I was trying to think last night about how you can identify more subtle forms of emotional abuse, you know, the red flags in a relationship. The worst for me was the Silent Treatment, but looking back I saw so many red flags, I just didn't recognize them. There was this one time that I was going to spend the weekend with him, and he asked me what I liked to drink, I told him pink lemonade. I go over there and he told me that he got the smallest mix for this because he didn't want to waste his money since I'll be gone soon. Another time we played table tennis topless, his remark to me was that I played like a paraplegic. There were so many signs, and I chose to ignore them.
Yes, Seren, I was never able to do anything right. I would make homemade sauce, he would complain that it was too smooth, and he wanted tomato chunks in it, so I would make it that way, and he would accuse me of buying store bought sauce and he didn't like that, and why did I stop cooking things the way he liked it. It was all crazymaking. Hence, the walking on eggshells, you try your best to do what they want, and then they change the rules.
When I went to my attorney and therapist I had kept a list of all the things that I was doing wrong. I think it numbered 137 or 147 things, they were all contradictory. I'm so glad that I kept that list, because it proved to me that the problem wasn't me, he was going to attack me with whatever he could just to try to start a fight. He had to have a "win", he had to take me down, so he could feel better about himself. He always told me that he had to be one-up on me. I didn't know what that meant. I thought when you are in a relationship you talk things out and compromise.
I think the worst emotional abuse I suffered was the Silent Treatment. With that torture, you feel like you are not being heard, you are totally shut out. I use to feel like I was in a straight jacket with tape on my mouth. I didn't feel like he saw me as a human.
There are many stories of many people. Each has their own story and how it affected them.
After I left, I remember being really triggered by questions like where would you like to go to eat? or what movie would you like to watch? Do you want to go to the Mall? I just had a reaction to that, like is this a trick question? Are you going to get mad at my answer, and wow, why are you doing this to me, I'm going to have a panic attack.
I think emotional abuse is the same for everyone, but yet different for everyone. I think it all depends on your fears, your self esteem. I think abusers narrow right into those and that they will do anything to put you down, so they can feel above you. Also, yes, it is about control, most times you will try to convince the person that is abusing you that they are wrong about you, but they won't listen, they only listen enough so that they can use whatever you say against you the next time.
The only time you should look down at someone, is when you are helping them up.-----Jesse Jackson