Many women only account themselves to be a victim of abuse when they have been physically tortured or assaulted. But abuse does not need to be manifested into an act of physical violence to be termed as “abuse”. You can be emotionally abused too.
Immigrant women in the United States can be vulnerable to emotional abuse because they are isolated, far from home, and lack support from family or friends. If you are an immigrant abused by your partner, and that partner is a permanent resident or U.S. citizen, then you are protected by an act of the U.S. Congress called the Violence Against Women Act. Your abuser may hold your immigration status over you, so it is important to contact an immigration lawyer if your partner threatens deportation– you are protected by law.
In order to cope with emotional abuse, you first need to identify it. If there is a pattern in your relationship where you are constantly being verbally abused, bullied, insulted, so much so that your self esteem is crushed – it is a case of emotional abuse. As a victim of emotional abuse your mental health suffers, as you are manipulated by the perpetrator to feel hopeless, humiliated, guilty, worthless and isolated.
The most common cases of emotional abuse occur in couples and marital relationships, but it can also happen in other relationships including family, friends and colleagues.
Emotional abuse is subtle and usually has a cyclical nature, in which the victim is again and again made to go through similar patterns of abuse. People going through an emotional abuse are also vulnerable to depression, anxiety, insomnia, as well as other stomach related diseases.
Here are just a few of the ways a person can emotionally abuse you:
- Tells you that you can never do anything right
- Shows extreme jealousy of your friends and time spent away
- Controls every penny you spend
- Tells you that you are a bad parent or threatens to harm or take away your children
- Looks at you or acts in ways that scare you
- Shames or demeans you
If you feel trapped in an emotional abusive relationship, take the first step toward coming out of it by talking to a trusted family member or friend, or a counselor. You can also contact your local domestic abuse shelter.