Psychological abuse is any type of systematic behavior that causes emotional damage to the person and affects their emotional balance . Almost always the objective of these behaviors is usually to intimidate the victim, generate feelings of guilt and devalue them. To achieve his goal, the aggressor does not always resort to yelling, humiliation, insults or verbal violence. In some cases, he uses irony, sarcasm, silence or indifference. Normally psychological abuse is associated with relationships , but the truth is that it can occur in any environment, not only within the home, but also in the workplace or school.

But, focused more on psychological abuse from the point of view of a love relationship, it is true that all couples have their fights and misunderstandings and it may be that during an argument they say things that are too painful because when we fight with someone we usually say things that we don’t really feel to hurt the other person . However, in a romantic relationship we should not allow these types of acts to be repeated often because they could end the relationship and our mental health.

However, sometimes, love blinds us and does not let us see what really happens in the couple. Something that should not be this way because, even if we love a person a lot, we have to know how to love ourselves without letting anyone treat us in an unwanted way . We ourselves are before anyone else. Despite this, it is very common that the person who is a victim of this type of abuse does not recognize it immediately. At first you will wonder if you have caused that reaction in some way or if you are exaggerating. Thus, in the attempt to find an explanation, he tends to blame himself. Error.

Therefore, if you consider that the person next to you overpowers, makes you feel bad, belittles you, leaves you in evidence, or even comes to blows, do not hesitate to nip that relationship in the bud. There will always be someone who loves you and accepts you as you are . Do not let anyone belittle you or speak ill of you, simply look for a partner who treats you as you would treat them: with love, affection and respect for life and stay away from people who do not make you feel happy with yourself.

Physical abuse is usually easier to perceive because the abused person will present obvious physical harm to others. However, psychological abuse is more difficult to detect . When one of the members of the couple is a psychological abuser, it is usually the more outgoing of the two. He will talk more to people, joke around, and appear to be very good to his children and to everyone except his partner. If you find yourself in such a situation, don’t shut up!

Patterns to identify psychological abuse

What signs can alert you when it comes to knowing if you are an abused woman? Next, we will talk about some clear patterns to identify psychological abuse and know if you are a victim of it. These are not all signs of abuse, but they are useful as guiding criteria:

    • When you do something for that person, they do not thank you and make you feel that it is your obligation.
    • Threatens to leave the relationship, take your children, leave you homeless : The abuser always has the great ability to intimidate you.
    • You have stopped telling your relationship problems to your environment because you know that if he found out, he would be angry.
    • Control the money you spend : It does not leave you financial freedom and assigns you what it considers you should spend and how you should use it. You are free, never forget it. No one should control any of your possessions nor should you depend on anyone.
    • Organize your free time and you feel obliged to ask him how to invest your own time.
    • It reminds you a thousand times of the mistakes you have made .
    • He tells you how you have to dress : When you wear neckline or something short, he looks at you with a scowl, he tells you that you are very fresh, he cannot bear to think that other men can look at you. In the end, psychologically abused people always choose pants and give up showing parts of their body.
    • You feel like you can’t be yourself when you’re with that person.
    • He gets angry if you spend time with your relatives : Jealousy is not a sign of love. He will not only be jealous of the boys you come across, but also of your family, your friends, your environment in general. That person will just want you to spend all your time on him and will not conceive the idea of ​​you spending time with anyone else.
    • You have sex with that person even if you don’t feel like it because you know that if you don’t, they will get angry.
    • Control your mobile and your social networks : Giving the keys to your social networks and your mobile is not a sign of love. No one should invade your privacy because in the end you will end up emotionally isolated. The most important thing in a healthy relationship is trust.
    • You have to inform him of your schedules : He controls who you meet, how long, what time you leave and enter your house, what you do throughout the day …
    • It takes away the value and importance of your professional or personal achievements : Criticize everything you do and question you for everything, putting you in a position of vulnerability or dependence. They repeat the “if it weren’t for me” a lot. You are not owned by anyone nor have you come into the world to please anyone.
    • It exposes you in public : He despises your opinions, ridicules them, insults you and humiliates you. It leaves you badly in front of other people, something that in the end you will end up taking as normal, but that is not like that at all. Never let anyone underestimate you because you are worth so much.
    • When you have a problem, the psychological abuser minimizes it with phrases like: “That’s nothing.”
    • He is violent when he gets angry : Hit the wall, break an object … You have to get out of there urgently and never accept that kind of behavior. Remember that these acts keep getting bigger and bigger until he ends up getting his hands on you.
    • You are afraid to say some things to him because you know that his reaction may be disproportionate.
    • You feel like you need their approval in everything you do or think.
  • And most importantly … you feel fear .

Consequences of psychological abuse

You feel that you have a physical discomfort, your self-esteem is on the ground, your stress and your anxiety increases. In addition, you are realizing that you are losing your social relationships, reaching isolation on many occasions and you feel that you have stopped being the person you were . Your irritability, apathy, indecision and insecurity increase , also having problems in eating and alterations in your sleep hours.

You do not feel like dressing up, you leave, you neglect yourself and you have attacks of anger directed at other people outside your relationship . You feel that you are emotionally dependent on that person, even though you don’t feel like having sex. Guilt increases and you feel ashamed. You feel inferior and you don’t see yourself capable of making decisions.

In turn, these effects of psychological abuse cause the climate within the relationship to continue to worsen even more, which carries serious consequences for the victim because the relationship becomes a toxic relationship that reduces one’s strength and self-esteem. Of the members. And it is that sometimes the abuse is not distinguished because the abuser usually asks for forgiveness after the assault and usually wants to reconcile, this makes the victim feel a certain sense of guilt . These women often feel in a bind because they still love that person and think that they will change, something that will not happen.

The first step in dealing with psychological abuse is knowing how to identify its signs , something difficult since they are dynamic, they do not occur from one day to the next and they are subtle signs that we hardly notice.

How and where to find help

Call 016 if you find yourself in this situation. You can do it from anywhere in Spain and at any time of the day . They serve several languages, it is free and does not leave a trace on the invoice. On the other side you will find trained people who can help you recognize a situation of abuse, offer you information on available resources and indicate the nearest point of care or even notify the emergency room and the police.

It is not a line exclusively for women. They can also call their friends or relatives to ask for advice and find out the best way to help that person who they think is being abused.

Another option is to go to the primary care doctor or to the social services of the City Council and women’s associations . Women who suffer gender violence have the right to report and can do so before the local, national or regional Police, the Civil Guard, the Prosecutor’s Office or the courts. In addition, they will not have to pay court fees and can have a public defender. All the rights that correspond to them are included in the Comprehensive Law of Measures for the Prevention of Gender Violence. 

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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