It’s Not Always Physical- The effects of mental abuse and when to move on

It’s Not Always Physical- The effects of mental abuse and when to move on


When most people think of an abusing partner, images of the battered, downtrodden housewife with a black eye and a busted lip usually come to mind.

The truth is that most abusers practice mental abuse almost as much if not more than physical


Mental abuse is blank stares and a constant lack of self worth. It’s psychological trauma, anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder all wrapped up into one.

I had a friend in college who outwardly looked just fine. She was newly married, not even into her first year with her high school sweetheart, but when no one was paying too close attention, you could see that something wasn’t right.

She still swears that after 5 years he never laid his hands on her out of anger, but deep down she wished that he had because coping with physical abuse would have been easier than having to take so much time to retrain her brain and realize that she was worth a lot more than what her ex husband led her to believe.

Sometimes it’s not easy to even realize that you’re a victim of mental abuse and your partner may not even be aware that they’re doing it, but in most cases the goal of the abuser is far more insidious.

A few of the most common signs of psychological abuse are a constant need to disregard or demean your opinions, suggestions, ideas, or needs to the point where you might feel like you need to ask permission to do something your partner might dislike. You’re always wrong while they’re right and they make you aware of every single flaw, mistake, or shortcoming.

This type of abuser often sees you as little more than an extension of themselves instead of an individual which couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you’re currently in a mentally abusive relationship, I know what you must be thinking because I’ve been in the same situation. A part of me always tried to reason with myself by saying that I could somehow change him. He used to withhold sex from me as a way to manipulate me into agreeing with him and it took so long to see that the reason my family and friends hated him had nothing to do with the fact that they didn’t understand him.

Once you realize that you’ve fallen into the pit of despair that comes from being psychologically abused, the climb out can seem impossibly steep, but you need to know that it’s not okay for someone to treat you as if you’re half a person especially by someone who is supposed to love you for you, flaws and all.

No one deserves this, ever.


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1 Comment

  1. Teacherwithtude
    June 15, 22:51 Reply
    So many statements in your post resonate with an eerie amount of truth. So few people neither understand the deep damage nor the helplessness experienced by people in emotionally abusive marriages. The mental rollercoaster of sorting out what's actually true versus the constant messages received in situations like these leave too many feeling just like your friend--if anyone could see physical evidence of the wreckage left from emotional abuse, there would be something more concrete... Good for you for bringing this topic to the forefront! I'm hoping it encourages and brings some validation to anyone enduring emotional abuse to take an action toward getting help.

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