Living With Emotional Abuse

Sometimes, it’s hard to see emotional abuse when it’s happening. Sometimes, you were young and thought it was normal. What about now? Are you living in it, or suffering from the long-term effects of it? How do you know? Listen for answers to these questions.


  • ? Signs of emotional abuse
  • ? Why emotional abuse is the hardest to recognize
  • ? How emotional abuse affects you like mold in your house
  • ? The accumulative effects of long-term emotional abuse
  • ? Why it is essential to recognize and admit that you have experienced emotional abuse.

Emotional abuse can be hard to recognize in the beginning. Some people have difficult naming it, even after experiencing it for far too long. This episode will help you understand the underlying nature of living with emotional abuse.

I offer the analogy between living with emotional abuse and having black mold in your house. Understanding those similarities can help you get a handle on the extent of emotional abuse you may have experienced, or be experiencing.

Think of the effects of living with spreading mold in your basement or under your kitchen sink. You are unaware of it, yet it keeps on affecting you. Eventually, you find the cause. I hope this episode will help you pinpoint emotional abuse earlier, rather than later.

Were you abused? Are you being abused? Are you healing from abuse?. I’m here to help.


Raw Transcript

In this episode, we’re going to be talking about living with emotional abuse. You may have done that with a parent, you may have repeated it with a partner, you may have just met an errant partner and be experiencing for the first time. We want to talk about this in some depth because it is toxic, it is unhealthy. It has long term effects. And it’s very important to recognize what they are. And to have some ways of thinking is this happening to me. So we’re going to work with that this evening in this episode.

When we’re looking for help, you can always find me at for relationship help. And I am so happy that you have found me now. And you can find more things my free checklist a lot of information at for relationship help calm. If you’d like other examples of the podcast other episodes, you can go to save your sanity And if you’d like to support the work and get it out to more people, I’m always delighted when people make a one time or a monthly slash save your sanity your sanity.

So we’re going to talk about emotional abuse living with emotional abuse. And first of all, we need to know what what is it because it can be very hard to recognize. And in that being hard to recognize, it can be because it’s subtle. It can be it’s not that bad. You think it could be intermittent, you could have really good periods of time. And then bang, there’s something nasty going on. Or it could be overt it could be just constantly coming at you very manipulative, but it’s all an attempt to control you by discrediting you, isolating you and silencing you.

So I wanted to share with you my definition of emotional abuse, which is controlling another person by criticizing embarrassing shaming, blaming, discounting, dismissing, depriving, or denying their rights needs, wants, thoughts, feelings and equality. Now that covers a lot of ground, I’m sure you would agree. So think about it. Anything going on in your life for someone is endeavoring to control you by criticizing embarrassing shaming, blaming, discounting dismissing, depriving, or denying your rights, your needs, your wants, your thoughts, your feelings, and your equality?

Is that happening in any way to you? Has it happened before? Did you have a parent who was an abuser in that regard, and don’t be afraid to say that was abusive? That is abusive? I know it sounds like such a terrible charge, but we really have to recognize it for what it is and when it is happening.

I’ve done lots of episodes on various aspects of emotional abuse. But I’ll just go over a few of them. There are episodes that talk specifically about these or give you lists of things. So please go to save your sanity podcast, look for more so that you could go more in depth but it is emotional abuse when someone is constantly name calling, or putting you down, or gaslighting you which is defining your reality for you.

Using projection where what they’re afraid is true of themselves, they say is true of you. So they project it on you like a movie projector. They may be shaming, as I said in the definition, or criticizing or constantly blaming and being very judgmental, that they could compare you to other people. Other times other relationships they’ve had in a negative way. They could withhold themselves withhold themselves, emotionally withhold talking to you withhold information from you withhold affection, make affection conditional on whether you’re doing what they want you to do in the moment, they will discount you dismiss your ideas degrade you in front of other people humiliate you in front of other people.

All of these are emotionally abusive. I know when I was a little girl, it constantly happened to me, constantly, it was my father’s way of feeling that he had the upper hand. And he would particularly like to be emotionally abusive in front of other people. And then just think it was funny. And that might have happened to you too. And as a result, when other people say negative things about you, you kind of expect it, and you have to heal from that. That is not okay is it know that you can heal from it, you can recover.

