Have you been feeling threatened or cornered in a relationship without there being any instance of physical violence? Take the following emotional abuse test to find out if you too are a victim of this extremely potent form of abuse.
Life was perfect for Ellen. A promising career, a doting fiancé, a sprawling apartment at one of the most posh residential areas….what else could a woman ask for? However, this element of perfections began disintegrating slowly after she got married to Jason, her long time boyfriend and fiancé. Jason had always been somewhat possessive about Ellen – he would call her during the day to ask where she was and what she was doing, inquire whether she had eaten something or not, etc. Ellen used to feel flattered by this show of concern and constant attention. However, not yet many days into their marriage, what was cute and romantic before gradually started assuming darker shades. Jason would keep track of each and every activity that Ellen undertook during the entire day, even going as far as checking the call history on her cell phone and checking her mail inbox. Whenever Ellen attempted to discuss her discomfort at being kept under spousal surveillance 24*7, Jason would either give the excuse of being concerned for her or he would simply dismiss her by saying that it is none of her business. There have also been times when Jason had made acrid remarks about Ellen spending more time with her friends and colleagues than with him. Lately, Ellen has been experiencing some mild symptoms of depression such as loss of appetite and disturbed sleep for no apparent reason. Is she a victim of mild emotional abuse? Is her depression due to the mental and emotional stress she is undergoing because of Jason’s behavior?
Emotional abuse is the trickster among all kinds of abuses, whether physical or psychological. It creeps into a relationship unbeknown to you and starts eating away at the mental vitality of the victim. It is like a termite whose invasion cannot be detected immediately. It is only when it has completely eaten away your peace of mind till the hollow emotional space is inundated with melancholic resonances of past bliss that you realize your loss. This form of abuse in relationships is, unfortunately, not a very rare phenomenon. The ravages of such abuse can render even the toughest of victims vulnerable as it completely strips him/ her of the capability to put his/ her faith in another person. Before you embark upon taking the test, read the subsequent lines to understand the full implications of what emotional abuse is all about.
What Qualifies as Emotional Abuse?
The signs and symptoms of such abuse can be as mild as those mentioned in the narration of Ellen and Jason’s relationship equations and as intense as causing actual emotional and psychologically traumatic conditions such as anxiety, depression, delusions, paranoia, etc. Signs may include any combination of the following behavior inflicted by the abuser upon the abused:-
- Deliberate isolation inflicted upon the abused from other familiar people by the abuser;
- Constant intimidation of abused by the abuser;
- The abuser insisting on keeping track of every activity of the victim and taking decisions on the latter’s behalf, thereby exhibiting controlling behavior;
- Constant criticism;
- Calling embarrassing names and constant yelling;
- Threats of domestic violence or legal action;
- Indulging in frequent emotional blackmailing;
- Not respecting the abused partner’s privacy or personal space;
- Openly humiliating the other partner in front of others;
Now that you have understood the basic signs, please proceed towards the following test to see if you or someone you know is a victim of an emotionally abusive relationship.
Emotional Abuse Test: Identifying the Evil
Select one answer from among the three options given under each question till the very last one. Thereafter, check your scores to find out whether the emotional stress you are going through is a temporary phase in your relationship or if it is emotional harassment you are dealing with.
How is a fight resolved?
A. He/she walks away abruptly, slamming the door behind him/ her.
B. He/she starts yelling and calling names in a threatening and abusive manner.
C. We sit down and talk out our differences, trying to reason out a solution to the issue at hand.
How often are you criticized by your partner?
A. Depends upon his/ her moods.
B. As many times as I breathe in!? Precisely, I lose the count.
C. Only when I’ve truly done something wrong.
What is the way in which such criticism is carried out?
A. He/she makes fun of my clumsiness often, though affectionately.
B. He/she calls me unkind names, often accompanied by a harsh tone and verbal abuse.
C. He/she is honest in pointing out my mistakes, though in a very friendly manner and helps me in overcoming my lacunae.
Is there no aspect of you that he/she is not aware of – even the number of times you sneeze in a day?
A. He knows most of what I do in an average day because I myself have the habit of sharing each moment with him/ her of how I spent the day.
B. He/she keeps track of the even littlest things like who called my number and how many times and I feel constantly watched.
C. He/she knows only that much about my mundane schedule and activities as is relevant or significant.
How has your relationship with your friends and relatives been since you started living with your partner/spouse?
A. I do manage to keep in touch although we don’t get to meet as often as before due to the added responsibilities of a new life.
B. I have almost forgotten I know anyone else other than my significant other.
C. As good as it was before we moved in together!
If you’ve selected B as your answer for at least two out of the above five questions, you need to get help! More As may be indicative of some amount of emotional dominance though not necessarily. If you’ve mostly selected C then you are lucky to be in a healthy relationship with a very understanding and rational person who tends to be your friend first and then your spouse.
An emotional abuse test for children would have somewhat different elements to the questions as the abusive aspects somewhat differ from marital or spousal emotional abuse. The prominent signs in children may manifest as rejection, neglect and humiliation of the child. Restricting the child’s contact with others and encouraging delinquent behavior may also take place. Most often, a child may be terrorized and physically abused too. Recovery may be very difficult for a child as the psychological effects of such abuse, which are irrevocably damaging for even adults, may traumatize the child beyond any hope.