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6 Types of Emotional Abuse People Overlook in Relationships

1. Stonewalling

Stonewalling is when your partner reaches out with something they need to talk about, but you either deflect the conversation or refuse to communicate. It's normal and okay to need space after an argument; however it is important and respectful to communicate that with your partner. It's okay to tell them you are not in the right mental space to discuss that topic at the moment, but also make a real effort to get yourself to that space. It is emotionally abusive to invalidate your partner's concerns by deflecting the conversation or turning into a "stonewall" when they try to communicate. This also makes your partner hesitant to talk about issues with you in the future, and that alone is emotional abuse on its own.

2. The Guilt Trip

It's hard to believe that people who use guilt trips to get their way don't know what they're doing, but most people really don't realize this is emotional abuse. When you continue to tug on a person's shame and guilt in order to get your way, that's simply horrible. If you've ever been on the other side of this, you know how it feels. You walk on egg shells everyday because you did that one thing a year ago that hurt your partner's feelings. When things are resolved and both partners agree to move forward with the relationship, using their mistakes to get your way is emotionally abusive.

3. The Silent Treatment

This form of emotional abuse is actually one of the most unnoticeable forms of abuse. This starts from childhood, when you're upset at someone over a toy or candy so you refuse to speak to them; or when you're upset with your parent for making you do what you need to do, so you refuse to speak to them. When you're a toddler, it's cute and funny seeing your little pouty face as you fold your arms, determined to never speak to your parents. When you're an adult, you are making your partner feel invisible and it is not cute. You are making them feel like their feelings are irrelevant to the extent of you not dignifying them with a response. They feel like you don't care enough to properly ask for space, you simply put them on mute and go about your day. That's emotionally abusive.

4. Gaslighting

Gaslighting is pretty much manipulating a person into questioning their own sanity. Like, something that they saw clear as day - you belittle their position on it so much that they believe maybe they saw it wrong. This is very common when you're dating a narcissistic personality. You're forced to question if your standards are simply too high for what you are worth, and if the common decency you are asking for is too "high maintenance" of you. You know how you feel, but you're being told you're crazy for it. That's gaslighting, and it's emotional abuse.

5. Dismissing Concerns By Labeling You

"You're always complaining about something," "here we go again, what's the issue now," "you just like to argue," "you always overreact", are ways that someone eventually convinces you that your concerns are redundant and only exist because you are the problem. When you find yourself afraid to speak up because you don't want them to role their eyes and walk away from you, or ridicule you before even hearing what you have to say, you are being emotionally abused. When you are more worried about how your partner would feel about you having an issue, than you are about resolving the issue, you are being emotionally abused.

6. Extreme Lack of Trust

Most people don't see this as emotional abuse, but extreme lack of trust can force your partner to develop anxiety over the relationship. Trust is fragile, once broken it is an uphill battle repairing it. But when you distrust someone who has never given you a reason to distrust them, it will eventually become a problem in the relationship. They'll start walking on eggshells to prove their loyalty. This can be emotionally exhausting - when you're constantly answering for your whereabouts, keeping the exact same routines because one off pattern brings suspicions, checking in a hundred times a day, etc. It is emotionally abusive to force someone to go out of their way every day to cater to your lack of trust, especially when uncalled for. When things get that bad, it is important to seek help on your own mental health because that is where the trust issues stem from.


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