And you can say no to emotional abuse in the future. It’s not simple. It is not easy, but it is possible. And that’s very important information. Because if we feel that we can get out from under that, after maybe years of having it, then we can perk up, we can see the possibility of our life, we can see the potential in our life. And that is so important.

And as I said, I’ve done lots of episodes on particular topics like gaslighting, or triangulation or projection or introjection, all kinds of things blame shifting, past blasting, all kinds of things that are emotionally abusive. But I really hope that you will take it to heart and recognize that if you were emotionally abused, it is not your fault. It has very little to do with you. You were just handy. You were the handy person available that the other person could control or try to control. It was nothing wrong with you there was nothing intrinsically wrong with you. It is the other person’s problem that they visited upon you.

Can you get that really clearly. Because sometimes we get into a mindset that says, Oh, well, I must have deserved it, or there must have been some truth in it or, but when you have a pattern of that, know that it rests squarely on the other person when your child definitely rests on the other person and their inability to cope with life in any other way than having someone to destroy or damage. And really let that sink in. Because you may have lived with the idea that there was something wrong with you, and they really wanted you to. But you know, it is wonderful to say, Huh, no, I have looked at all of the things that I am and all the things that I do. And it is not true. It is not true. Maybe occasionally is true, but of me as a person in time and overtime, it is not true. And then you can begin to realize it is the other person.

They were meeting their own needs as any good Hijackal will. And a narcissist well, any person with narcissistic tendencies? Well, it’s all about So they have to have someone to degrade someone to make small, someone to vent their anger at whether it’s rational or not, usually not. But they’re looking for a victim. They’re looking for prey, someone who will take it. And as I said earlier, is sometimes starts in very subtle ways. Maybe much of the time, it’s subtle. But you feel it, you can feel the energy of it. You can feel the discomfort of it. You can feel that the way that I just know something’s off. I can’t put my finger on it. But I know something’s off. This is not okay with me on any level. And really listen to that voice within you.

Don’t take all the blame for sure. Be self reflective, say did I have a part in this? Clean that up if you think you did, but don’t take it all on. There are two people there and the other is a perpetrator. So really understand that. And as I said don’t be afraid to call it abuse because that’s what it is. So I was thinking about what is it like what could I put to it that would help us understand And as I thought about that, it came to me that emotional abuse is like having black mold in your basement, or any kind of mold for that matter, because many kinds of mold are black.

But if you just think about it, you know, you attribute symptoms to other things, you got mold growing in your house, you don’t even realize it. So you get a cold or you have congestion, or you’re feeling under the weather, and you attribute it to all kinds of other things, things that seem more relevant to the moment. But still, it keeps happening and you keep feeling that way. Then Then you start perhaps to search. And here you find that this silent, spreading mold in your basement where there was water or up the walls or behind the water heater, just sitting there affecting you every day.

And it’s as I said, silent and spreading the kind of underhanded you know it’s doing its thing, but it’s affecting you and you don’t even know it’s there. And it’s toxic. It’s unhealthy. And it has long term effects. And we have to clear them out. So in thinking of this metaphor of emotional abuse is like black mold, a simile, if you like kind of a metaphor. I just wanted to talk to you a bit about just describing what having toxic mold in your house is like, and then you think about, well, is that like having a Hijackal and emotional abuser in your life.

So these things have short and long term effects. So you’re going to begin with some irritation is maybe mild irritation, maybe a few outbursts, a few upsets, but things kind of calm down, perhaps. And so you don’t really notice that they’re chained together, because the situation’s may have been different. So you get irritation, and then you begin to get fatigue, you’re just tired. It’s too much. It’s exhausting. And you begin to kind of notice that no matter how much sleep you get, you’re not rested. Do you see the similarities already. And then with the mold, you can get headaches, headaches of supposedly unknown origin. The mold can create that within your body. You may then become tense because you don’t know what’s going on. And you make develop aches and pains out of the blue aches and pains is a result of the mold out of the blue aches and pains as a result of the emotional abuse. And you may find your mood changing with that irritability, you may have mood changes, that definitely happens when people have mold in their houses. So the short term things kind of look like that when you have mold in your house. But what is the long term pieces? Well, insomnia. Strange, but mold causes insomnia.

