Emotional abuse is very misunderstood. Unless someone has personally experienced this type of abuse, it can be very difficult for him or her to understand what someone else is going through. Unlike physical abuse, there are no visible wounds or scars left by emotional abuse. This can lead people to believe that the abuse is imaginary or not happening at all which can lead to the victim feeling even more alone.
Emotional abuse is a very common type of abuse used when the goal is to manipulate or confuse the victim without being caught. One of the reasons, we believe, that individuals with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) frequently use emotional abusive techniques is because it does not leave any visible wounds. This allows the narcissist to continue to be perceived highly by others with only the victim knowing of the abuse. It also makes it much more difficult for the victim to reach out for support out of fear (or confirmation) that she will not be believed because he “seems so nice” to others. This invalidation of the victim’s feelings adds an addition layer to the psychological manipulation. She will likely start to question her own reality – “ nobody else sees him this way, maybe I’m wrong” – which just prolongs the cycle of abuse.
So what can you do?
If you’re struggling in a relationship where you are being emotionally manipulated and abused – find support. Locate a local therapist or abuse recovery coach with experience in emotional abuse recovery to help you understand more fully what you are experiencing and how to get out. Then search for support groups to connect with individuals that understand what you’re going through because they have lived it themselves.