Emotional Abuse: The Silent Marriage Killer
Physical abuse along with verbal abuse is visible, and both types of abuse are clear indicators that something is wrong with the marriage. This “abuse visibility” can be manifested through bruises and scars, hurtful words, yelling, screaming, and more. These signs help a spouse to see that they are being abused. Unfortunately, emotional abuse is more cunning and not as visible. A spouse can ruin the other’s self-esteem without raising their voice or a hand. This creates a situation where a number of partners don't realize that they are in an abusive relationship.
Recognize Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse can be defined as nonphysical behavior that is intended to control, humiliate, intimidate, or isolate a person using fear and degradation. This kind of behavior can be explained to mean neglect. It is used to disapprove the other person’s feelings, attitudes, wishes, and needs. An emotional environment as such has all predispositions to squeeze the life out of a marriage.
Making the distinction between being emotionally abusive and experiencing emotional hurt is critical. Abuse is not a once-in-a-while incident, but it is an ongoing cycle. Couples fight all the time and in “ordinary” occurrences, they offer sincere apologies and heal the break in their relationship. If the hurt is not intentional then the person who caused that pain, feels remorse and calms down. When emotional abuse is at work, none of these are in the picture. There can be many promises never to do it again. In the beginning, there is anticipation that these attitudes and behaviors will never repeat again, but there is always that shred of suspicion that things will go back to old routines.
Emotional Abuser Profile
Emotional abusers have one goal: to be in control. An abuser has distorted beliefs about marriage and genders, usually caused by some similar abusive events that happened in their early childhood. In most instances, an abuser is manipulative and determined to keep a partner “under their thumb”. Their point of view is the only one they see and recognize. They are not able to look at things from their partner’s perspective, or they just refuse to do so. An abuser is also emotionally dependent on their partner. Being married gives them the feeling of self-worthiness. Most emotionally abusive partners are incapable of understanding the reasons for their spirit-killing behavior towards the person they have promised to love.
Emotionally Abused Partner Profile
Emotionally abused partners have low self-esteem. They may appear to be in control, but their abusive partner’s acceptance is what gives them the measure of worth. When it comes to men and women, men typically find their identity in academic achievement or work while women often base their identity on their relationships. For this reason, women are more susceptible to emotionally abusive relationships.
An inability to have joyful sexual experiences with one's partner is one of the most common signs of an abused partner. The reason for this can be lack of intimacy, trust issues, or lack of friendship. If a wife is the emotionally abused partner in the marriage, she may experience sex as a rape. Intimacy, confidence, and the physical aspect of sex represent the foundation for positive sexual responses, and in an emotionally abusive situation, these no longer exist. The person becomes emotionally detached from such situations and slowly loses their spirit and soul.
Cry for Help
This silent marriage killer is more dangerous than physical and verbal abuse. Abuse is not only saying hurtful words or raising your hand, but also not expressing affection or never saying beautiful things. It takes energy to confront your abuser and make them realize this kind of behavior is not okay. Professional marriage counseling is a way to make some changes and make your marriage work again.