- 11 Subtle Signs You Might Be In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship
- 9 Warning Signs You’re In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship
- How To Attract A Healthy Relationship With The Law Of Attraction
- 1. You Are Always Blamed
- 2. You Feel Undeserving And Inferior
- 3. You Are Infantilized
- 4. Your Partner Makes Jokes At Your Expense
- 5. You Hear Constant Accusations
- 6. Your Partner Seems To Have More Than One Personality
- 7. You Are Regularly Emotionally Blackmailed
- 8. It’s Impossible To Please This Person
- 9. You Are Becoming Isolated
- What Now?
- Self Hypnosis For Leaving An Emotionally Abusive Relationship
- 9 Signs You Are In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship
- Here Are the Signs You’re in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship
- 1. You feel bad about yourself
- 2. Your partner calls you names or intentionally says hurtful things
- 3. Your partner frequently lies
- 4. Your partner has all the control in the relationship
- 5. Your partner screams at you
- 6. You’re constantly criticized
- 7. Your partner minimizes the abusive behavior
- 8. Your partner is manipulative
- 9. You constantly blame yourself
- Next steps
- When to leave
- 9 subtle signs of emotional abuse you could be missing
- How To Spot The 9 Signs Of An Emotionally Abusive Relationship
- 1. Your S.O. is coming on really strong.
- 2. Your partner is standing in the way of other relationships.
- 3. You blame yourself.
- 4. They make you feel crap.
- 5. Your S.O. isgaslightingyou.
- 6. Your partner is allowed into your phone.
- 8. You’re also being physically abused.
- 9. You feel love just sucks.
- Okay, so how do you deal with an emotionally abusive relationship?
11 Subtle Signs You Might Be In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship
Physical abuse is easy to recognize, but emotional abuse in a relationship can be more insidious, often going undetected by family members, friends and even victims themselves.
“Un physical or sexual abuse, there is a subtlety to emotional abuse,” Lisa Ferentz, a licensed clinical social worker and educator specializing in trauma, told HuffPost. “It’s a lot more confusing to victims, as it typically is couched in behaviors that can initially be perceived as ‘caring.’”
At the start of a relationship, the abuser may appear to be attentive and kind. Ferentz said that this period of good behavior is part of the perpetrator’s “grooming process.”
“In doing so, they win over the trust and confidence of their victims, which then makes the victims vulnerable to subsequent abuse,” she explained.
“Un physical or sexual abuse, there is a subtlety to emotional abuse. It’s a lot more confusing to victims as it typically is couched in behaviors that can initially be perceived as 'caring.'”
– Lisa Ferentz, a social worker and educator specializing in trauma
Emotional abuse, which is used to gain power and control in a relationship, may take a number of forms, including but not limited to: insulting, criticizing, threatening, gaslighting, ridiculing, shaming, intimidating, swearing, name-calling, stonewalling, lying, belittling and ignoring.
The scars of emotional abuse may not be visible to the eye, but the effect it has on the victim can be traumatic. Those who have been emotionally abused may later experience anxiety, depression, chronic pain, PTSD and substance abuse issues.
In an effort to understand emotional abuse, we asked six experts to share some of the subtle warning signs that could indicate you’re caught in this type of toxic relationship.
“You’re second-guessing and self-editing, which means you’ve internalized the subtly abusive behavior so that your partner doesn’t have to do it overtly.” ― Steven Stosny, psychologist and author of Love Without Hurt
“Your partner declares reality for you, denying or distorting how things really are, in order to shore up a perception that supports how they see things. Common ways that this can show up is being told, ‘You’re not remembering correctly,’ ‘I never said that’ or ‘I never did that.
’ They might infer that you’re not making sense or you’re faulty in the way you’re looking at things when you’re not. Because these responses can instill self-doubt over time, you’re more ly to go along with your partner’s distortions.
In time, self-doubt creates a loss of trust in your perception and judgment, making you all the more vulnerable to a partner who wants to control you.” ― Carol A. Lambert, psychotherapist and author of Women with Controlling Partners
“What can seem genuine concern is often a way for an emotionally abusive person to be in total control when they are constantly keeping tabs on another person’s schedule. Texting a few times a day to ‘check in’ can turn into relentless harassment.
