It is one thing to be captivated by love, but quite another to be an emotional hostage.
Such toxic relationship it can be physically, mentally, and spiritually harmful. Unfortunately, you can overlook the subtle clues until you are in the shackles of emotional abuse.
What does it mean to be hostage to emotional abuse? Are there ways to detect early warning signs and escape toxicity? When you discover how to identify emotional abuse, how to avoid it, and how to break free, the experience can be enriching.
What is an emotional hostage?
Has your partner taken you emotionally hostage? This situation is also called emotional blackmail, but by whatever name, it is abuse.
When someone uses guilt or fear to manipulate you into getting what they want, you are essentially their prisoner. They may have tantrums or threaten to hurt themselves or you if they don’t get their way. These toxic people will not acknowledge your mistakes and shortcomings, and they will put all the blame on you.
Is your partner holding you prisoner with guilt and other emotional blackmail? Are other people starting to notice how they treat you and are they making comments? Here are five red flags that your partner is emotionally abusing you:
The idea of being a couple is that both people have mutual love and benefits. When you love each other, you both learn to commit to keep the relationship strong and healthy. If you have an emotionally abusive partner, you usually end up with the short ending of the deal.
TO healthy relationship it makes you feel a better person. They feel energized and inspired when they are together. However, an emotionally abusive relationship drains your energy and makes you feel hopeless, trapped, and alone.
If you are constantly being pushed away from their needs, your relationship is likely toxic and it’s time to reconsider.
2. You walk on eggshells
We all have our bad days when we criticize the first person who crosses our path. He is usually our lover. Loving couples realize that they have misrepresented and apologize and fix things.
You know they just had a bad day and he didn’t want to take it out on you. Such behavior should be the exception and not the rule. Is your partner usually balanced and calm, or do their moods and behaviors change from minute to minute?
It’s stressful when you never know what personality you’re going to have. You should feel comfortable expressing your thoughts and opinions to your partner without fear or intimidation. If you are afraid to say or do something because of how they react, you are an emotional hostage.
The entire atmosphere in your relationship will remain negative if you must walk on eggshells to keep them satisfied.
3. They light you up with gas
According to an article published by the National Domestic Violence Hotline, gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse in which a toxic partner makes others feel like they are going crazy. They will twist your words and lie about the facts so that you doubt yourself. Gaslighting is often a malicious tactic used by someone with a narcissistic personality.
For example, if your partner has a gambling problem, they may use gaslighting to put the blame on you. They may try to convince you that you are losing money or making mistakes in your joint accounts. Lies and abuse can seem so convincing that you will feel overwhelmed, guilty, and incompetent.
Gaslighting can also be used in a social situation. For example, let’s say you and your partner attend a party with family or friends. These toxic personalities know how to get a crowd to work and earn their trust.
On the other hand, they may put you in front of everyone with a false sense of worry, making you feel like you’re losing your mind. If this is a common tactic your partner uses, then you are an emotional hostage. You can only listen to gas lighting for a while before you start to doubt yourself and develop mental problems.
Someone who loves you will strengthen you and will never try to destroy your self-confidence.
4. They constantly say they will change
If you are an emotional hostage, your toxic partner’s goal is not to push you away. Instead, they use manipulation and emotional blackmail to keep you in their clutches. It is almost as if you are a possession more than a person.
Of course, you have every right to feel frustrated and want to end an unhealthy relationship. However, when an emotional manipulator confronts and feels threatened that you are leaving, they can change tack. Suddenly, they are a bucket of tears and “confess” how wrong they have been.
They cleverly pull your heart out and tell you how much you mean to them. You probably hear the tired lines of “I can’t live a day without you” or “I can’t breathe if you’re not with me.” How did they live or breathe before meeting you?
During the deluge of crocodile tears come bargains and promises. They swear that if you stay, they will change their unhealthy habits. They claim that they will never abuse you again and that you can start your relationship all over again.
This is called the cycle of abuse and you have the right to stop. If you stay in a toxic relationship in the hope that an abusive partner will change, you are only hurting yourself. This person may have serious psychological issues that need to be addressed before considering any relationship.
While you wait for them to “change,” you continue to fight the emotional blackmail that is affecting your well-being.
Many people tend to trivialize emotional abuse because it leaves no visible marks. However, verbal and emotional abuse is just as severe and painful as physical and sexual abuse. Furthermore, all abuse is detrimental to your being.
If you abusive partner It depends on one form of abuse, they are not above using other forms if they feel threatened or desperate. Abuse is a dark maze that can take sharp turns and dead ends without warning. It may start out as emotional blackmail, but soon you are physically and verbally abused.
An article published by National Center for Biotechnology Information states that at least 50 percent of Americans disclosed that they experienced a lifetime of emotional abuse from their partner. Of these numbers, more survivors were women than men. The same is true of other forms of abuse.
Perhaps your partner’s abuse started subtly, or you consider it a one-time thing. Some abusers start out with emotional abuse and snowball in other ways. Your emotional abuse can escalate and become life-threatening for you.
Breaking the chains of emotional abuse
You can break the chains that bind you to emotional abuse, but it is not an easy process. Also, you should know that it won’t happen overnight either. Here are some ways to break this toxic cycle.
1. Discuss the problem with your partner
In the past, you may have tried to have a meaningful conversation with your partner. Perhaps you have tried to make them see that you feel trapped and their behavior makes you feel hurt and worthless. This may be one of the times when you swear to change, but be careful, as you will likely revert to your old abusive habits.
In the end, a toxic partner will not listen to your concerns and will insist that you made him behave this way. Also, they can be enraged. Such behavior is a red flag that you are in an emotionally abusive relationship.
If you can’t get anywhere with your toxic partner, the relationship may be beyond repair. It is a brutal reality to accept, but your well-being depends on being honest with yourself. Unfortunately, this problem won’t go away on its own, so your next step is to bring in reinforcements.
2. Call the troops
Being someone’s emotional hostage is serious and needs to be addressed. It is a situation that often requires external support. If you feel that your partner is emotionally abusing you, reach out to trusted family and friends. Discuss the situation openly with them and get other perspectives.
You are not looking for someone to “take sides.” Those who care will actively listen without interruption or judgment. Perhaps some of their ideas can help you see ways in which you are being abused that you have not considered.
3. Talk to a mental health provider
You should seek professional advice from a mental health provider who specializes in dysfunctional relationships. They will listen to your concerns and help you see the situation clearly. In addition, you will work on an effective plan to repair or end the relationship.
When you struggle with an emotionally abusive partner, you can feel scared, helpless, and guilty. Being suffocated by this negative energy can destroy your confidence and send you to a downward spiral of depression. Therapy can help you get your life back and the power to walk away.
A healthy relationship offers you the freedom to grow together in love and joy. If you are tied to the chains of emotional abuse, you have the power to be free. It is time for you to step out of this prison of abuse into the light of hope and happiness.