Love Builds Others Up—Counseling and Therapy to Recover from Emotional Abuse in Christiansburg, VA
Patience, love, encouragement, and kindness are the marks of healthy relationships. Unfortunately, many people experience the opposite: put-downs, accusations, nit-picking, shaming, and manipulation. These tactics are often meant to break another person down and exert control. When they are repetitive, they are likely emotional abuse. Wounds to a person’s spirit may not bleed or bruise, but harm is just as real.
When people are in an emotionally abusive relationship, they may…
- Think that whatever they do wrong and not enough.
- Experience hyper-vigilance and severe anxiety.
- Be afraid to voice their own thoughts, needs, and emotions.
- Feel as if they are going crazy.
- Distrust their perceptions, memories, and experiences.
- Wonder when the next attack or rage will happen.
- Feel as if they deserve or caused the abuse.
- Develop mental health problems such as depression or PTSD.
If you are experiencing anything on this list, you may be in an emotionally abusive relationship. At its core, emotional abuse is about systemically controlling another person, and it can happen in any relationship: between friends, from parent to child, within a marriage, at work, in a spiritual community, to name a few.
There are resources to help people who are victimized by emotional abuse. Friends and family can provide needed support, but many people turn to a mental health professional to help health their trauma.
The counselors at Thriveworks Christiansburg understand the wounds emotional abuse leaves upon a person’s soul. Our professionals pride themselves on giving their clients personal and holistic care as they recover from an emotionally abusive relationship.
Emotional Abuse: Descriptions and Examples
Every relationship has tiffs and disagreements. These, when done respectfully, are healthy; they are signs of individuality and freedom. Emotional abuse, in contrast, manipulates other people’s feelings to control them.
Emotional abuse is more easily illustrated than defined. Anyone who has lived through an emotionally abusive relationship knows it when they see it. The following exemplifies emotionally abusive actions:
- Using false accusations (“You forgot [stole, moved, broke, et cetera]…” when they know good and well that you did not).
- Erupting in anger (Outbursts that are disproportional to the situation).
- Holding back love and affection until others engage in certain behavior (“If you don’t … I’ll break up with you”)
- Objectifying others (“You are such a girl” or “Man up”).
- Minimizing other people’s opinions, experiences, and/or emotions (“It was not that bad; you’re just so sensitive.”).
- Using guilt, threats, or intimidation (“A loving son/daughter would…”).
- Limiting another person’s access to vital resources (money, transportation, education, food, or health care).
- Showing entitlement, possessiveness, or jealousy over another person (“You are mine.”).
- Isolating people from friends or family or using guilt to keep them from loved ones (“You are visiting your brother again! You never spend enough time with me.”).
- Gaslighting (Undermining people’s trust in their own experiences.).
- Shaming, mocking, criticizing, humiliating, embarrassing, or name-calling (“if you had half a brain…”).
- Disposing of or breaking other people’s valued possessions (Ripping up a meaningful photo, destroying a family heirloom, et cetera).
- Responding to other people’s concerns with defensiveness and blame (“And like you’re perfect!”).
Emotional abuse may begin slowly and then heighten as victims are desensitized to its effects. Anyone can fall prey to its sneaky and manipulative tactics—men and women, rich and poor, every race.
Invisible but Real Wounds
People function best in relationships where there is interdependency but also individuality. If one person seeks to dominate the other, their actions are harmful.
Advocate and author Aisha Mirza explains, “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 causes real but invisible wounds. Its trauma can spark hyper-vigilance, fear, depression, anxiety, psychosomatic pain, suicidal idealization, substance abuse, and more. Just as people who have physical injuries go to a doctor, so many people who experience emotional wounds seek out a mental health professional.
Recovering from Emotional Abuse with Thriveworks Christiansburg
Did you recognize any of the examples of emotional abuse previously listed? Has anyone in your life behaved in those ways? If you are experiencing emotional abuse, help is available. Thriveworks Christiansburg has supposed many people as they re-establish their safety and heal from a toxic relationship.
If you are ready to meet with a counselor or therapist, know that most new clients at Thriveworks Christiansburg have their first appointment within 24 hours of their call to our office. We offer evening and weekend appointments, and we accept most insurance plans.
Recovering from emotional abuse is challenging, but many are glad they picked up the phone to call a mental health professional. If you are ready for your first appointment, we are too. Call Thriveworks Christiansburg today.