Regarding emotional abuse
The Emotional Abuser gives you attention: they make you feel flattered, loved and important. You start to believe that they genuinely care about you. They might even think that they do by themselves since they internally justify all their doings. Normally this kind of attachment would lead to a healthy bonding and a closer relationship. With the Emotional Abuser it leads to some levels of addiction and dependency on the victim’s part which is never their fault. Emotional Abusers’ behaviour exploits normal emotional bonding to another human being.
In some point in the relationship you notice that it’s all about their needs. The Abuser might do something that hurts your feelings and bringing it up leads them to reason why it’s actually your fault and why you have to take responsibility for it. They make up convincing excuses why it’s not their job to do it, why it’s absolutely unreasonable of you to ask for it and so on. In other words: they Guilt-trip you. The Emotional Abuser believes they have no responsibility for their behaviour or feelings. If they feel uncomfortable by something in the relationship they will manipulate you to take the blame instead of trying to work things out. Guilt-tripping makes the victim submit and erodes their sense of emotional and physical boundaries since they are made to believe it’s their job to cater on Abuser’s needs.
3. Cognitive dissonance
After the idealization pace the Emotional Abuser will move to a devaluing pace. Catering to their needs is not enough anymore and you feel you can’t do anything right no matter what you do. The pace starts when the Abuser feels you are getting emotionally too close and/or you are trying to hold them accountable for something they have done. Emotional Abusers are afraid of responsibility and intimacy so they will try to push you away. They use manipulation: Gaslighting and Guilt-tripping to force you into silence and to take all the responsibility for the relationship. They give you Silent Treatment which is justified by some clever excuses. Emotional Abusers believe they are entitled to absolute emotional comfort even when it means abusing other people.
Because you remember how well they used to treat you, your mind has a hard time accepting they are not the person you thought they were. In fact you might start to make excuses for them in your head because they have manipulated you to think nothing is their fault. It is extremely difficult to get away from the Abuser’s emotional trap because they take advantage of the victim’s emotional bonding to them and give false hope that the relationship could be “fixed”. You are misled into thinking that if you just learn not to be so “needy” and “selfish”, the Abuser will reward you with the loving behaviour they demonstrated in the beginning.
The Emotional Abuser has no intention to take responsibility for what their abusive behaviour has caused to you because they have normalized and justified it in their head. Not all of the Abusers are so sure of themselves but need a lot of internal convincing and validation from others so that they can feel good about themselves which is their goal: not having to deal with responsibility or emotional labour. After all Emotional Abusers are not Disney villains but people who are so selfish that they lack of motivation to learn how to not hurt people.
There are two ways how the trap can break: the victim quits all contact with the Abuser or the Abuser leaves the victim. The latter one occurs if the Emotional Abuser feels they have to deal with too much because of the victim. The Abuser might feel threatened by the victim if the victim is making the Abuser feel bad about themself by calling out their abusive behaviour. The Emotional Abuser thinks that they are actually the victim in the relationship because the real Victim is making them feel bad and scared. The Abuser is genuinely afraid that they would have to deal with negative emotions that taking responsibility would require.
In the end the Emotional Abuser ends the relationship with some dramatic note in which they project all their feelings into the victim: you are the abuser, you have harmed them, you have threatened them. This is their way of securing their own emotional well-being as they refuse to acknowledge the reality. Just remember that it was NOT your fault and you are not responsible for their horrible behaviour. Abusive relationships are based on a power imbalance and therefore there is no such a thing as “mutually abusive”. You are nothing like your abuser.