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Would you recognize emotional abuse signs if you saw them? It can be more difficult than it seems. Many people are in emotionally abusive relationships and don’t even realize it, and people close to them can have a hard time seeing it too. Victims become so conditioned to finding their circumstances “normal” that they aren’t aware of how unhealthy, abusive, and potentially dangerous things really are.
There are many forms of emotional abuse, but often we don’t have to look very far for real-life examples. In fact, more and more we see emotionally abusive relationships called out in the media with some of the most well-known men and women being either abusers or abused. Just read over this transcript of Mel Gibson speaking to his former girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, to see an example of emotional abuse (Mel Gibson Rant).
Common Sings Of Emotional Abuse
One of the most infamous examples of emotional abuse can be seen in one of Mel Gibson’s relationships. And while each relationship is different, emotionally abusive ones have a few commonalities. As you’re reading the transcript below look for the following 5 emotional abuse signs:
- Make submissive
Stay on this phone and don't hang up on me. I have plenty of energy to drive over there. You understand me? AND I WILL! SO JUST F------ LISTEN TO ME. LISTEN TO MY F------ RANTING. LISTEN TO WHAT YOU DO TO ME."
Oksana Grigorieva: I didn't do anything to you.
MG: A pain in the ass!
OG: You are ruining my life!
MG: You make my life so f------ difficult!
OG: Well you know what, it's so --
MG: Why can't you be a woman who f------ supports me instead of a woman that sucks off me. And just f------ sucks me dry. And wants, and wants. Go through this relationship if you're a good woman and you love me. I don't believe you anymore. I'm sick of your bulls---! Has any relationship ever worked with you? NO!
OG: Listen to me. You don't love me because somebody who loves does not behave this way. (crosstalk)
MG: Shut the f--- up. I know I'm behaving like this because I know absolutely that you do not love me and you treat me with no consideration.
OG: One second please. Can I please speak?
MG: I love you because I've treated you with every kindness, every consideration. You rejected … you will never be happy. F--- you! Get the f--- away from me! But my daughter is important! All right? Now, you have one more chance. And I mean it. Now f------ go if you want, but I will give you one more chance. (huffing with anger) You make me wanna smoke. You f----- my day up. You care about yourself.
OG: You're so selfish.
MG: When I've been so f------ good to you. You f------ try to destroy me.
How To Know If It’s Emotional Abuse
Does your partner speak to you like this? If any of this sounds familiar you may be suffering emotional abuse too.
Emotional abuse signs are hard to recognize when you're in the relationship. There are typically no physical signs such as bruises or broken bones – just psychological scarring that worsens over time. Because it’s so hard to see emotional abuse can go on unchecked for a long time, which can make it exponentially more difficult to get someone the help they need to change their situation, repair the damage, and get healthy again.
Emotional abusers are seeking control over their victim and they will use all manner of manipulation to achieve it. It’s very common for an emotional abuser to do things such as withhold love, affection, or sex as leverage to get what they want. They may also demean, blame, and insult in an attempt to get their victim to doubt themselves enough to submit to their demands.
As times goes on a victim will usually blame themselves for their abuser’s behavior, in large part because they’re being constantly told it’s their fault. They will often become withdrawn and may give up outside relationships that once made them happy. Victims may stop interacting with family and friends, or feel they need permission from their abuser before they can make commitments to do so. They will also develop deep insecurities about their own worth and understandably may become depressed.
No person is exactly the same, so the signs of emotional abuse can vary. Regardless as to how the signs of abuse manifest, things almost never get better on their own. Abusive relationships usually require help. So, if you or someone you love is dealing with emotional abuse, get help from a professional counselor who helps women spot and address emotional abuse signs.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published July 24, 2010 and has been updated with new information for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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