Mental abuse is a form of domestic abuse (or non live-in relationship abuse) that can be so severe that the victim is left with crushed self-esteem, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.
The effects of the mental damage can continue for years after the relationship has ended. The people still living in these situations are constantly criticized and treated with contempt. They are made to feel stupid and inadequate.
The abuser will call them names and criticize things that they do all the time. It is a way for the abuser to maintain power over the victim, by crushing down their self esteem.
The victim feels helpless. No matter how hard they try, the partner is never satisfied. They will just say “can’t you do Anything right?” and “how many times have I told you…”
They will set such a high standard for the victim that no human could possibly live up to it. If the person actually meets the standard of something the abuser wants then the abuser will just change the rules.
Victim – “I made the dinner just the way you like it”
Abuser – “I wanted it this way, not that way. Don’t you ever pay attention? I don’t eat it that way anymore.”
There is no way out. There is no way to do anything correctly. No way to please them.
The abuser is dominant. The victim is put in a place of submissive slavery.
Often the abuser will point out how much trouble they go through to take care of the victim. They will put themselves on a pedestal of how great of a partner they are. They will make you feel like the inferior partner, unworthy of how good they treat you.
It is a game of manipulation to make the victim feel like a loser and that they are very lucky the abuser even stays with them.
There is a threat of leaving or withholding affection and love. This is “conditional love”.
“I will love you if you…”
“I would love you if you had only…”
“I won’t give you love today because you didn’t…”
“maybe next time you will do it properly and then I could love you…”
“Who could love someone like you?”
The victim gets more and more depressed and has tremendous anxiety about disappointing and angering the abuser. It is constantly a game of walking on eggshells and bending over backwards and forwards to please the abuser.
This is living in hell. The mental damage from living in this type of relationship can be severe.
It can take years for the victim to ever have confidence that they can do things well. Their ability to trust in relationships can be damaged.
Mental abuse does not leave bruises or broken bones. But the damage to the normal brain functions is real. Mental illness can be caused by enduring this abuse.
The victim will likely have some severe anxiety disorder. Many of them have depression for years and sometimes it never leaves them.
It is important that there is awareness of mental abuse. Friends and family don’t know what the signs are and don’t recognize that anything is wrong.
People think, if there are no bruises, there is no abuse. Not true! Mental abuse hurts!