Wanting an ongoing account of another person’s whereabouts, in addition to [a person] limiting where their partner goes or who they spend time with, are powerful examples of emotional abuse.
” ― Lisa Ferentz, author of Treating Self-Destructive Behaviors in Trauma Survivors: A Clinician’s Guide
“Then when you complain, they claim they were only joking and you’re too sensitive.There is truth to the saying that behind every mean or sarcastic remark is a grain of truth.” ― Sharie Stines, therapist and relationship coach who specializes in recovery from abuse
“Emotionally abused people often come to believe that they are stupid, inconsiderate or selfish because they have been accused of these things so often by their partner.” ― Beverly Engel, psychotherapist and author of The Emotionally Abusive Relationship
“Your partner is loving one moment and distant and unavailable the next. No matter how hard you try to figure out why, you can’t. They deny being withdrawn, and you start panicking, trying hard to get back into their good graces.
Absent an explanation for why they’re turned off, you start blaming yourself. Done often enough, this can turn a relatively independent person into an anxious pleaser — which is where your partner wants you.
” ― Peg Streep, author of Daughter Detox: Recovering from An Unloving Mother and Reclaiming Your Life
“Put-downs and degrading comments, which can be less obvious at the beginning, are not random attacks. Rather, they are intended to specifically target your strengths that seriously threaten your partner, who’s looking to have power and control in the relationship.
The ways your partner reacts to your accomplishments or positive feelings about something can be telling.
Does he show little interest or ignore you? Does he find something about what you’re saying to belittle? Does he change the topic to one that’s shaming in some way to you or criticize you about what you’re not doing? Over time, confronted with hurtful responses, your sense of confidence and trust in your own competence can slowly diminish.” ― Lambert
“Or makes those things contingent upon cooperating with them. Any relationship that has ‘strings attached’ is inherently problematic.
The process of withholding affection or emotional or financial support is not always understood as abusive. Most people equate abusive behavior with the infliction of harm.
In this case, it’s the withholding or absence of what a person deserves to experience in a relationship that makes it abusive.” ― Ferentz
“This is especially true for women, who generally need to feel trusting and intimate with their partner in order to become physically and emotionally aroused. If a woman feels hurt, afraid or angry with her partner, she will not feel safe and open around him, and her body will respond accordingly.” ― Engel
“Emotional abusers are master manipulators, and they are able to screw you over while at the same time making you feel that it’s either your fault, or at the very least, something they couldn’t help because of their childhood or a past relationship, how hurt they are over something you said or did or even nothing at all ― you just feel sorry for them. Victims of emotional abuse often overlook their abusers’ behavior because they are overly relating with the ‘hurt’ part of the abuser — the innocent part, or the side of the abuser that seems lost, rejected, abandoned.” ― Stines
“While overt control — insisting they get their own way, asserting veto power over plans, making constant demands without discussion — is easy to spot, what Dr. Craig Malkin calls ‘stealth control,’ a behavior he identifies with narcissists, is much more insidious.
Stealth control includes changing up plans you’ve already made — eating at a French bistro, going to see friends — or revising joint decisions under the guise of ‘surprising’ you with something better than the original. Of course, surprise isn’t the motive; controlling you is, without ever making a demand.
Alas, you’re so flattered by his caring that you utterly miss the point. In time, it becomes a pattern and your own wants and needs will fall by the wayside.” ― Streep
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-866-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 22522 for the National Dating Abuse Helpline.
9 Warning Signs You’re In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship
While defining physical abuse is fairly straightforward, fewer people are sure what constitutes an emotionally abusive relationship. As such, you might find yourself feeling deeply unhappy and unsettled. You might, however, delay leaving or getting help because you never quite know whether your partner is wronging you on some level.
Look out for the ten warning signs below that you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship. Consider the advice at the end of the article if you want help fighting such a toxic dynamic.
