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  • Olivia Sanders
    Olivia Sanders

    The Subtle Signals of Emotional Abuse: How to Tell When It's Time to Leave

    The prospect of emotional abuse may seem difficult to detect at first, as it is often far more subtle than other forms of mistreatment. To the untrained eye, emotional abusers may appear charming, attentive, courteous or loving. But beneath this polished veneer, lies a sinister cycle of mental manipulation and emotional control which can slowly erode an individual's self-esteem and emotional wellbeing.

    Emotional abusers have an uncanny ability to use emotional trauma as a way of controlling their victim. They often practice psychological warfare, berating and belittling their victim in order to dominate and undermine their sense of self. Oftentimes, the abuser will place their partner’s thoughts, values and opinions in the trash bin, while simultaneously creating a pedestal upon which they unilaterally stand. This makes their victim feel inferior, lacking autonomy and constantly questioning their own judgement.

    Victims of emotional abuse also tend to demonstrate behavioral changes such as intense anxiety, depression, hypersensitivity to criticism, self-blame, difficulties concentrating and panic attacks. Physical manifestations may also reveal itself, such as insomnia, irritability, and various health problems.

    If you’ve begun to notice any of these changes in yourself or your loved one, the time to leave may be far sooner than expected. There is no escape from emotional trauma, and no amount of curtailing, cajoling, or convincing can alleviate this situation. Such a person must get out of the abusive situation and find professional help as soon as possible in order to restore their emotional peace and safety.

    Understand that if you’re in a relationship that no longer brings joy or contentment and makes you feel ‘less' in any way, it is probably best to leave. Identifying the signs of emotional abuse may be difficult to do on your own, so a mental health expert such as a psychologist, therapist, or counselor may provide a much needed outside perspective.

    It takes tremendous strength and courage to confront a situation of emotional abuse and make the permanent choice to walk away. But the decision to leave is ultimately a life-saving step in the right direction for true healing to begin. Sometimes what can seem like a traumatic experiencing can be a doorway for growth and fulfilling relationships. Do not hesitate to seek help if you believe that you are suffering from emotional abuse.

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