My Thoughts On Emotional Abuse


posted by on Christian Encouragement


My thoughts on emotionally abusive relationships have changed as I’ve become more experienced in ministry to those who are single and divorced. Where I once thought the term was mostly just contrived and used by someone who might be seeking a certain justification for leaving his or her marriage, I now realize there’s more to the story. It’s important for us to discuss the subject of emotional abuse, because those who have experienced it need to know that it is real, and that it produces genuine long-term brokenness in it’s victims.
Emotionally abusive relationships are usually marked by significant and prolonged outbursts of immaturity, jealousy and control.  Those of us who grew up in these kinds of dysfunctional homes often believe these types of relationships are normal, but they are not. Emotionally abusive relationships are characterized by elements of blatant disrespect and they usually end badly. I will characterize four common traits of emotionally abusive relationships and you may recognize these behaviors from your past relationship(s). If you do, you must give yourself plenty of time to get healthy before you select another person to partner with, otherwise you are likely to choose another immature and controlling individual, therefore setting yourself up for another emotional and cathartic failure.

Emotionally abusive spouses usually want you all to themselves and they will make an effort to have it that way. They do not understand that you have a life outside of your relationship with them – one that includes family and friends. It is healthy and normal for you to hang out with other people, so if your partner prevents you from doing so, this may be a sign of an emotionally abusive relationship.

Threats, name-calling or punishment

If you are with someone who has a need to manipulate you, threaten you, blame you, punish you or call you names, and you see that this behavior is usually rooted in jealousy or possessiveness; even if this person says they were “just joking”- they mean to hurt you and keep you in line.  Abusers often cover themselves by blaming you for the consequences of their outbursts, saying that you need to lighten up or that you are too sensitive. You are not too sensitive; you are feeling in your gut that you are not being treated well. Emotional abusers have a way of making you believe their behavior is normal and that it’s you who has the problem.

Drug or alcohol use

Not all abusers use drugs or drink excessive alcohol, but many do. An addiction can lead to erratic and inappropriate behavior. Substance abuse can be a gateway to emotional abuse and an unhealthy relationship.

If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship that is characterized by a combination of these traits, there is a good chance that the abusive nature of your relationship may eventually get physical.  At first, the abuser might grab you, push you, or pull your hair. These are usually warning signs that things can and will escalate further. A disrespectful partner who has reacted violently before, (breaking things, punching the wall, etc) may be likely to physically abuse you. It is important to remember that while emotional abuse is often considered to be committed by a man against a woman, women are very capable of emotionally abusing men. You must settle the issue within yourself, that emotional abuse is never acceptable at any time, in any relationship.

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  1. Steve
    • Jeff Brown
      • Steve
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    • jenn

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