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Emotional Abuse; What You Need To Know


Every time relationship violence is discussed, emphasis is put on the physical and sexual aspects of it. But do you know your partner could also be emotionally abusing you? Do you know that this is just as wrong as the other two, and could eventually lead to physical and sexual violence?
It is quite unfortunate that an  extremely high number of people in relationships are constantly emotionally abused by their partners, yet they totally have no knowledge this is happening. So what are some of the pointers?
Continual criticism; there’s always something wrong about your dressing, your hair, your performance at work(they’ll tell you this is why you are not getting a promotion), how you talk to his/her friends, how you walk, how you laugh…the list is endless. Any of this sounds familiar? Criticism is good, but only that which builds you. If your partner is always trying to bring you down, that amounts to emotional abuse. It is WRONG.
Refusing to share financial responsibility; you work your ass off to pay all the bills, as they cross their legs on top of the coffee table all day long waiting to ask you for ‘pesa ya salon’. Yes, I mentioned the ladies, get your lazy self up and go work for your own money. Honestly waiting for your man to take care of all your financial woes, is sooo Stone-Age. I hear the are situations where the woman is the victim. Oh, really? Unless he is bedridden, shame is on you, woman!
Does he/she refuse to socialize with your family or friends? Do they prevent you from contacting your loved ones? How frequently can you visit your family, or place a call to them? Do they use insulting words when talking about your family/friends? These are some indicators that you are in an emotionally abusive relationship.
How your partner treats you in public is important. How he/she talks to you in presence of other people, touches you, looks at you, talks about you to other people, e.t.c. If any of the things they do to you in public is humiliating, then it counts as emotional abuse.
I could go on and on about more indicators on emotional abuse, but bottom line is, there’s more to relationship violence than just sexual and physical. You’re probably asking yourself what to do if it happens, now that you are better placed to recognize it. Talk about it. To him, to her. Tell them how you feel about their behaviour. This is a very important step as many abusive partners actually do not realise what they’re doing is wrong. Their behaviour is somehow justified in their minds, and unless you point it out, they’ll never know.
You could also see a counsellor, or talk to a close friend or family. Our country doesn’t have any clear set laws against emotional abuse, so it would be quite difficult trying to explain in a court of law why you want to divorce you partner because he won’t let you call your mother, or he thinks you ¬†smell.
All this could be quite frustrating, but remember the first step to helping yourself is acknowledging that what you are going through is wrong. No one deserves any form of violence, be it physical, sexual or emotional. A relationship should keep your mind stable, not troubled. Or else what’s the whole point of being in one anyway?
Emotional abuse may happen to you, to a friend, to a friend’s friend, or to a total stranger. If you could help just one person recognise and deal with it, then you will have helped a great deal. Remember you don’t have to be an expert to talk about abuse, you just need to be a friend.
Spread the word.

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