Five Behaviors That Seem ‘Normal’ But Could Be Signs Of Emotional Abuse by Kelsey Borresen

(Link): Five Behaviors That Seem ‘Normal’ But Could Be Signs Of Emotional Abuse by Kelsey Borresen


Emotional abusers “groom” victims using kindness and affection. They win you over, then they turn on you.

Unlike physical abuse, (Link): emotional abuse can be subtle and can often go undetected by victims, as well as their friends and family.

In the early stages of dating, an emotional abuser often acts in ways that (Link): appear caring, loving and attentive — at least on the surface. This is part of the perpetrator’s “grooming process” — or a time where they use charm and flattery to make you believe they’re kind and trustworthy.

“That ‘kindness’ is designed to win over the trust and confidence of an unsuspecting victim, making them vulnerable to subsequent abuse,” saidLisa Ferentz, a licensed clinical social worker and educator specializing in trauma.

(Link): Emotional abuse may include (Link): behaviors such as threatening, insulting, shaming, belittling, name-calling, (Link): gaslighting and (Link): stonewalling, which are done in an attempt to chip away at the victim’s independence and self-esteem so the abuser can gain control in the relationship.

One important note: Grooming behaviors aren’t emotionally abusive in and of themselves.

“Someone who is helpful, loving and generous may be just that,” said therapist Sharie Stines, who specializes in recovery from abuse. “The problem occurs when the behaviors have underlying motives attached to them. This requires discernment.”

…Below, experts share some of the deceiving behaviors that may be indicative of emotional abuse so you know what to look out for.

… They’re eager to combine finances very early on.

If and when a couple decides to open a joint account or share login information for their online banking, it’s a big display of trust and a major step in the relationship — and one that usually happens further down the road. When your partner proposes combining finances early on, it’s easy to (Link): mistake this controlling maneuver as sign of their commitment.

“This can be presented as a sign of ‘commitment’ or ‘true partnership,’ but in reality, it is designed to eliminate your financial independence, reduce your access to separate funds and make it extremely difficult for you to leave the relationship,” Ferentz said.

An abusive partner may make it seem like they’re doing this to be financially transparent with you — “What’s mine is yours!” — but Ferentz says it’s usually a one-way street. You share everything and they share only what they want to disclose.

“It’s also a way for an emotionally abusive partner to freeload off your hard-earned money and not contribute to equally covering the costs of daily living,” she said. “In cases where an abusive partner has a high-paying job, it’s likely that they have separate accounts or credit cards and are keeping money from you or spending money on things that don’t include you.”

…. They give you unsolicited feedback about how you can better yourself.

In healthy relationships, couples offer each other the love and support they need to make improvements to their life ― whether it’s cheering them on as they embark on a fitness journey, helping them prepare for an interview for their dream job or keeping them accountable as they try to kick a bad habit.

But in an emotionally abusive relationship, your partner may seem supportive at first. Soon they’re telling you what you need to do to improve yourself ― not asking how they can help.

“Initial compliments about your appearance, personality and successes are manipulative and designed to win you over and build trust,” Ferentz said. “Fairly quickly those comments turn into criticism that will be offered under the guise of wanting you to keep improving yourself. They will put down your feelings or ideas, how you dress or what you have achieved.”

The abusive partner may say they’re telling you this “for your own good,” when really they just want to shame you enough to diminish your sense of confidence and self-worth. ….

…Need help? In the U.S., call 1-866-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 22522 for the (Link): National Dating Abuse Helpline.

The entire list can be read (Link): here



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