The stuff in this article by Natalie P. sounds very familiar from various emotional abusers, including my ex Phil.  It also shows me that even Richard was a direct emotional abuser of me, not just an abuser of me by proxy for his abusive and controlling wife.

Some parts I especially noted as familiar for my most recent experience of emotional abuse:

Emotional abusers often display different personalities to other people in their lives – watch for a completely changed demeanor, behavior, body language and even tone of voice, when they are at work, or with a circle of friends.

The abuser may claim that this is just different “facets” of his personality, but in fact, it is a warning sign that he puts on different personas to suit the situation, and you will never know which one is the REAL person. It belies huge insecurities – the way children try to act like the crowd they are with in order to be accepted – and is an indication of the emotional immaturity of the typical abuser.

Emotional abusers, like physical abusers, can be exceedingly charming -that’s why it’s so hard for the victim of abuse – their friends only see the charming side, and don’t see the discourtesy, lies, meanness, condescension and rudeness that happens inside the relationship.

Because abuse is about power and control, the abuser will often try to become “buddies” or friends with his partner’s closest friends.

…Like physical abusers, emotional abusers will often stalk their former partners. The stalker’s objective is often to control her through cultivating fear rather than making direct or specific threats, or confronting her.

Sometimes this stalking can take the form of simply moving into the same neighborhood as a former partner, and letting her know, through friends, where he is living.

His move into her neighborhood will be “justified” by him for some specious reason, but the reality is, he can’t let go and is still trying to control her and inflict pain on her after the relationship is over.

This is a subtle form of terrorism, because abuse victims are often very emotionally (if not physically) afraid of their abusers once they wake up. She will know that she might run into him at the local convenience store, gas station, supermarket, or on a walk.

He is, in effect, pissing on her boundaries (something abusers have no respect for) and trying to make them his own. He may even begin dating someone who lives very close to her, so that he has an excuse to go by her house, or park his car nearby.

Ex-partners of abusers will often express fear of their abuser, and will have no desire to be anywhere near the abuser.

On the other hand, the abuser may try to appear as if he is calm, rational, and still supportive of his ex-partner, despite the fact that he will also express the opinion that he believes she is quite unstable.

He will make statements such as saying that he “bears her no ill-will”, etc., but then will show no respect for her boundaries or her requests for him to stay away from her.

The abuser will still inquire with friends as to how she is doing, implying that his inquiry is because he cares about her – he does care – about retaining those last vestiges of control, even after the breakup.

What he really wants to know is if she is suffering or doing badly, because that feeds his sick ego. He feels best when he puts other people in as much pain as he is in.

…If you are a victim of emotional abuse, you have to wake up to the fact that this person *does not love you* and probably hasn’t loved you for a very long time, if ever.

Because the truth of the matter is, someone who can be emotionally cruel, malicious, and compassionless with people who have given him their love and their trust, is so absorbed in self-hate that he is incapable of loving himself, much less anyone else.

What the abuser feels is obsession, not love.

…It is NOT wrong, or unhealthy to want someone to love and care about you and care for you, and to want to reciprocate. It is only through this kind of openness that we can achieve true intimacy with another individual. And two emotionally healthy people, CAN do this without becoming co-dependent.

Unfortunately, abusers violate the trust that this kind of relationship requires, and are incapable of true intimacy. They want you to be dependent.

People who ARE capable of genuinely loving you in a healthy and safe way, DON’T WANT TO HURT YOU, and do not DELIBERATELY DO THINGS TO HURT YOU. They don’t play on your insecurities and they don’t wage psychological warfare on you. They don’t blame YOU for all the relationship problems, and they don’t fabricate problems just so you can be the scapegoat.

This fits all my emotional abusers.