Vinita Latham MSc. Psychotherapy & Counselling. BA, MBACP(Reg).

Emotional Abusive Relationship

It takes courage to confront the complexities of an emotionally abusive relationship. The first step is to acknowledge the abuse and that it’s not your fault

Are you in an emotionally abusive relationship?

As a society, we tend to think of abuse in terms of physical or sexual abuse. However, we rarely consider emotional and psychological abuse, making this form of abuse hard to identify or acknowledge.

If you’re living within an abusive, controlling relationship, you will find your feelings are dismissed as irrelevant, your thoughts devalued as worthless. You can end up doubting your mind, even questioning whether you’re at fault. Living in an emotionally abusive relationship can alter how you see yourself and how you see life.

Therapy can be one way to support your recovery and help you move forward. During therapy, we can work through the pain of the abuse – talking about your experiences within a therapeutic relationship where you feel safe and not judged can feel validating and healing. In addition, deeper work can help bring your awareness into the subtle processes that underlie relationship choice.

You can find a little more about how therapy works here.

If you would like to book a session – get in touch here. 

To find out about the services I offer – services.

Emotional abuse can take many forms, some of which include:

Minimisation: your feelings, thoughts and experiences are minimised, trivialised and disregarded.

Undermined: you are questioned when expressing your opinion, interrupted or silenced and told you are wrong.

Denial: an abusive person denies or distorts words they have spoken.

Blame: your words are manipulated and twisted against you.

Challenging: you are questioned and challenged.

Expectations: nothing you do is ever good enough. You live with constant criticisms and put-downs.

Keep the peace: you feel your walking on eggshells to maintain peace.

Gaslighting: is a term used to refer to someone who uses many of the above tactics. When someone uses gaslighting against you, they undermine your sense of what’s real and what’s not and you can feel as if you’re losing your mind.  When confronted with their behaviour, they will deflect blame, twisting the truth to avoid taking responsibility. They dredge up examples from the past when you made a mistake as evidence against you. It doesn’t matter how blatant their abuse is; they will deny it with conviction convincing themselves that they’re the innocent victim. They belittle you to others to make you look bad, confirming and reinforcing their innocence. They are clever and use manipulation and invalidation. They will relentlessly undermine you to the point that you feel you’re going crazy.

Living with emotional abuse is profoundly damaging and destructive. It can negatively impact your self-esteem, self-worth and sense of well-being. It can suck all the joy out of your life. You can feel as if a heavy dark cloud hangs over you. Emotional abuse leaves invisible scars that can impact all areas of your life. You may experience feelings of guilt or shame resulting in social withdrawal and isolation from family and friends leaving you without any support system. Depression, anxiety, despair and feelings of hopelessness can result from ongoing emotional attacks. You may become physically unwell and suffer from chronic pain, low energy, headaches and insomnia.

We often find the easiest way to cope with uncomfortable feelings arising from painful experiences is to bury them deep down inside. Finding someone you feel comfortable with to talk about your experiences can help you begin to work through the confusion helping you to find clarity and build confidence to move forward.