One minute I was sitting at lunch with a close group of girlfriends and the next minute, I found myself waking up on the floor of the restaurant. One of my friends had casually asked me how I was doing and mentioned the name of my abuser.
Is someone telling you how you should think, feel, or act?
I was in such a state of stress from what I was enduring that just the mention of his name caused my blood pressure to drop. The restaurant called the paramedics who insisted taking me to the hospital because my blood pressure would not rebound.
I was being emotionally abused, and my health was suffering because of it. These overt behaviors are typically easy to spot. But overt abuse, like this, that can be easily recognized and is clearly wrong, is not the only weapon of manipulation perpetrators may use on their victims. Covert emotional abuse is the opposite of overt abuse.
There are numerous forms of covert emotional abuse include behaviors like lying, withholding communication, defensive excuses, etc. Our website shows in-depth explanations of the different kinds of covert emotional abuse tactics.
Because covert emotional abuse is difficult to identify by nature, few people have the emotional IQ required to spot and respond to the abuse when it is happening. At times, this lack of clarity is even true among counselors and pastors.
How to spot covert verbal abuse
All it takes is one emotionally abusive behavior repeated over and over again to destroy a relationship. But when some or all of the emotionally abusive behaviors are happening simultaneously, it creates a constant state of stressful confusion for the victim.
Stressful confusion makes the victim doubt and second-guess everything, including themselves and their observations and experiences. Ultimately, if unresolved and unaddressed, continual stressful confusion le to post-traumatic stress disorder.
A victim who is emotionally abused regularly has no safe space internally or externally.
This causes immense strain on their autoimmune system, resulting in physical ramifications and symptoms. Some victims, for example, experience such severe spikes or drops in blood pressure at the mention or sight of their abuser that they may faint or have a heart attack. Covert emotional abuse is hidden, but the effects rarely are.
This is a destructive form of abuse, and the fact that it is usually hidden makes it that much more painful and difficult to describe and identify. However, it is possible to discern if you are emotionally abused.
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The No. Maybe this person never apologizes for doing wrong, or when they do apologize, it is in a reverse-blaming sort of way that shrugs the responsibility off of themselves. Or, if they apologize over and over again but continue the harmful behavior patterns, it is abuse.
Covert emotional abuse often happens in romantic relationships, but it can occur in other situations, such as in families, school, and the workplace. An abusive coworker, for instance, may start leaving a particular colleague out of thre on purpose so that he or she is unprepared, out of the loop and seemingly clueless.
Likewise, a school bully might send birthday party invitations to everyone in the class, excluding one person. Notice how this answer is somewhat believable and cannot be disproved?
These more minor instances could be the initial onset of stressful confusion that makes the victim question his or her own experiences. This is called gaslighting. Covert emotional abuse is not about having hurt feelings. It is the clinical title given to the psychological and physical damage that occurs when a victim is subjected to recurring manipulation.
Because of the long-lasting physical fall-out from emotional abuse, we must begin to understand better, prevent, and respond to emotional abuse. The UK has already banned psychological abuse because they realize that these behaviors can be just as, if not more harmful, to the mind and body as physical violence.
Therefore, when someone suspects that they are emotionally abused, it is the responsibility of the counselor, HR department, school administrator, or the first line of contact to take these allegations seriously and investigate. They must keep in mind that this form of abuse is verbal to spot, but the pain and stress are real and valid. Everything is not always as it seems, and that is why we must listen to and believe victims.
Just because covert emotional abuse is difficult to identify does not mean that it cannot be stopped. It can, and it should. Save my name,and website in this browser for the covert time I comment. Notify me via e-mail if anyone answers my comment.
Why someone telling you how you should feel is covert verbal abuse
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Sep 19 I had fainted. Related Posts. Partial Confessions: When are They Abusive? July 13, June 22, How to Spot a Narcissistic Parent May 24, Stay Connected! Up Now.