Many emotionally abused men and women believe that they are just crazy, insecure, imagining things or making mountains out of molehills. Sometimes they are victims of what is called “gaslighting,” a term that comes from the 1944 Hollywood classic movie Gaslight in which the husband attempts to drive his wife mad by making her think she is losing her mind. “Gaslighting,” as psychologists call it, is a form of psychological abuse used by narcissists in order to instill in their victim an extreme sense of anxiety and confusion to the point where there is no longer trust in his or her own memory, perception or judgment. The victim comes to believe that if there is no physical abuse by a spouse (or partner), then there is no abuse. The accounts of emotional abuse are significantly higher than those of physical violence and can cause deeper mental wounds and emotional conditions than physical violence because it is often silent, which makes it difficult to recognize, diagnose and understand.
In a marriage (or relationship) the signs of emotional abuse are also often easy to dismiss as “personality flaws.” For instance, a spouse who constantly controls the beginning and ends of discussions or arguments; this manipulative behavior undermines a partner. They may use name-calling or sensitive issues to ‘shut up’ a spouse. Often a victim may come to believe he or she has no control over things. The victim may feel fearful of making decisions or be forced to hide simple like making purchases – may not lie but withholds information to avoid a fight.
Emotional abuse is about power. By denying the victim the opportunity to grow as a person and be confident, the abuser exercises control, and may enjoy putting his or her partner down or in certain undesirable situations.
Men and women split the responsibility for emotional abuse evenly. Unlike physical abuse, there are as many men emotionally abused by women as the other way around. The problem still lies in the fact that it is difficult to pinpoint.
For men and women who are emotionally abused, it starts out easy and sneaks its way into the relationship, but the undermining and criticism becomes a swamp of depression in which the victim drowns.
Emotionally abusive people are very specific in their behaviors and have a powerful intuit into their mate that facilitates their meanness. It is very much like being bullied. Agencies targeting family health and happiness have begun to campaign the signs and symptoms of emotional abuse that range from torment and control to manipulation and psychological aggression.
Friends and family of a victim sometimes know it is happening. Chances are the victim knows it at some level but live with nagging fear that makes it difficult to move on. The reason is simple: an emotional abuser fanatically banks on the fact that they will be able to keep the victim so limited with security and means that he or she will not leave or move on. This is the obvious reflection that the abuser is the one with the problem.