How To Attract A Healthy Relationship With The Law Of Attraction
The Law Of Attraction, when used correctly, can work wonders for attracting love.
Check out the 6 physical steps to manifesting love here.
But the main basics to remember are:
- You need to know exactly what you want from a relationship.
- Keep up a positive approach even if you had been disappointed before.
If you are struggling with the second advice because you had too many negative experiences in the past, you might have created some limiting beliefs for yourself. They are now standing in the way of you finding your soulmate. But don’t worry, there is a way to get past them.
I can’t promise that it will be easy, and it might take some time, but you need to know that you shouldn’t give up. There is a great online program, called ‘Origins‘. It was created specifically for shuttering negative beliefs and limitations. Read more about it here.
It also includes a few bonuses specifically for making space in your heart for someone new and becoming more “in tune” with the opposite sex! So if this is your goal, ‘Origins’ is definitely something worth looking into.
1. You Are Always Blamed
Emotionally abusive people typically refuse to take ownership of their mistakes, negative feelings or difficult behaviors. They, instead, choosing to blame their partners.
For example, you might find yourself being told that you “make” them shout at you; that you “drive them” to excessive drinking; that you “hold them back” from living their dreams.
2. You Feel Undeserving And Inferior
There are hundreds of creative ways for your partner to make you feel inferior. Maybe they will outright state that you’re lucky to have found someone so attractive, smart or successful. Alternatively, they might keep reminding you that you’re slow, clumsy, socially awkward or not good at the things you love.
It’s also emotionally abusive for them to make fun of your dreams or call your goals superficial. In time, you can start to believe these things are really true of you.
3. You Are Infantilized
No matter how your partner treats you a child, it can erode your confidence and take away your power.
Common emotionally abusive actions include controlling every aspect of the finances, telling you what you can get (and when you can get it), and scolding you for spending “too much” when you’re really spending a normal amount.
Some abusers also make their partners ask for permission to do anything social. However, you are an adult and should be treated as an equal.
4. Your Partner Makes Jokes At Your Expense
Abusive people will frequently say horrible things and follow them up with claims that they were “only joking”. This tactic allows them to put you down, belittle you and make you feel dreadful while cloaking their abuse in humor and causing you to doubt your own judgment.
If on reflection, you can tell that most people would find such jokes hurtful, this will provide you with evidence that your partner really is being cruel.
5. You Hear Constant Accusations
No matter how professionally and appropriately you conduct yourself, an abusive partner may accuse you of being unfaithful, flirting with other people, acting “easy” or making yourself look foolish. This type of behavior comes from deep-rooted insecurities and a need to control but it can be incredibly humiliating if you’re on the receiving end.
6. Your Partner Seems To Have More Than One Personality
Emotional abusers are often described as having a “switch” that immediately turns them from loving and happy to cruel or depressed. You might feel the negative personality emerges any time you try to challenge the status quo or want to become independent. Eventually, your partner’s mood can dictate which issues are okay to discuss.
7. You Are Regularly Emotionally Blackmailed
If you dare to challenge an emotional abuser’s attempts to control you, your partner might begin dishing out punishments. Many of these will take the form of more psychological games.
For example, the person may act very wounded and cold, withdrawing from you emotionally until you give in to what they want from you. This can be very manipulating and cause you to feel the person in the wrong.
In a more extreme case, they might threaten to leave you. This can be very scary and upsetting, and so giving in to your partner’s demands can feel a small price to pay in order to keep the relationship together.
8. It’s Impossible To Please This Person
Emotionally abusive relationships can feel confidence-draining nightmares in which nothing you do is ever quite good enough, even if you’re doing your very best to meet the other person’s stringent demands.
An emotionally abusive person will always find a way to make you feel inadequate, whether they’re targeting your personality, your looks, your goals or the way you keep things in the house. The goal is to make you feel you’re lucky anyone puts up with you.
9. You Are Becoming Isolated
Finally, whether consciously or otherwise, emotional abusers are prone to isolating their partners. Have you gradually stopped speaking to old friends, or noticed you’re barely in touch with family?
