CRUELTY COMES IN MANY FORMS –
& they all hurt my feelings!
PREVIOUS: Emotional Abuse (Part 1)
SITE: Types of Emotional Abuse
EMOTIONALLY HARMFUL Statements we may have heard growing up:
• ‘SPS’ (self-praise stinks) • Now I’ve seen everything! (you’re weird)
• Wake up & die right! • You’re just like your mother / father – yuck!
• You’ve always been too sensitive, too dramatic, too much
• After all I have done for you! • Prove that you love me
• You think you’re so smart, but you’re not • What’s wrong with you is _
• You’re too smart for your own britches….. • Shut up, you brat!
• Don’t tell anyone about _____ (sexual or physical abuse) • You asked for it!
• You’re just a big baby! • You’ll never amount to anything
• What would you know about that? • Who do you think you are?
• If you don’t like it, you can leave • Do as I say, not as I do • Look ashamed!
• I’m going to leave you at the orphanage • I’m doing — for your own good
• What makes you an authority on that? • That’s your problem
• Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about
• You’re such a disappointment… I don’t know where I went wrong
• What yours is mine & what’s mine is nobody’s business!
• Yes, dad’s the head of the house, but I’m the neck that turns the head!
• Yes I heard about your marriage. How did you get such a nice girl/guy?
ALSO, shameful or embarrassing stories about us told & repeated to anyone & everyone OR any outright lies about us
TYPES of EMOTIONAL ABUSE (P. = Perpetrator / V. = Victim)
✶ Def : deliberately trying to hurt someone, at any level (PMES). The receiver of the aggression may not be the actual target, like kicking the dog when you’re mad at your boss. Not to be confused with assertiveness, when someone is standing up for their rights without intent to do harm.
Naturally, this list is only a fraction of what people are capable of – a guide to help us think about what we may be putting up with, without realizing.
a. Direct and obvious. P. usually has an angry, attacking attitude
• uses a one-up parent–to–child way of communication, infantilizing you
• makes you one-down to them by judging & invalidating you, undermining the equality & autonomy essential to healthy adult relationships
• uses name-calling, accusing, blaming, threatening, and ordering around
• may be disguised and “helping”- BUT is actually being critical, ‘fixing you’, giving unsolicited advise, analyzing you, questioning your tastes & decisions
• uses the implied judgmental tone of “I know best” – to belittle, control, or demean, rather than support your growth & development
• to leave, any time they don’t like something – but doesn’t
• to take the kids, the car, the house…
• to stop paying for important necessities
• to hit or do other harm, but doesn’t follow thru
• to commit suicide (& it will be your fault), but never does it
d. Verbal assaults
• berating, belittling, criticizing, name calling
• screaming, threatening you physically
• constant blaming, using sarcasm and humiliation
• blowing your flaws out of proportion, harping on them
• making fun of you, any time, & in front of others
• railroads discussions, talks over you, won’t give you room to respond…. so you don’t have time to identify what’s wrong with what they’re saying or doing
• if P. is verbally clever they’ll make their point of view seem perfectly logical even tho they’re twisting everything in their favor, using CDs
• P. wants to control your every action, to have their own way – and will resort to threats & verbal attacks to get it
• smash, throw, deface or cut up personal or household items
• give away or throwing your things out without discussion or permission
f. Emotional Blackmail
• plays on your fear, guilt, compassion, values, weaknesses or other “hot buttons” to get what they want
• threatens to end the relationship, totally reject or abandon you, ignore you or use other fear tactics to control you – unless you give in
• draws you in by being nice & then unpredictably says something cruel, or pushes you away, disgusted
NEXT: Emotional Abuse (Part 3)