In a previous article, 5 warning signs of emotional abuse were discussed. This article will dig a little deeper by looking at some of the effects that emotional abuse may have on its victims. Please remember that if something happens once, then it may be a mistake. Repeated occurrences are deliberate actions. This is what defines abusive behaviour whether it is physical, emotional, verbal, spiritual or any other type of abuse. Your marriage should be happy and fulfilling, not painful and oppressive. Here are some effects of emotional abuse.
Distressed Mental State
When emotional abuse occurs for the first time, the victim is likely to feel shocked or confused about what has happened. This is normal as they try to process what has transpired and replay the events in their mind. They may even question what it was they said or did in an attempt to prevent this from happening again. This may lead to them taking on the wrongs of the abuser and trying to adjust themselves accordingly. This is what the abuser wants. They want you to feel ashamed or guilty about something that they actually did. As a victim, you may feel as if you are walking on eggshells when you are with your husband. Others may fall into a state of denial and attempt to play off the abuse as a normal part of marriage. Over time, victims may develop a low self-esteem and self-worth which can be very crippling to their growth. They may also feel as if they are trapped without any hope of escape. Other may feel as if they are alone and all their friends and family are unable to help them. This, of course, is incorrect but their fear or shame can be very overpowering. Other mental side effects may include clinical depression, withdrawal syndrome and even suicidal thoughts or actions.
Emotional abuse may cause fear and anxiety in the victims as they do not know what will trigger an attack. This goes over into their interactions with other people and they may become hyper-vigilant. There are some who may become more aggressive as this is the coping mechanism that they have learned. From this, we can see that overly passive or overly aggressive behaviour, while directly opposite, can both be an effect of emotional abuse. They may also change their body language, for example, avoiding eye contact or dry washing their hands. Avoiding friends and family or social engagements which they used to like may also occur. When out with friends, the victim may keep a constant check on how long they are out and express fear of being out too late. They may find themselves crying frequently as they have a feeling of helplessness. There are many cases where there is an extreme dependence on the abuser. This may be displayed by the inability to make the simplest decisions without fear of what the consequences will be. They may also seek to avoid the abuser as much as possible so that they do not offend them in any way. There may also be cases of substance abuse such as drinking alcohol or taking drugs as a means of coping with abuse. This may further destroy a person and makes it even more difficult to escape the abuse.
There are many women who experience a physical pain without there being a reason. This can be very debilitating and hard to diagnose. The mind is very powerful and it interprets pain and the source of this pain. The victim may be so fearful of a physical attack that they may actually suffer severe pain when in the presence of the abuser or even when they think about the abuser. They have also been known to have problems getting a good night’s sleep and may take drugs to aid them. This may affect other areas of their lives. They may become a shell of the person they were. Raccoon eyes are the obvious sign of lack of sleep and no one wants to have this look.
These are not the only or definitive effects of emotional abuse. If you have anything to add, please feel free to comment. If you want to find out more about emotional abuse, you can pick up the book “Time To Go”. Thanks for reading.