Therapy for Emotional Abuse Survivors
Am I Going Crazy? What’s Happening In My Relationship?
You’ve tried everything you can think of to improve your relationship. It’s not helping. You are crushed, exhausted, and don’t know what to do next. You’re losing hope. Your spouse says everything is your fault, so you believe you are worthless, dumb, and useless.
You smile on the outside. You pretend things are okay. Inside, you’re hurting deeply. You’re lonely, confused, and always sad.
You can’t tell anyone else because they won’t understand. They will tell you to just try harder, or say you must be the problem. They haven’t lived in your shoes; they don’t know the pain you carry every single day.
Here are some important truths:
- You do matter.
- You have value.
- Your thoughts, feelings, and needs matter.
The knowledgeable, caring therapists at Lime Tree Counseling want to help you see yourself as you truly are – a loved, beautiful person made to thrive. We can help you learn how to protect your own heart, and at the same time, learning to no longer tolerate the hurtful behaviors of your spouse. You can be loving and not passive. True love doesn’t mean giving the other person whatever they want to keep the peace. True love shows kindness and sets limits. You can learn more about creating healthy boundaries and self-advocacy when you schedule therapy sessions for emotional abuse with one of our counselors.
So, What Exactly is Emotional Abuse?
Emotional abuse is when a person tries to control another person through verbal and emotional manipulation. Over time, this abuse chips away at the other person’s sense of worth and identity, very often leading to anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
Mental or emotional abuse, while most common in dating and married relationships, can occur in any relationship including among friends, family members, and co-workers.
Emotional abuse is hard to recognize from the outside. It can be subtle or outwardly apparent or manipulative. Either way, it chips away at the victim’s self-esteem and they begin to doubt their perceptions and reality.
Research suggests that over 50 percent of adults may experience emotional abuse in their lifetime, although the concept is difficult to reliably measure. Emotional abuse is designated as an adverse childhood experience, one experienced by 11 percent of children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This is an incredible statistic! It shows you are not alone in this. It also shows we have a lot of work to do to heal as a whole. Our therapists at Lime Tree Counseling are up to the task.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse is not as easily recognized as physical or sexual abuse. For those suffering from the abuse, emotional abuse (also called psychological or verbal) is harder to acknowledge, because there are no outside wounds and it’s very subtle. Yet, emotional abuse can be just as damaging as any physical or sexual abuse.
Any relationship can be emotionally abusive, not just marriages. You may be dealing with emotional abuse if someone in your life:
- Constantly criticizes you and puts you down
- Blames you for any conflict or tension in the relationship
- Never truly apologizes
- Controls your access to finances
- Issues threats to you or others you love if they don’t get what they want
- Humiliates and shames you
- Makes efforts to control who you spend time with
- Makes you think you are “crazy” (also called gas lighting)
The most important thing to know is this: IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
Emotional abuse can also involve behaviors or acts towards others. These can include:
- Abuse of pets. This type of abuse in an emotionally abusive relationship can mean they are punishing YOU for something you said or did. They may also want to be able to manipulate you into doing something. This can also look like the other parent being upset at something a child has or hasn’t done.
- Threats to self-harm. This happens when the abuser uses your love for them to manipulate or control you. Remember, it’s not your responsibility for their actions.
If you are living in an emotionally abusive relationship, it’s absolutely not your fault. Nothing you have done justifies an abuser’s behavior. You are only responsible for how you respond the situation, which may require the help of a qualified professional therapist. We want you to get back to a life that includes prioritization of yourself and being able to respond to triggers with self-compassion.
We Are Experts in Emotional Abuse Counseling
Emotional and verbal abuse are overwhelming. You may be isolated from others. Even if you see other people regularly, you have no one in your life who knows what’s really going on in your world. If you’re scared to tell your story, we understand that fear. You may love the person with the abusive behavior, which makes you feel afraid of change. At the same time, you know you can’t continue to live this way.
We understand that in between emotional abuse episodes it might feel as if things are better. The abuser starts to act as if normality has returned and they may even seem sweet and gentle. Maybe their jealousy or controlling behavior has lessened. This means you feel trapped for a longer period of time through a false sense of security. Did you know that emotional abuse often escalates to physical abuse? That’s why it’s important to find a therapist that can help you spot the signs of emotional abuse and try to prevent the dangers of escalation.
At Lime Tree Counseling, we help you think more clearly through these issues and take steps, at your own pace, toward healing and emotional health.
Further Reading On Emotional Abuse
Read more about therapy for survivors of emotional abuse in our blog posts:
5 Ways to Stay Safe When Quarantined with A Toxic Person
by Katie Bailey, MA, LPC We are living in intense, stressful times. “Social distancing” and staying cooped up in our homes takes its toll on all of us; however, we know it’s an important responsibility to ensure the health of our communities. Feeling annoyed with the...
5 Ways to Boost Your Empathy
by Katie Bailey, MA, LPC Empathy is the ability to understand and share in another person’s emotions. We all need healthy connections to other people – and empathy is an essential element of a healthy relationship. Empathy helps us respond well in various situations...
How to Say No & Know Yourself Better
by Katie Bailey, MA, LPC You say “yes” all the time. No matter how busy you are, you can’t turn down anyone who asks for your help, even if it hurts you or your family. Why can’t you say no? Many people believe saying no to other’s requests is selfish or uncaring....
Additional Counseling Services at
Lime Tree Counseling
In addition to therapy for addiction and substance use disorders, we also provide a range of therapy solutions, including:
Many people fight anxiety everyday. Often this looks like constant worry, regular physical tension, rapid heartbeat, and even panic attacks. We offer anxiety counseling to help you learn new skills to lower your stress and enjoy life more…Learn more
Relationships evolve as life changes. Sometimes partners need help learning new skills to help them communicate better and strengthen their connection. We help couples improve their marriages through couples therapy…Learn more
Life gets busy, and maybe coming into the office is not doable. Or perhaps you live in a remote area, and don’t have access to quality mental health care. We offer online counseling services to those residing in Pennsylvania…Learn more
Get Started With Therapy Today!
Please contact Lime Tree Counseling to schedule an appointment or a free consultation. We will get back to you as soon as possible and get you scheduled. In our Ambler, PA office, we serve all of Montgomery County, and our therapists are happy to offer online counseling sessions for residents of Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Colorado.