Emotional abuse is insidious; it creeps into a relationship with no fanfare, no announcement and seldom any realisation. It is hard to identify and even harder to point out. It is accompanied by such incredible charm that its existence is hard to articulate.

The emotionally abusive partner seems to love and cherish and care.

The emotionally abusive partner is the perfect partner in public.

The emotionally abusive partner seldom insists of shouts; rather suggestions are made in such a way as to make not adhering to them impossible.

The emotionally abusive partner makes suggestions which are ‘for your own good’.

It is so hard to tell your friends that the gifts the emotionally abusive partner buys are chains and shackles. It is impossible to explain that you are not allowed to wear hats when the reason the emotionally abusive partner gives is that you have such beautiful hair.

It is so hard to even realise that the cage you are in may be gilded, but is still a cage; that gold held up to the light reflects painfully in your eyes; that huge diamonds weigh you down and expensive clothing twists and traps you.

Insults coated in sugar hurt and tear and reduce.

Insults hurled with violence are easier to recognise and dodge.

People sympathise with black eyes and torn lips but not with being told to wear longer skirts. People acknowledge the damage of broken lips and cracked teeth but not of being told you are worthless. When ribs are cracked they can repair themselves. When self esteem is cracked the crack grows into a fissure and a crevice and finally splits you in two.

Emotional abuse kills from inside.

And no one sees