So does emotional abuse.

It causes memory loss, you get tired of remembering, because every time you tried to tell your truth, you’re told you’re wrong. It didn’t happen that way. It isn’t important. You don’t matter who wanted to hear from you. But if you have mold in your house, you’ll find that it’s fatiguing, and it’ll create insomnia and you will have memory loss. You may have trouble concentrating. That’s what mole does cheer. Similarly, you have trouble concentrating because you’re hyper vigilant when you have emotional abuse going on.

You got one ear open all the time too. Am I safe? Is it okay? Similarly, with a mold, you are having trouble concentrating because you’re getting brain fog. And you may be confused. Certainly an emotional abuser will confuse you with gaslighting or attempt to and mold will produce confusion and you don’t even know where it’s coming from much like a covert Hijackal Then it will weaken your immune system. I’ve spoken about that several times. The mold will do it. So will the abuse. Very straightforward, isn’t it?

How the mold in your house is similar to an emotional abuser in your house or in your life. And this will cause damage to your organs. Wear and tear and damage and then it can also cause brain damage. that you just cannot think anymore. You just cannot piece things together anymore, you feel like you’re losing it. And don’t you also feel that way, when you’re with someone who’s emotionally abusive. After a while, it’s like your circuit socket shorted out. And you just can’t put ideas together. And if you did put ideas together, you’d be told you’re wrong. And if you did speak up about what was wrong, they would tell you that, no, that’s not the case. You’re the problem.

So when we have this kind of silent killer in the basement, coming up the walls seeping up the walls, creating this mold, giving you all these symptoms, we have things similar to that when we live with emotional abuse. And if we had emotional abuse in our family, when we were little, it’s all we knew. We don’t have another model for family than the one that we had when, you know, especially when we’re under the age of four. That’s the way it is. That’s what family is, that’s what home is. And the child calibrates that and says, Well, this must be it. I don’t like it. But this must be it. And so it is very, very important for us to realize these similarities, because we get used to it when we are raised with it. It just seems familiar. It’s unhealthy. But it seems familiar. It’s unhealthy. But it seems some way, almost comforting.

Because it’s home. And that’s why people who are raised in emotionally abusive homes will easily fall prey to Hijackals. And their first romantic relationships. They may see the red flags, but they ignore it because subconsciously, there’s something comfortable and familiar about it. So as I say, they’re comfortably uncomfortable. And so we go into those situations until we learn better. And when we learn better, we do better. And that’s just the way it is don’t ever beat yourself up about I should have seen it. I should have seen it earlier. N

ow you see it when you can see it, when you’re willing to see it, when it makes sense to you to see it. Don’t let people say well, why did you put up with this for so long? People are always happy to blame you on. And if you’ve been blamed repeatedly, sometimes you think you’re to blame anyway. So when they do it, you don’t expect anything differently. But it’s not okay. It’s not okay, on any level. And just like with the black mold, you don’t get sick right away. You know, you kind of tolerate it, you put up with it, you have little moments, but it just doesn’t seem to go away. And it keeps getting a little bit worse. Because it takes that exposure to infect you and affect you. And so that exposure over time changes you just like exposure over time to an emotional abuser changes you. And then it depends on how much mold there is.

It depends how frequently the abuser abuses. It depends how frequently you take it in. Sometimes you don’t. Very important analysis and analogies here. Because if you had a home in which were emotionally abused, and then you get into a relationship in which you’re being emotionally abused, you were pre sensitized to it. Just like if you had been in a home before that had mold in the basement, and then you move to a new home that also has mold in the basement, it just seems to be the same. And that same thing will happen if you had an emotionally abusive or neglectful home. And then how close you are to it.

You know if your bedroom is two stories up, and in the opposite corner of the house to the mold, you are less likely to be sleeping in the effects of the mold than if you happen to have the basement bedroom. Same thing with emotional abuse. Maybe you’re the golden child and you were not abused at home. You could do no wrong because Hijackals always play favorites with their children. And so you observed other people having emotional abuse, but you were saved from it because you were the golden child. You were the perfect one. But you observed it.

