On our blog, we have already discussed gaslighting as a common form of emotional abuse. However, there are many other forms that emotional abuse can take. It can be difficult for you to recognize when a spouse is abusing you emotionally because the mistreatment is not physical and leaves no visible marks or scars.
Nevertheless, emotional abuse is a legitimate form of domestic violence with real consequences for you if you are the target of it. Medical News Today describes some of the other forms that emotional abuse can take.
There are many ways that an abusive spouse can try to take control of your life. Your spouse may use scare tactics such as yelling at you or using your fears against you. He or she may impose “rules” to govern your behavior and punish you for disobeying them by withholding affection. Your spouse may keep constant tabs on your movements and require immediate responses to calls, texts or emails. He or she may have all the decision-making powers and give you orders, expecting you to fulfill them.
Isolating you from others is another way that an abusive spouse exerts control over you. The attempts may be blatant, such as physically locking you in the house or explicitly forbidding you to see family members or friends. However, an abusive spouse can also use more subtle methods to isolate you by occupying all your free time, hiding your car keys so you cannot leave or stealing your cell phone so that you cannot communicate with others.
Words and behaviors intended to humiliate you are among the most recognizable signs of emotional abuse. Your spouse may insult your appearance or talk down to you as though you were a child. He or she may call you names such as “idiot” or use nicknames that might sound endearing in another context but that your spouse knows will hurt you. Your spouse may provoke a confrontation in public and then place the blame for the incident on you when you become angry.