My ex-husband was abusive: physically, sexually, and most of all emotionally. (Whoever came up with the expression “sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me” obviously lacked any ability to harbor feelings.) In short: my ex was an emotional psychopath — a complete sociopath.
When we split after a nearly 8 year marriage, he left with a suitcase packed with pieces of me: my pride, self-worth, hopes, dreams. He didn’t take those things using his hands; he took them using his words.
But here’s the sly thing about emotional psychopaths and sociopaths: they’re very good at not coming across that way, so good sometimes that it’s tricky to spot when you’re being emotionally abused. Learn from the clues I (eventually) picked up on:
1. He Makes You Believe Everything Is Your Fault.
Emotional psychopaths aren’t always outright mean; most of the time they’re very charming and compassionate. One minute you’re fighting, the next he’s sweetly telling you, “Baby, look. I don’t want to fight with you. I know you couldn’t help ruining our evening and that it’s hard for you to stop being so emotional all the time.”