Samantha De Bono Counselling Bromley

Bromley & Harley Street

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The Emotional Abuser

Following on from my previous blog "The Bully" here's another type of partner, The Emotional Abuser.

Have you ever experienced a situation when your partner "jokes" about the things you do like your driving, your cooking, your dress sense, your intelligence, but you know it's not really a joke, it's aimed to hurt? No? great news! Yes? well then perhaps looking a little deeper at your partner's intentions would be beneficial.

The Emotional Abuser has a practised way of making you feel embarrassed or humiliated in a variety of different ways; making you believe you're talking jibberish, or that you are doing something badly or incompetently.  For example, you say something as simple as "Shall we go and see that film we saw advertised?" and he says "what are you on about?" as though you've said something so unbelievably outlandish that he's struggling to get to grips with your stupidity. Immediately he puts you on the back foot.  It gives him power because he is elevating himself only by putting you down, then if you voice your upset, he acts exasperated and says something like "What's wrong with you, I was only asking a question, I did't know what film you were talking about, I'm not a mind reader" or he'll accuse you of not being able to take a joke as though you're paranoid or over sensitive. It causes doubt in your mind about whether it's you who has the problem.

The Emotional Abuser can also take away your identity by not using your name, making you a possession by calling you Princess or Babe. There's a difference between a couple who are loving and have pet names for each other, to the method the Emotional Abuser uses. He speaks of you as "her" "the Missus" "her indoors" "the wife" and is not adverse to calling you names.

The partner of the emotional abuser doesn't feel attractive, she feels too fat, too thin too old, too lanky, too short... even during pregnancy when you are feeling vulnerable and struggling with your ever changing appearance, the emotional abuser never wants you to feel good about yourself because he feels he has no control over you if you feel confident.  He makes you believe you aren't any good at being a Mother, he makes you believe you're no good at sex.  He won't let you initiate sex or rejects you if you do, but then criticises you for not wanting sex. He will let you believe that previous partners satisfied him because they were better than you, you can't satisfy him for a variety of reasons from your vagina being too big, to you just not knowing what to do.  All this is made up by him to ensure you feel worthless and insecure.

Ironically, the emotional abuser believes that if you feel really bad about yourself and your abilities, you are unlikely to leave him or meet anyone else and unfortunately, a lot of the time, this works.  I work regularly with women who absolutely believe they wouldn't be wanted by anyone else due to "the job" their partners have done on them.

The emotional abuser cheats, and blames you for it.  He tell you something, then denies he said it.  All this is geared to make you feel like you're going mad.

Why does he do this?

Because he has no respect or regard for you.  He probably has issues with his own mother and doesn't like women much.

He thinks that because he doesn't hit you, it doesn't count as abuse. His behaviour is normal to him.

Healthy Relationships:

A proper relationship with a healthy human being looks different from anything I have written above. 

You don't feel humiliated and embarrassed, ugly or incompetent.  Your partner thinks your job, no matter what it is, is admirable. Your partner is interested in you. What you say and what you do. He doesn't berate your friends, he doesn't check up on you or accuse you of cheating.

If you gain weight your partner doesn't use it as a weapon against you. When you make mistakes he doesn't jump on it with gusto to make you feel stupid.

In a healthy relationship when your partner makes a joke, you know he IS joking and it doesn't hurt or make you feel embarrassed.

All in all you know your partner loves you and will love you no matter what.