So you were close to it but not as close to it as being on the receiving end of it. You observed it. And of course, each one of us is different, just like with trauma, so our bodies react differently to mold. And so our minds also take it in differently. And the same way with emotional abuse. It’s quite a good analogy, isn’t it? That emotional abuse really is like having mold in the basement of your home. And, um, you can’t see it at first, but you in time you do, and it’s beginning to make you sick, or it may have already made you sick. And at that point, you need to focus on getting well, or getting out of there, because it’s unhealthy. It’s unsanitary, it is not good for your sanity. And the thing was mold as you can have it treated, and it may reoccur at any time.

Or the mold is hidden in other places and growing in other places, and you treat it in one place. And it’s like playing whack a mole, you beat it down in one place and a pops up in another. And many times when you’re with an emotional abuser isn’t very much likes. Because it’s quiet for a while that pops up somewhere else in another form. And you didn’t see it coming, you weren’t expecting it and it hurts even more. So many times when you’re in a home that has recurring mold, it’s best to get away. And the same thing is true about being in a relationship with a Hijackal. Everybody’s different, every relationship is different.

The dynamics of every relationship are different. So when I’m working with my clients, I am constantly calibrating, how is it for them. If you’d like to be one of my clients, I have an introductory offer for new clients. At only $97 For a full one hour session, If you’d prefer to join with others, you’re welcome to join my emerging empowered community at We can talk and you can talk with other people there. Because having people on the journey with you, knowing that you’re not alone.

Hijackals want you to feel alone. They want you to feel isolated and marginalized. That’s why I created the emerging empowered community so that you would gather together with other people who know what it is you’re speaking about. They’re not going to say, well, it’s your bed, you lie in it. It’s they’re not going to say why haven’t you left by now they understand. So go to join in to become a part of the emerging empowered community.

So we’re looking at emotional abuse. And I’ve told you what it is. And I want share with you my definition of a toxic relationship, which is any adult relationship, where interactions are verbally and emotionally abusive, intentionally damaging, controlling, or otherwise lacking in equality, reciprocity and mutuality. Those relationships toxic, they are very, very detrimental to your physical, emotional and mental health. They are adult relationships where there is verbal and emotional abuse, just like I’ve been speaking out, where someone is intentionally damaging or controlling or not expressing the three must haves of a healthy adult relationship, which are as in Episode 115, equality, reciprocity and mutuality. So these are very important things to recognize. And so just like that black mold growing in your basement or behind your water tank or under your kitchen sink, you may not notice it at first, but you’re uneasy and you start finding yourself not feeling well in a variety of ways.

I hope that you will notice when that’s happening to you, I hope you will take that to heart and say hmm, I need to be doing something about this this is not good. Go over to my website for relationship help calm there for free checklists there. When an emotional integrity or a personal integrity, one on passive aggressive behaviors. One on am I in a healthy relationship and the last 1am I in a toxic relationship. So important to know, if you’re new to my work and you don’t really understand what a Hijackal is or you’d like to you can go to or find it on my website for Relationship I have a free ebook for you. It’s called how to spot a Hijackal. And the good news is that you can get it in an ebook form and or you can listen to it, because I also read it in case you’d like to listen when you’re walking or working or jogging, perhaps. So I hope this analogy between emotional abuse and mold in your basement of your home will stick with you because it’s pervasive is today on its cloying. It’s silent, and it is so damaging.

So think about this. Are you living with emotional abuse? Is your relationship or any relationship toxic? Did you have that from a parent as well as a partner? You may then if that’s the case, find that you also have friends like that, or siblings or family members like that. And once you recognize that you are being emotionally abused, you can then take steps to say no more, this is not going to continue. So I hope you will take very good care of yourself until we speak again, because you’re precious. And you matter. Talk soon.


Thank you for joining me on the save your sanity podcast today. I hope you’ve had some new insights, some ideas and strategies to help you gain clarity and confidence from moving forward toward greater emotional health and safety. You deserve that and so to your children. If you found value here and would like to support this podcast with $1 or five each month, please do so at your sanity. Learn more about how to work with me by a video conference. Join me optimize circles or subscribe to this podcast on my youtube channel at my website transforming Talk soon

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