Emotional Abuse 101

By: Farah Dessouky

We hear the term a lot, yes. But do we actually know what emotional abuse is and what it entails and how to spot it? One definition is; any act that can diminish sense of, identity, dignity, and self-worth. This includes verbal assault definitely, intimidation, black mail, control, humiliation and the list goes on. Bas does that mean that when you have a fight with your partner/friend/parent and you feel humiliated for example that they’re necessarily abusing you? No. A person becomes emotionally abusive when their actions
become a norm and are done deliberately. People susceptible to emotional abuse most likely beykoon 3andohom very low self-esteem, because when a person doesn’t value themselves, they’re most likely to accept not being valued by others.
So how do we know if what’s happening to us is emotional abuse? Because trust me, people know later on da if they even come to the realization. And before you say eh el habal da this isn’t that big of a deal just cut them off aw “balash drama”; I have 2 answers for you:

1) emotional abuse or violence momken ye lead to trauma, depression, anxiety, and even suicide. So it’s not habal.

2) Cutting them off – okay –  but easier said than done.
When people are put in such situations their abusers have SO much control and power over them and they’re often made to feel guilty and are blamed a lot, so it’s not as easy and as simple as you might think it is. Let’s get to what I think is the most important part, how can we tell if this is emotional abuse?

Here are obvious signs:

(side note I feel like putting a source here is necessary, ana msh gayba el kalam da men betna don’t worry)

1- Excessive Criticism

If you feel like your friend or parent or partner is constantly criticizing you and your actions this is psychological abuse. I don’t know and I don’t care whether they’re doing it knowingly or unknowingly but it’s just not okay and literally diminishes a person’s self-confidence; which happens a lot in relationships hence making the person used to the abuse and on the long run – develop a tolerance threshold for it even. Okay fe positive criticism but if the person can’t take it and it makes them feel like shit, it is abuse.

2- Swearing

All people fight and argue, but when the norm is that you’re going to have to take his/her swearing and degrading shatayem? This is abuse right there. It also has been found that when the abuser feels that you’re upset and might let them go they feel guilty bas not towards your feelings, rather for the possibility of a certain extent to the consequences of their actions, then they apologize and be extra nice for a while till the cycle starts again.

3- Dominance

Control baa in every single thing, and isolation from everyone in your circle. It’s like he/she is God and you have to fulfill all their demands and have your life revolve around them; thus feeding something within the victim that makes it much harder for them to just up and leave.

4- Fear

He/she will make you feel frightened. Simple. If you guys are in an intimate relationship it will be of them leaving you maslan. Or fear of being exposed for example if you’re being blackmailed. Fear of other people finding out about you, fear of being abandoned by them or losing their trust or losing them khales. In extreme cases there’s fear of physical violence – or sexual violence.

5- Belittlement

Again your self-confidence is so getting fucked. Anything good you’re doing will be faced with belittlement and “3ady yaani” or ignoring the whole thing all together. Abusers often feel like your power and confidence means a decrease in possibility of you sucking it up more mel akher keda – which I believe is actually very true.

Lastly, that abuse or bullying or emotional violence is never the victim’s responsibility at all, and often the abuser won’t just be abusing you but they’ll actually be trying to dominate many due to THEIR own insecurities.

Stay strong babes. xxx
Stay tuned for “How to deal with emotional abuse”
Source for examples of abuse: Canada’s justice definition

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