Why emotional abuse hurts more?


Lord of Penmai
Jul 5, 2011
Why emotional abuse hurts more?

While the scars of physical abuse are visible, the impact of constant verbal badgering is far worse.

Victims of physical abuse find sympathisers because of the physical evidence, however this is not the case with those who are constantly exposed to verbal badgering as the scars are not visible on the surface. Like in the case of 27-year-old, Reshma Shah, whose life had become a living hell. She says, "When I tied the knot, I felt I got married to the man of my dreams. Ravi, had second thoughts about marrying me because I was a bit plump, but my parents convinced me that there was nothing to be concerned about. Teasing made way for nasty and sarcastic comments. He would make snide remarks about my lack of control around food because I had put on a little more weight after marriage."

Reshma, adds that his sarcastic comments hampered her self-esteem to such an extent that she felt that everybody thought of her that way. She adds, "These remarks were not only confined to the bedroom, but were passed in front of his parents and relatives. There were comparisons with his former girlfriends, and that only made me more depressed," leaving her with no option but to seek help.

Emotional abuse can alter your personality
Psychiatrist, Anjali Chhabria, says, "Emotional abuse takes a negative toll on an individual's self-concept, self-esteem, self-confidence, mood, behaviour, interpersonal relations, efficiency, reasoning and judgment. All of us want to be loved, looked after and taken care of and want that someone to be our strength in good and bad times. Instead if that someone, is the one emotionally abusing you, it can leave one helpless, hopeless and completely dysfunctional. It not only affects your personal relationships, it can alter and change you as a person."

Effects of emotional abuse on an individual
According to Chhabria, criticism, constant abuse and emotional neglect can cause irreparable damage making the individual confused, anxious and unable to make decisions. This stress often leads to psychological problems such as fear, anxiety, depression, lack of sleep, crying spells, anger, irritation, etc. In some cases it can also make people lose trust in the concept of committed relationships. It can cause substance dependency and abuse and in some cases forces the person to cheat and have an affair outside their relationship or marriage.

Symptoms of emotional abuse according to consultant psychiatrist Dr Parul Tank.
- Getting criticised, belittled or humiliated often
- Feeling isolated from others
- Finding it difficult to predict partners' reaction of understand and explain irrational behaviour
- Sense of self doubt and distrust
- Feeling of anxiety and wanting to escape

How to deal with it?
According to Tank that is the hardest part. She says, Often, the person finds it hard to get away because there are no obvious signs, and the way one is abused, the victim often feels guilty for his/her behaviour as they feel they have brought it on themselves."

Anjali adds, "It's important you understand the underlying cause of the abuse. Sometimes it could be your insecurity and low self-image triggering such a situation. If it's your partner and he/she is unable to look at the problem, it's best to take some advice. Discuss the matter with a well wisher or someone who knows you well."
Seema Hingorrany, clinical psychologist sums it up with a few pointers. She concludes, "Refuse to accept abusive behaviour. Insist on respect for your boundaries, preferences, and priorities. If you feel, that the person is not taking any heed to your requests, terminate relationship as soon as possible."

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