Who would’ve thought the man (or woman) of your dreams was an abuser. No visible signs of abuse like bruises, cuts or burns, so how could this be? Your partner is overtly controlling; they have a say in everything -- what you wear, how you look, who you see, where you go and what you do. But to you it is flattering – it shows they care, right? To what extent does a person “care” like that? The word we are looking for is actually two words “mental abuser.”
Mental abuse, known also as psychological abuse or emotional abuse, is a term used when one partner over extends their power over the other. Whereas, a true partnership is where two people co-exist with one another each having equal power and respect in a relationship, mental abuse is one-sided. Mental abuse is a “form of brainwashing in which the abuser degrades the victim to the point that she feels she can't live without him. This type of abuse often starts out by the abuser wanting to control little things---the way the victim does her hair, how she spends money, what she cooks. Mental abuse is sometimes overlooked because there aren't any visible bruises or marks on the victim; however, mental abuse can severely affect the victim.” www.livestrong.com Initially and quite often, the abuser gains the trust over the victim by withholding sex saying they respect them; leaving the victim to be submissive at their whim whenever they feel the time is right.
Though the symptoms of mental abuse varies, for the most part, the victim may or may not feel afraid of her abuser, meaning she may not be truly aware of the situation believing she is happy. The victim may hide certain things from the abuser for fear of an adverse reaction. He may exert such power over her that she feels like a child and belittles her as such. “Feelings of hopelessness, intimidation, helplessness, isolation, terror and humiliation are also possible. Family and friends may begin to notice that the victim doesn't contact them often; sometimes not at all. In some cases, the abuser may control all finances, states HelpGuide.org. Life necessities, such as food, clothing and shelter, may be controlled.” www.livestrong.com The abuser may also accuse the victim of being unfaithful and subject them to substance abuse intensifying the submissiveness of abuse. In some cases, the victim may become pregnant further depending on the abuser for fear of being left alone.
In Cleveland, the most familiar case of mental abuse took place on Seymour Avenue; the abuser was Ariel Castro and his victims Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, and Amanda Berry. Though these women suffered all types of abuse, their captivity was in part due to mental abuse. They were led to believe that their family, friends, and authorities had given up on them. They did not have the mindset to escape for ten years.
Mental abuse is not only subject to partners but also children and the elderly; the signs and symptoms are all similar.
If you or someone you know have been subject to mental abuse, please get help. The problem with mental abuse is that it often turns physical and the physical could possibly lead to death.