Category Archives: Visual Signs and Symptoms

Toxic and Cruel. The Signs of Emotional Abuse

toxic people

by Annette Young

Abusers wield their words like a weapon. They are masters at deceiving, bullying and confusing. They want you to become a victim. Their victim.

If this sounds a little dramatic, don’t be fooled into thinking that people cannot be so cruel to act this way  or that even the strongest individual cannot be duped. happens all the time.

There’s no doubt that some people are more likely to be manipulated than others, but, it’s not a sign of weakness. Manipulative tactics can easily make you question yourself and fill you with self-doubt. Sadly, by the time you realise what is  happening, this person will have already infiltrated his/her way into your life.  Don’t think that it will always be someone new either. Take a look at people around you – work colleagues, your partner or even a close friend. If they have control of your life, there’s manipulation going on.

There are many different tactics but these are common ones:

It’s always your fault.

Have you heard that one? It doesn’t matter how hard you try to please this person or to fit in, they always manage to somehow blame you.  They make you feel stupid, incompetent and leave you doubting your own abilities. If you’ve ever tried to tell them how they make you feel or to stand up to them, no doubt you’ll get a rather harsh, personal attack listing all of your inadequacies.


Manipulators try very hard to get inside your mind and to screw with it.  They say that you’re so predictable. They may even try to second-guess what you are thinking. They are the mind games champions.

Overly helpful

This one may not sound like a problem but a manipulator will often work damn hard to make you depend on them. They are so supportive at first that you can’t believe your luck. You’ve finally found someone so loving and caring but then, the real person emerges once you have fallen so deeply for them or you have become dependent on them. The story very quickly takes a more sinister turn.

Complex responses

When you dare question a toxic person, you will often come to regret it. Their answers are long drawn out and overly complex. Yes, they are the politicians of the manipulative kind and wrap up their responses in a blanket of words.  The solution here is to try to focus on the topic, don’t let them distract you with long words or drawn out complicated statements which account for very little.

An abuser will often use varying tactics to undermine, to control or to belittle and no two abusers are the same. Sadly, they don’t wear warning labels and there is no quick way to determine their intent. It’s a sad fact of life that you have to be careful who you trust. So, with this in mind, it’s best to monitor their words and actions and, consider who your friend, colleague or partner makes you feel.  If you come away feeling down, confused, anxious and realise  your self-esteem is dragging behind you, the chances are you’ve encountered someone highly toxic and quite dangerous.

Are you fed up feeling emotionally inept? Do you feel as if your relationship has been a lie? Do you need help to recover and to rebuild your life?

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Emotional Abuse – What About Me?

Annette Youngby Annette Young

I am often asked to define emotional abuse and I always say that it is  hard to answer definitively because each case is based on an individual level.  It’s easy to believe that derogatory behaviour may happen if couples no longer have deep and loving feelings for each other. Perhaps, irritability or frustration creeps into the equation although, this is never a reason for treating someone badly. But however you wish to define emotional abuse, know this, it is far more common than you might think and, even if you are in a loving relationship, there will be many people around you who are cruel or damaging relationships.

So how do you know if you are a victim of emotional abuse?

Sadly, within a toxic environment, there is often humiliation or criticising behaviour. Sometimes, spiteful comments are wrapped up in humour but of course, this doesn’t detract from the core message, even if it makes it harder to quantify.

It’s easier to comprehend if you consider your own relationship. Does your partner make fun of you, or, regularly insult you in front of others? Does he talk down to you or treat you as if you are a child? Does he make you feel that you are to blame if there is an argument?

If this all sounds familiar, it’s likely that you have questioned this behaviour and you may have been accused of being too sensitive, too silly or too paranoid. Over time, derogatory behaviour can be hugely damaging. It leads to feelings of insecurity and self-doubts and will of course, widen the divide between you. Condescending behaviour is not funny and sarcastic comments designed to hurt are not conducive to a loving relationship.

Where possible,  it’s worth trying to fix any issues within your relationship but typically, talking it out doesn’t work. Counselling is a good option if you are both willing to go, but,  just having awareness of any abusive behaviour will help to stop the decline in respect of your own self-esteem or confidence. It may be that you can’t resolve your relationship and then, the choice is yours if you wish to stay, but, never let anyone take away your belief in who you are.

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The Cycle of Abuse – When You Are On the Outside Looking In

by Annette Young

Do you know someone who is stuck in the middle of an abusive relationship? Are you worried about their safety or fear hearing the news that they have tried to commit suicide? It can be the most difficult and frustrating of situations if you are worried about someone close to you and yet, feel powerless to act. You may feel undecided how to make things better for your loved one, should you report it to the police? Should you confront the abuser? Will your interference make it better or worse? It can be incredibly difficult to reach out and offer assistance to someone caught up in the middle of an abusive relationship, however close your relationship has been. Understanding the cycle of abuse though may help to prepare you for action, whether it’s giving emotional support or, making the decision to step in and make a stand. It will certainly give you an insight into the make-up of an abusive person.

Understanding the pattern that seems to go hand in hand with abusive relationships can give you some idea of how volatile the relationship can be. The cycle of abuse is a repetitive one. If the relationship remains, the abusive behaviour repeats over and over, until something or someone buckles under the strain.

First, there’s the actual abuse. This may be physically violent behaviour, threats or aggressive and manipulative word play that’s designed to make the victim fearful, isolated and to feel less than worthy. This abusive behaviour may last for days at a time. Guilt then seems to make an appearance, but usually, it’s not guilt through the cruel words spoken, or the damaging actions, it’s the fear of being caught.

Abusers will always blame someone else for their actions and usually their partner. Something was said or done and this was unacceptable, in fact, it triggered their behaviour. It’s never the fault of the abuser.

The control of the abuser is quite considerable. Make no mistake; the abuser will do everything in his (or her) power to keep full control over the victim. Once the abuse and then guilt cycle has completed, life returns to some normality. The relationship may even improve, life is less like walking on eggshells, and it lulls the victim into thinking that things will change for the better, just when things seem settled and positive, the mood changes again.

The next cycle of abuse is the deadly planning stage. This is where the abuser contemplates ways in which to make the victim pay. Because the normality stage may last for a period of time, there are plenty of opportunities to plan and to construe reasons for future abuse. The fantasy develops and then erupts. It spills over into everyday life and the physical act of abuse starts all over again. Once the abuser can justify the act of belittling and hurting the victim, there is little that can stop it until the scenario has played out and the next stage of the cycle of abuse starts.

Knowing what to look out for may give you a way to step in and to pre-empt volatile situations, but trying to communicate with your loved one and to provide emotional support may be all that you can do until they reach out and ask for help.


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Emotional Abuse

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