Counselors Who Help Emotional Abuse Victims in Alexandria, VA—Therapy for Safety and Healing

How many people were told, as children, “sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Even young kids understand that this nursery rhyme offers no comfort because it does not ring true to life. Word can deeply scar a person’s spirit. When words are used to manipulate people’s feelings and control them, they may be emotional abuse.

Many kinds of relationships can be emotionally abusive: among spouses, from parent to child, within a religious community, between friends, and more. Healthy relationships promote each individual’s freedom to think, feel, and act independently, but emotional abuse is the exact opposite: one person uses feelings to dominate another person.

Emotional abuse may not bleed, leave a bruise, or scar, but its harm is just as real. Advocate Aisha Mirza describes how “It is not the bruises on the body that hurt. It is the wounds of the heart and the scars on the mind.” If your heart and mind have been wounded, you are not alone. Many victims of emotional abuse have turned to mental health professionals to find safety and healing from emotional abuse.

The counselors at Thriveworks Alexandria see and understand the wounds to people’s spirit, and we have helped many victims recover from emotional abuse.

Illustrations of Emotional Abuse

Every relationship will with have tiffs and disagreements at times, and when these are done with respect, they are signs of a healthy and secure connection. However, people who abuse emotionally denigrate, agitates, and control.

Emotional abuse can be defined as the systematic use of feelings to gain control over another person. However, illustrating instances of emotional abuse may be more clear. The following are examples of emotional abuse:

  1. Showing acute possessiveness and jealousy over another (“You are mine”).
  2. Shaming, mocking, humiliating, embarrassing, criticizing, or name-calling, often done publicly (“Can you do anything right?”).
  3. Deflecting responsibility for their own choices and actions onto others (“This is your fault…”).
  4. Isolating someone from their friends and family (“You can’t visit your dad. I need you.”).
  5. Withholding affection and love (Ignoring another person for days).
  6. Falsely blaming another person (“You stole [harmed, lied, forgot, et cetera] …” when they know you did not).
  7. Dismissing and minimizing another person’s thoughts, experiences, or feelings (“You’re just sensitive.”).
  8. Objectifying people (“Man up!” or “You’re such a girl!”).
  9. Intimidating, guilting, or threatening to get what they want (“If you were a good child, you would…”).
  10. Denying accesses to important resources (medical care, food, money, education, and/or transportation).
  11. Harming or trashing another’s possessions without permission (Throwing away an important letter, burning a beloved photo, et cetera).
  12. Crazy-making/gaslighting (Undercutting other people’s confidence in their experiences, memories, feelings, or thoughts).
  13. Outbursts of emotion, particularly anger, that keep others on edge (Emotional responses that do not correlate to situation).

Unseen Wounds to the Spirit

Emotional abuse wounds a person’s mind, soul, and spirit. The injures may not be visible, they may not bleed or scar or bruise, but they are excruciating. There are many forms these wounds can take, including psychosomatic pain, hyper-vigilance, suicide idealization, depression, fear, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders. Victims of emotional often experience…

  • Feelings of blame—as if they provoked the abuse or deserved it.
  • Terror of their perpetrator.
  • A distrust of their own experiences, feelings, and thoughts.
  • Doubt that they can do anything that is right.
  • Walking on eggshells around their abuser.
  • Feelings of powerlessness and worthlessness.

Recovering from Emotional Abuse at Thriveworks Alexandria

If you understand what it is like to be in relationship with someone who is emotionally abusive, there is help. Thriveworks Alexandria would like you know that…

  • Emotional abuse is wrong.
  • No one deserves emotional abuse; no one provokes it.
  • Abusers choose to hurt others, and the responsibility for that choice lies on their shoulders.
  • The harm is invisible but real.
  • Many people recover from emotional abuse and find healing and safety again.
  • Your feelings, thoughts, and experiences can be trusted, and they matter.

Thriveworks Alexandria’s counselors have helped many people heal from the trauma that emotional abuse causes. If you are ready to begin therapy, our mental health professionals are ready to meet with you.

When you contact our office to make an appointment, know that many new clients meet with their therapist the following day. We do not put clients on a waitlist. Weekend and evening appointments are offered, and our office accepts many insurance plans.

If you relationship is marked by emotional control instead of freedom and love, know that support is available. You are not alone. Thriveworks Alexandria is ready to give you support and guidance as you re-establish your personal safety.

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  • 6076 Franconia Rd, Suite D
    Alexandria , VA 22310

  • Mon-Fri:8AM-9PM
    Sat-Sun:8AM-5PM