That's because we tend to form emotional bonds with an expectation that those we love will care about how we feel.When loved ones fail to care that we are hurt, let alone inflict hurt upon us, it feels like betrayal.Here are examples: "You shouldn't spend so much on clothes, you don't look good anyway.""Don't complain about how bad you have it, no one else could love you.""Working and taking courses is too much for you; you can't handle what you need to do now.""Your friends and family just want something from you.""I have to drink to be able to stand you.""One of these days you'll wake up, and I'll be gone.""You don't know the first thing about raising kids." It's important to note that most emotional abuse is not as direct and verbal as these examples.
The other factor that makes emotional abuse so devastating is the greater likelihood that victims will blame themselves.
If someone hits you, it's easier to see that he or she is the problem, but if the abuse is subtle - saying or implying that you're ugly, a bad parent, stupid, incompetent, not worth attention, or that no one could love you - you are more likely to think it's your problem.
The inability to distinguish objections to a loved one's behavior from value for the loved one is at the heart of emotional abuse.
You can and must negotiate about the behavior you don't like (you can even condemn it) without devaluing the person you love.
In other words, women engage in as much emotionally abusive behavior as men, but the systematic use of emotional abuse to control another person is usually the domain of men, simply because it is easier to control someone with fear than shame.