Love Does No Harm—Counseling for Emotional Abuse in Alpharetta, GA
Love, patience, kindness, and encouragement should mark any relationship, but the reality is that they often do not. Manipulation, put-downs, shaming, and accusations can creep into any connection, and when these are controlling and repetitive, they may be emotional abuse. The bruises, bleeding, and broken bones may be absent, but the harm to a person’s spirit is very real.
If a person is experiencing emotional abuse, they may…
- Experience severe and persistent anxiety and fear.
- Believe that nothing they do is right or good enough.
- Be unable to express their own needs, thoughts, and emotions.
- Walk on egg shells, wondering when the next rage or attack will occur.
- Not trust their own experiences, memories, and perceptions.
- Blame themselves for the emotional abuse.
- Feel helpless and/or depressed.
- Wonder if they are crazy.
None of these experiences are healthy in any relationship, but unfortunately, they are common. Emotional abuse can occur in any kind of relationship—between spouses, among friends, with a co-worker, from a parent to a child, within a religious community, and more. If you have been abused emotionally or if you are currently in an abusive relationship, know that resources are available for you. Many people need the support of friends and family, but emotional abuse is also a trauma that may need professional care.
Thriveworks Alpharetta offers counseling for emotional abuse because we understand how trauma wounds a person’s spirit. We see the wounds, even if others cannot. Our mental health professionals are committed to providing holistic care as our clients establish their safety and heal from emotional abuse.
Recognizing Emotional Abuse
Disagreements and tiffs are part of every relationship, and when done with respect, they are even signs of healthy individuality within connection. In contrast, people who emotionally abuse use emotional manipulation to control another person. They weaponized feelings to dominate what others do, feel, and think.
Emotional abuse is harder to define than other forms of abuse, but if you have experienced emotional abuse, you know it when you see it. Examples may help to bring understanding. The following may be emotionally abusive:
- Destroying or harming another’s possessions (Disposing of a family heirloom, a favorite picture, a meaningful letter, et cetera).
- Gaslighting (Making people feel crazy).
- Denying access to important resources (Limiting another’s means to education, money, food, transportation, or health care).
- Demonstrating extreme and inappropriate jealousy and/or possessiveness (“I own you.”).
- Trying to get things through threats, guilt, or intimidation (“A good wife would…”).
- Objectifying others (“Man up” or “You are such a girl”).
- Exploding with anger (Storming over minor infractions).
- Falsely blaming (“You broke [forgot, stole, moved, et cetera]…” when they know you did not).
- Withholding love to achieve a certain end (“I won’t be your friend unless…”)
- Disregarding or minimizing another’s experiences, opinions, and/or emotions (“you are overreacting/too sensitive”).
- Cutting off someone from their family and friends or using guilt to isolate them (“You never spend time with me, but you going to see your mom again”).
- Openly humiliating, shaming, embarrassing, mocking, name-calling, or criticizing (“if you used your brain…”).
- Being defensive instead of accepting responsibility for their own actions (“Well, you’re not perfect!”).
The details of each example differ, but each follows the same pattern: using emotions to manipulate another person. These tactics often begin slowly and then escalate. At the beginning of a relationship, they can be difficult to detect, and anyone can be the victim of emotional abuse—men, women, rich, poor, every race, and every socio-economic status.
Invisible but Real Wounds
Healthy relationships promote freedom and individuality, and when these are infringed upon, the results are severe. Advocate Aisha Mirza illustrates, “It is not the bruises on the body that hurt. It is the wounds of the heart and the scars on the mind.” Emotional abuse wounds a person’s mind and may result in depression, anxiety, fear, suicidal idealization, psychosomatic pain, substance abuse, hyper-vigilance, and more.
The wounds may not be visible or obvious, but they are painful and real. Healing those wounds takes time and possibly the care of a mental health professional. In a similar way to when people who are injured physically go to a doctor, people who receive wounds to their spirit may benefit from therapy.
Counseling may help victims heal by…
- Naming and honoring the harm.
- Determining the right treatment for the wounds.
- Helping people understand that the abuse was not their fault.
- Making people’s safety a priority.
- Restoring people’s self-worth and voice.
- Learning how to love and trust again.
Healing from Emotional Abuse with Thriveworks Alpharetta
When you read through the examples of emotional abuse, did you recognize any? Is someone in your life engaging in those destructive behaviors? If you or someone you love is being emotionally abused, know that Thriveworks Alpharetta is ready to help. We have appointments for emotional abuse counseling available.
When you call our office, our aim is to provide holistic care from the moment you dial our number. Many new clients meet with a therapist within 24 hours of their call. We work with many insurance companies and accept many insurance plans. Our therapists offer weekend and evening appointments.
Are you ready for a change? Call Thriveworks Alpharetta today.