Here, RD&T contributing author, Dr. Erin Leonard, discusses the realities of weathering emotional abuse as well as the importance of seeking help.
Continuous and unresolved conflict, loneliness, and rarely feeling heard and understood are signs a person may be in an emotionally bankrupt relationship. Emotional mistreatment is real, yet often remains undetected because the offender convinces the partner that he or she is at the root of the problem.
Understanding the Basics
Emotional abuse impacts a person’s mental health and detracts from one’s sense-of-self. Over time, a person may experience heightened anxiety, depression, feelings of loss, confusion, and disempowerment. The process is slow but insidious. Understanding the psychological dynamics driving emotional abuse is critical in order to identify it and get help.
A person who engages in emotional abuse is not entirely aware of what he or she is doing. Many of the manipulations stem from his or her extreme cognitive distortions and rigid defense mechanisms. These pathological distortions impact the person’s ability to perceive and recall experiences as they happened. In short, an emotionally impaired person may unconsciously alter reality in order to make it more palpable for his or her ego. Victim stance is an example of a common distortion utilized by an emotionally unavailable person.