If you are a survivor of emotional abuse, it can be difficult to recognize it. For one thing, your abuser may try to normalize the treatment you receive, and for another, you may not be sure that it counts as abuse if it does not involve physical violence.

According to Medical News Today, emotional abuse can have detrimental effects just as physical abuse can. Therefore, it is equally important to remove yourself from an emotionally abusive situation. Achieving this may take several steps.

Seek professional help

An emotional abuser often tries to isolate you from others to prevent you from seeking help. However, you are not alone. There are support groups, therapists and hotlines involving caring people who understand what you are going through and can help.

Put your own priorities first

An abuser may manipulate you into thinking that you are being selfish if you do not put his or her needs before your own. However, there is a difference between selfishness and self-preservation. You should never have to neglect your own needs to take care of someone else’s.

Create an exit plan

It may not be possible to leave the relationship immediately, but you should have a plan in place so that you can take immediate action when the opportunity presents itself. Ask a trusted friend or family member for help devising your plan.

Set boundaries

Getting the abuse to stop means setting boundaries that prevent the other person from hurting you. Though it may seem drastic, this may involve cutting off all contact with the other person once the relationship is over. Sometimes it may be necessary to get a restraining order to enforce your boundaries.

Emotional abuse is not only damaging on its own, but it can also be a forerunner of physical abuse. This makes it all the more imperative to protect yourself by leaving the relationship.