to someone else is emotional abuse. Giving your spouse ‘the silent treatment’ as punishment for offences, is emotional abuse. Being married to someone yet making them feel lonely, is emotional abuse.
Dear singles, a partner that cheats on you before marriage would turn you into an emotional wreck/disaster after marriage. A person that yells at you, intimidates you and humiliates you both in private and in public, should not be seen as a future spouse. Marriage without mutual respect is a disaster waiting to happen. Stop imagining you are God that can change anybody. If they didn’t change before marriage, what makes you think they will change after. Be wise! If you find yourself in a relationship with someone who continuously stabs your heart and gives you unnecessary heart aches, please run for your life. You don’t want to end up blaming yourself for embracing a frustrated life.
It is killing for many married people, especially women, when they go through emotional abuse and yet find it difficult to attract a listening ear or sympathizer. The question they get mostly is, ” does he hit you?” And once the answer is NO, everyone tries to shut them up by telling them they should be grateful to have such a man. This increases frustration to a point the woman might just end up paying her husband back with infidelity or divorce. Some forms of emotional abuse could be worse than hitting a person. And just because they didn’t die physically does not mean they are not dead inside already. Men too get emotionally abused but it appears they are not as open about it as the female folk.
Some people watch their spouses betray their marital vow by cheating on them or even going as far as bringing strangers to their home to spite them the more. Many times, such highly provoking forms of emotional abuse could very well lead to domestic violence or even death.
So, what is the way forward? One may be asking. Making the public aware of this form of abuse and speaking out the silent pain of many people is definitely one way to involve their support and intervention whenever they come across such situations. People need to be more sympathetic to those that cry out for help when suffering from emotional abuse. Also, singles should not sit around and endure an abusive relationship. Opt out. You still have the chance. And for those that feel the easiest way to dealing with marital issues and domestic offences is to apply the silent treatment, think again; you are an emotional abuser. Talking out issues and solving them is a better option than using the silent treatment which only breeds malice.
And for those in highly emotionally abusive relationships, note that seeking counsel from the right source is your wisest option. Any source that tells you to keep quiet and die in silence, does not like your sanity at all. Seek counsel and ensure the issue between you and your spouse is addressed and handled in the most marriage saving way. Cheers to a peaceful home!