Oftentimes, abuse is associated with physical injuries like broken bones, sprains, bruises, cuts, etc. However, it is important to understand the non-physical side of abuse that could also be serious and debilitating, particularly if left ignored. In a non-physical abusive relationship, the partner might not physically hurt his or her spouse, rather resort to subtle emotional exploitation. People enduring such a treatment run the risk of developing mental disorders like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), etc.
At several occasions, non-physical abuse could be a precursor to physical abuse. Any form of emotional abuse instills the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, with debilitating effects on the mental and emotional well-being of the victim. Rather than giving in to such an abusive relationship, it is essential to identify the signs of nonphysical abuse and walk out of it. Some of the indications of non-physical abuse that one must pay close attention to and avoid them at all costs are as follows:
- Restricting one’s movement – An abusive partner tends to exercise a regressive way of policing the activities of his or her partner to set rules about where to go and not go, whom to go with, whom to meet, how much time to spend outside, deadlines about returning, etc. A narcissist might mask these rules under the veil of care; however, these rules clearly indicate abuse.
- Isolating a person from others – An abuser is an insecure person who wants that his or her partner remain detached from his or her close friends and family members. Therefore, he or she will instigate fights and fan arguments between them. He or she will make sure that the partner does not have any confidante.
- Degrading a partner – Saying something intentionally that hurts a person is verbal abuse. Some people are so toxic that they tend to derive fun by degrading others. This is a type of non-physical abuse; therefore, one must be around people who lift their self-esteem and not lower it by degrading them.
- Stalking – Suddenly appearing at the parking lot, outside an office or home is not a loving gesture, if it happens repeatedly. These are the ways of stalking a person, and keeping a close watch on his or her moves. Rather than tolerating such gestures, the abusive partner should be made clear about his or her boundaries.
- Gaslighting – Occasional arguments are a part of any healthy relationship. However, telling someone that he or she is always wrong to the point of questioning his or her understanding of reality is an act of gaslighting, which must not be tolerated.
- Controlling freedom through financial abuse – Controlling expenses and withholding money are signs of non-physical abuse. One of the serious signs of abuse is making it difficult for a partner to continue his or her job by interfering with the childcare, transportation and work. An abusive partner usually indulges in such an abominable act to deter his or her partner from keeping a job. The loss of job would force the victim to become dependent on his or her partner for money.
- Miscellaneous – Pestering for an exclusive commitment, being excessively possessive and hypersensitive, interrogating a partner, expecting perfectionism, becoming merciless toward animals and children, indulging in forceful and playful sex, using threatening statements, etc. are some of the other traits of an abusive partner.
Stop expecting perfectionism from others
Abuse, whether physical or non-physical, can have devastating consequences on the psychological health of a person, manifesting as acute depression, anxiety and even PTSD. The abuse might leave no scars, but it takes away the freedom and self-confidence of a person. The coercive and controlling behavior of an abusive partner forces the victim to live in fear. Over a period, this might cause chronic anguish and behavioral health issues.
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