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what counts as emotional abuse?

(28 Posts)
Theworldmakesnosense Thu 17-Dec-15 12:02:34

A friend of ours is in a shitty relationship. She confides in me and another friend quite often about what goes on at home, and we think her partner is subjecting her to emotional abuse. Don't want to risk outing myself by detailing what happens but what would other people class as emotional abuse?
For example sly digs all the time, criticism, being unreasonable then blaming the other person saying they are blowing it out of proportion etc?

Beaverfever Thu 17-Dec-15 12:13:16

All of those along with more is the reason I left my husband in August.
I had been putting up with it for 10 years.
I would say that is classed as emotional abuse yes

Offred Thu 17-Dec-15 12:14:47

It can be anything really. It's usually a pattern of behaviour designed to diminish a partner emotionally in order to gain an advantage.

That doesn't mean it is always done deliberately and consciously in a thought out way, it can be emotional abuse if it is not intentional but has that effect.

It could literally be anything.

Theworldmakesnosense Thu 17-Dec-15 12:23:05

It's so hard I don't want to say it to my friend and then her turn on me if he manages to convince her that we hate him or are against him. He's seen the look on my face when he's given her a dressing down in front of us. But one minute he worships the ground she walks on the next minute he's being vile to her. And he's very good at making her feel like she's the one in the wrong angry

Offred Thu 17-Dec-15 12:28:09

The way to handle it is never to criticise him, you lead her through thinking about how unacceptable his behaviour is and how it is unfair of him to blame her. You help her keep her in reality rather than where he wants her. You keep in contact. You let her have the tools to draw the right conclusions about him herself and then you support her practically with leaving (hopefully). Point her to CAB and solicitors etc when she is ready.

CharlotteCollins Thu 17-Dec-15 12:30:43

You could buy her "Why Does He Do That" and keep it at your house so he doesn't find it.

Or there are loads of websites which give examples. Check out one of the EA support threads - there are some useful links in the OP.

Offred Thu 17-Dec-15 12:30:43

And don't get over involved. It's vital you keep yourself ok so that you can maintain support. Point her towards proper support services where appropriate rather than trying to solve it all yourself. If you burn yourself out you'll be no use to her.

mum2mum99 Thu 17-Dec-15 12:30:56

Get her to read this and check out how Woman's aid can support her.:


It might take time for her to recognise what is going on, this is quite normal. Well done to you for being a good friend.

Offred Thu 17-Dec-15 12:35:43

Try focusing her on recognising and trusting her own feelings rather than following what he tells her too.

Depends on where she is in the process whether getting her to read up on EA and lundy's (wonderful) book would be seen as helpful or threatening but they are definitely good suggestions for when she is ready to accept his behaviour is not ok.

Offred Thu 17-Dec-15 12:36:14


ouryve Thu 17-Dec-15 12:38:21

For example sly digs all the time, criticism, being unreasonable then blaming the other person saying they are blowing it out of proportion etc?

That is emotional abuse. The last bit is a nice bit of gaslighting, thrown in for good effect.

Theworldmakesnosense Thu 17-Dec-15 13:23:38

Thanks for your replies will have a good read of the links when I get home. I really really bite my tongue when I'm there, just last week he started belittling her about her cooking and cleaning, basically saying it was shit and his was better. They were in the next room but we could still hear him. I wanted to go in and smack him right in his mouth - the contempt in his voice towards the person he supposedly 'loves with all his heart' was disgusting and I felt so sad for my lovely friend she tries so hard to please him sad

Elendon Thu 17-Dec-15 16:14:38

Never stopping off in service stations for a toilet break. I once had to wee into one of the children's nappies, because we hit traffic. That was stressful.

I'd given birth three months previously.

Theworldmakesnosense Thu 17-Dec-15 16:46:35

Wow Elendon
That really is awful, poor you thanks
How did you deal with this horrid man?

Elendon Thu 17-Dec-15 17:42:58

Towards the end of our marriage he was very emotionally abusive. He said he would get rid of me and have full custody of the children. I was frightened and scared of him, but he was never physically violent. When I related the 'nappy' incident, people thought it was funny. So I thought perhaps I was over reacting.

ThisIsStillFolkGirl Fri 18-Dec-15 05:24:40

I wouldn't have thought it was funny.

Theworldmakesnosense Fri 18-Dec-15 07:25:25

Whoever thought that was funny clearly has a sick sense of humour that's awful I'd have told him what an absolute twat he was!
Glad you've LTB

Elendon Fri 18-Dec-15 09:12:40

Thanks Theworld

My advice would be not to bite your tongue (though I do understand why you would). Praise your friend, help her and just let her know that no matter what, you will be there for her.

I often wondered why people who knew me well and were my friends laughed at the 'nappy' incident. Perhaps they were afraid to rock the boat (I feel he knew they wouldn't).

despicableshe Fri 18-Dec-15 11:44:35

Like Beaverfever I was in a similar relationship for a very long time and it ended this year. I knew I was unhappy and that how he behaved was detrimental to our relationship but it wasn't until I left I started to see him for who he is.

Though my very good friends have said I was emotionally abused, I didn't think so, I felt a bit of a drama queen saying that I was. I just thought he was unkind to me and blamed me for a lot of things that weren't my fault or blow them way out of proportion. Reading this thread, it's hit me that it was exactly that. Emotional abuse, whether it was intentional or not. Likewise, she may not realise what it happening nor accept it being called emotional abuse. Other terms like "unkind" are not euphemisms but may plant some seeds that she ought not to put up with being in that relationship.

Be there for her, listen to her and don't give up on her. Perhaps show her this thread?

Cinnamon2013 Fri 18-Dec-15 11:52:03

Everything offred says. Stay in her life, how ever hard it becomes to watch this happen. Remind her she's intelligent and strong, that her instincts are good. Do not criticise him at all - she may feel you're criticising her life and judgement and turn on you. You can risk that. Listen, listen listen. Eventually she'll hear the story - the shitness of it all - in her own words. You can'f fix it by labelling the behaviour - only by being there by her side.

Cinnamon2013 Fri 18-Dec-15 11:52:29

Can't risk that I meant

hellsbellsmelons Fri 18-Dec-15 12:26:38

Have a read of the 'pinned' first post on this board.
Listen up!
It's very enlightening.
Could you get her to read it?

Elendon Fri 18-Dec-15 13:29:28

This book is excellent for those in non violent abusive relationships

Theworldmakesnosense Fri 18-Dec-15 13:42:36

Thank you all for your advice, I shall definitely always be there for my friend. The thing is before she got with this man she would take absolutely no shit of anyone ever, I mean literally wouldn't back down from someone she knew would wipe the floor with her. Then she got with him and everything changed. I'm thinking its maybe because she was only 19 and he was older, she just fell for him hook line and sinker. We haven't had a girls night out in years - because he doesn't allow her. He doesn't 'like it' hmm

hellsbellsmelons Fri 18-Dec-15 14:11:49

He's trying to isolate her as you no doubt already know.
Don't let him.

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