Health and Wellness Lifestyle

5 Forms of Emotional Abuse that Wrecks Self-Esteem

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Love is kind and is not rude. If it is none of these, how is that love?

Love is supposed to make you feel warm, comfortable and filled with bliss. It makes you dance in the pouring rain, and see every chance lovely. It embraces you with delight like no other, puts on you a smile that cannot be seen when you are with another. Love keeps you secure and safe, inside and out. Not only your body feels cozy but also your heart feels home. That’s how it is. Love is graced with beauty. 

But unfortunately, sadly and maddeningly, some people brush off the sanctity and splendor of love. Some taint it for other people by loving them without really loving. Abuse is one of the worst ways they do that. Violence in different forms wrecks hearts and smash lives. Pains appear in different faces and traces. Yet one sort that leaves wounds that the naked eye cannot completely see is emotional abuse. 

Emotional abuse aims to manipulate, control and harm the emotions of its victims, which eventually leads to maltreating their whole lives. This badly affects self-esteem because when emotions are stricken hard, thoughts get warped, and that’s not good. 

Take a look at the relationship you are in or you will be having in the future. Here are 5 forms of emotional abuse that drags down self-esteem. They are sometimes present in a relationship, and the victim does not even know. 

1 – Invalidating all your emotions

Image by Keira Burton

You tell them you are hurt, offended or angered by what they have done, but they do not care. You share your pains and problems, which are not necessarily related to your relationship, but they just tell you not to be weak and to just stop the drama. Your partner gives you no sense of emotional security. While they want to be cared for and attended to when they are in need, they selfishly and blatantly invalidate your emotions. They look after their emotions while brushing aside yours. 

A romantic relationship is supposed to make you feel home. It makes you feel like you are in the safest place in the world, even without the most luxurious things. After a stressful and arduous day, that person feels like a relaxing rest in your cozy bedroom. If the exact opposite is what that relationship you are in serves, then you are emotionally abused in many different ways, and it’s not good.

2 – Embarrassing you in front of others

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Being embarrassed in front of yourself can be easily overcome, but being embarrassed in front of other people is different. The latter is much more discomfiting, and it’s hard to forget. Often, flashbacks of the embarrassing moments happen, and you just cry while wishing you could go back to that time and do something to stop it or change it. 

A partner that commits emotional abuse towards their significant other has a habit of embarrassing the other party in the presence of family, friends or even strangers. This comes in many forms. 

They share to others stories that you are not comfortable sharing but you shared to them because you trust them (now, they break that precious trust.) They do not mind calling you inappropriate names and letting other people hear it while you are there, wishing you could just disappear into thin air. While they could be pretentiously kind in your family’s side’s reunion, they nag at you, harshly correct you or criticize you before the very eyes of their own loved ones.

3 – Discrediting your wins

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In a romantic relationship, it is heartwarming and actually vital that each person supports and cheers for each other. It’s like you have your own cheerleader when you have a significant other who roots for you and does their best to show how they are proud of you. This gives you genuine joy and soothing relief that helps you do your best regardless of what the results would be. They support you emotionally, and that’s very essential especially when you are going through something or aiming to reach a particular goal. 

A partner inflicts emotional abuse on you by discrediting your wins and belittling your efforts. They do not celebrate your wins. They see them as trivial, when for you, they are as expensive as gold. Worthlessness is what they make you feel, even after achieving wins out of your own hard work. Sometimes, they even take credit for themselves when all they do is nothing.

4 – Guilt-tripping

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One of the most common, most obvious and most annoying signs of emotional abuse in a romantic relationship is guilt-tripping. When you point out their mistakes, they brazenly turn the tables around by saying, “But you did me wrong last time too”. When you ask them a big favor, they say, “You still have not given back the last time I helped you.” They always remind you of what they have done for you and tell you that you are nothing without their help.

As a result, you, the victim, tend to agree. Instead of successfully making them realize their wrongdoings, you point your fingers at yourself too. Instead of realizing they owe you a lot of things as well, you just see the things you owe to them, which are actually born out of pretense and abuse. 

5 – Being disappointed no matter what you do 

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No matter what good you do, they are disappointed and discontented. They make you feel it, and that makes you disappointed in yourself too. You start to question your worth and the value of all you do. You become too conscious about what they and other people will say about you. Your self-esteem relies on their belief and thoughts rather than on your true self-worth.


Emotions are strong and powerful. They drive you to do something or to not do it. They influence your decisions and choices, both the littlest and the biggest ones. When they are steered by abuse, they get misaligned and contorted, and that deforms the way you see and look at yourself too. How your emotionally abusive partner perceives you mars how you perceive yourself; you become hard on yourself as well, when you should be the one defending yourself. 

Victims of emotional abuse experience double the abuse because the culprits exploit their emotions, and as a result, they act in ways that those exploited emotions urge them to do. Besides being dangerous, it’s very sad and exasperating.

If you are a victim of emotional abuse in a relationship, know that there are human protection programs, counselling help, lawyers, legal assistance and more concerned authorities that can aid you. Do not be afraid to seek help, also from family and friends  who can give you emotional support and security.

You and your emotions within are precious. Do not let anyone play with them like they’re nothing.  


About Author

Nicole Ann Pore is a writer, an events host and a voice over artist. She finds quality and well-researched writing as a worthwhile avenue to enlighten and delight others about things that matter. For her, it’s restoring and fulfilling to the heart and a great way to clear the mind while loading it up with fresh learning. Film critiquing and filmmaking are among her interests too. Giving all the glory to God, Nicole graduated Cum Laude from De La Salle University Manila, Philippines with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts.

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