Abuse, however it is, be it physical (sexual) or mental (emotional) is not what anyone deserves. All the same, amongst these forms of abuse – physical and emotional, the sexual abuse can be easily detected while the mental is not. This form of abuse is without doubt the worst form of abuse as it goes undetected until serious harm is done to the victim. Signs of mental abuse are not detected as long as there is a feeling of “care” or “romance” towards the victim. For the signs of mental abuse are often confused with these sentences – “he/she is caring”, “he/she is kind”, “he/she is romantic” and so on.
In the real sense of it, no party is exempted, as both men and women are abused on regular basis. The signs of mental abuse come in different forms as the major reason is to gain power and control in a relationship. This quest for power and control is what drives the abuser to go every length ensuring that the victim is denied all sorts of happiness, experiences depression, anxiety and overall deterioration in mental health. These most times, cause the victims consider taking their own lives.
Under listed are few common signs of mental abuse
- THEY MANIPULATE AND GASLIGHT YOU
At times you see yourself wondering if you understand what reality really means. You are very sure of what your partner said the previous time, but he/she glaringly denies them with all confidence making you to question yourself. Some of these statements are what we are actually talking about – ‘I didn’t do that’, ‘I didn’t say any such’, ‘when did I say that?’ Their behaviours can make you doubt yourself or even cause loss of trust in your own self. Along the line, you may get manipulated into believing them more than yourself. At any time you observe anything as this, be careful to observe if you are abused mentally because it is one of the signs of mental abuse.
- YOU ARE HUMILIATED IN THE NAME OF “JOKES”
Most times, abusers humiliate their partners with what they call jokes whereas they mean it. They criticize you for your dressing, makeup or even your hairstyle. Although there is no problem with them making their suggestion on these issues, but in a humiliating manner is abusive. They don’t get to acknowledge your strength be it in private or public just to ensure you depend on their judgement. When you question them about these things, they claim they are only joking or you are too sensitive, it’s nothing.
- THEY REQUIRE CONSTANT CHECK-INS
There is nothing wrong with checking-in on your partner or your partner checking-in on you, but it becomes abusive when it is carried out to achieve total control. They ensure you don’t know much about their whereabouts but at the same time, they keep a close check on you when you are absent. This is what most people call “jealous lover” unknowingly to them, they are abused. You get texted, called, emailed just to know where you are at every moment. They even go as far as determining the friends you go out with, what you do with your phone or computer. They also try to determine your social activities.
- YOU CONSTANTLY FEEL GUILTY
The worst of stage of this abuse is when you are given every reason to believe it’s your fault when you are aware it is not your fault. You are manipulated to say sorry for what you did not do, just to ensure peace. The feeling of anxiety and discomfort creeps in during this time. You see yourself walking on eggshells – being unnecessarily careful, second guessing before you do anything. You feel guilty for their wrong behaviours and subsequently apologize to them for their own fault.
At the very moment you start experiencing any of these things, it is time to meet your partner and talk to him about your insecurity and the both of you will put heads together to resolve the looming danger. Remember the major reason for mental abuse is to gain control, although the abuser may be unaware of his actions as abusive, but it is left to the victim to confront the problems. Mental abuse can cause harm to marriage especially when not treated with utmost carefulness.