They can’t sleep, can’t concentrate, can’t work as efficiently, and can’t enjoy themselves without drinking.) Most of the adults lack genuine self-value (based on realistic self-appraisals), and the children rarely feel as good as other kids.
When it comes to the more severe forms of destructiveness, purely emotional abuse is usually more psychologically harmful than physical abuse. Even in the most violent families, the incidents tend to be cyclical.
The other factor that makes emotional abuse so devastating is the greater likelihood that victims will blame themselves.
If someone hits you, it’s easier to see that he or she is the problem, but if the abuse is subtle – saying or implying that you’re ugly, a bad parent, stupid, incompetent, not worth attention, or that no one could love you – you are more likely to think it’s your problem. Attachment relationships – those held together by strong emotional bonds – serve as mirrors of the inner self.
If they listen at all, they do so dismissively or impatiently.
Disengaging partners say, “Do whatever you want, just leave me alone.” They’re often workaholics, couch potatoes, flirts, or obsessive about something.
Young children never question the impressions of themselves they get from their parents.
Mistakes and miscommunication do not lead to abuse.
Anger and abuse in relationships begin with blame: “I feel bad, and it’s your fault.” Even when they recognize the wrongness of their behavior, resentful, angry, or emotionally abusive people are likely to blame it on their partners: “You push my buttons,” or, “I might have overreacted, but I’m human, and look what you did!
You would probably laugh — or at least not get angry — at someone who implied that you have green hair, but if your husband or wife says it, you’re likely to run to a mirror.
The default assumption is, if your partner is displeased, there must be something wrong with you, and you need anger or resentment for protection.