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While many of our articles and books use the phrase emotional abuse, from now on we have decided to use the term emotional aggression instead. We have found in real life situations the term abuse can leave room for doubt, where emotional aggression or passive aggression are more descriptive of what this problem looks like in real life.

What is Emotional Aggression?

Does your partner respond to your emotions in inappropriate ways?

Do they get grouchy when you are happy? Or ignore you when you are angry, depressed or upset? Even worse, do they become aggressive or nasty when you feel vulnerable, hurt or sad.

Emotional aggression can take many forms. A person taking their moods out on you (positive or negative), insisting you obey them because they are angry, blaming you for their negative emotions, becoming upset and angry about your emotions or expecting you to take responsibility for resolving their negative emotions are all forms of emotional aggression.

After years of research trying to resolve the never ending conflict that Steve and I once lived through, I was finally directed to information which helped me understand that his lack of empathy was a symptom of our Narcissistic / Codependent Marriage . . .”

Emotional passive aggression can also take many forms. These can include numerous forms of emotional manipulation, such as working to make someone feel an emotional debt towards you or being dismissive of your feelings or saying you are wrong to feel the way you do. A person who is emotionally passive aggressive may expect you to drop everything to ‘cheer them up’ every time they are depressed. angry, sad or upset.

Like all forms of aggression, emotional aggression can be destructive to a person’s health and vitality and may damage their confidence, relationships and mental health.

Why do People Inflict Emotional Abuse on People they Love?

Emotions are powerful and if you don’t know what they are signalling they can be hard to manage and understand.

If person was expected to ‘emotionally caretake’ their parents growing up, once they have a family of their own it may feel natural to expect that their spouse and children should now ‘emotionally caretake’ them.

Natural as it may feel, trying to make someone else feel responsible for your negative moods and emotions is a form of emotional passive aggression.

Emotional abuse may also be inflicted by the type of person who feels vulnerable and unable to deal with life or another type that may be puffing themselves up with false pride to hide their shame and fear of abandonment.

What Can an Emotional Aggressor Feel Threatened By?

An emotionally aggressive person may see their marriage partner as a kind of parent figure and feel vulnerable or threatened if they show any sign of neediness or weakness. Signs of strength in their partner on the other hand may cause them to fear they might be abandoned.

Simply put this person may want their partner strong enough to care and provide for them, while also being too weak to ‘run away’.

This can result in a cycle of knocking their marriage partner down – only to pick them back up and insist they stay on their feet.

Partly because of this, partners in emotionally aggressive relationships often become chronically ill from the stress.

What if I am Guilty of Emotional Aggression?

You cannot increase your general intelligence – but happily you can increase
your emotional intelligence. Working on this and other personal development skills will help you feel more secure as a person which will certainly help . . .

What Can I Do if I am the Victim of Emotional Aggression?

Just because you can’t directly control a person’s behaviour doesn’t mean you are powerless. In fact by shifting your own behaviour patterns and learning to set strong boundaries you can massively influence both sides of your relationship.

Learn How I Ended the Emotional Abuse . . .

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