If the answer is yes, think about how and why this happened. Your partner ly wants to stop you from checking whether other people condone their behavior or agree with their attitudes. There may be a secondary objective to make you more dependent on your abuser so that you are less ly to leave.
If you’ve noticed worrying signs that you might be in an emotionally abusive relationship, it’s important to seek professional help, whether alone, or in couples therapy with your partner. Don’t forget that there are helplines you can call too if you need immediate support or advice.
Emotional abuse can progress to physical abuse and even if it doesn’t, this type of behavior can cause an incredible amount of long-term psychological damage.
While you wait for appropriate help, don’t let this person make you doubt your sanity. For example, go your way to check your perspective against those friends, family, or even strangers.
It’s vital to keep hold of your identity and remember you’re not the one with the problem.
Self Hypnosis For Leaving An Emotionally Abusive Relationship
Are you currently in a toxic relationship but are finding it difficult to leave? This is something that a lot of victims to abusive relationships struggle with.
Click here to discover how self-hypnotherapy could help you to clear your mind and help you to understand why it is important to end an emotionally abusive relationship.
This hypnosis track could help you clearly see what it is best for you and your future.
Browse the collection of self-hypnosis downloads and CDs that have positively impacted thousands of people, changed habits and developed key areas in their lives.
Click here to browse the hypnosis collection now(Instant Download and CD orders available)
9 Signs You Are In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship
69 women have died in Australia this year from domestic violence. These are horrific statistics that have prompted the nation to end violence against women.
However, domestic violence isn’t just physical or just women. Emotional abuse can be just as damaging to any gender.
The aim of emotional abuse is to chip away at a person’s feelings reducing or eliminating their self-esteem and independence. In an emotionally abusive relationship, a person may feel that there is no way the relationship or that without their partner they are worthless.
Though physical violence is often seen as being more serious than emotional abuse, this is not the case. Emotional abuse can affect anyone, male or female, and have serious repercussions.
Emotional abuse can leave a person feeling depressed, anxious and even suicidal.
Emotional abuse can feel equally as destructive as physical abuse and can do irreversible damage to a person’s mental health.
So why do people become emotionally abusive? It is often the case that emotional abusers are insecure in their own lives. They often feel the need to have power and be in control or they are easily jealous. This can come from another aspect in their life being their control.
It is often hard to tell if you are in an emotionally abusive relationship because you have been worn down to believe what your abuser is saying. However, here are nine signs to help you identify emotional abuse in a relationship
1. You are being constantly insulted and put down.
You are being told that you are not good enough. The way you do things is never the right way or done to the right standard. You are worthless. You are told that the things you enjoy are stupid or wrong. You are ignored when you speak or do something
2. They call you names.
Name calling can be an affectionate act, however, sometimes name calling can be harsh and rude. This is emotional abuse.
3. No trust
You are not trusted. You are constantly asked what you are doing or where you are. They go through your private messages, pictures, emails and social media accounts. They check your wallet and receipts to control spending and see where you have been. ‘Find my iPhone’ may be enabled so they can see where you are.
4. You are paranoid that they will cheat on you or that you aren’t good enough.
You have begun believing that you are worthless and guilty of their accusations, that you worry they will find someone better and leave.
5. You annoy them every time you speak.
They are disinterested or irritated when you have something to say or do. You stay silent when you have an argument or a difference of opinion to avoid it getting control.
6. You’re being isolated from friends and family
Your friends have stopped making an effort to invite you to events because you would never attend. You have no friends of your own. You don’t see your family as often as you would . They have said bad things about your friends and family to make you stop seeing them.
7. Jealous of your dreams and goals not just people
They are jealous of your ambition. They don’t want you to do better than them. When something goes well for you, they aren’t happy.
8. When you are apart they become obsessive
If you leave they become obsessive and will do anything to get you back. They can’t stop thinking about you. Their behaviour can lead to stalking, which is an offense and legal action can be taken.
9. They threaten you
They say that if you leave, they will hurt themselves. They say that if you do something wrong, they will cheat on you.
If this sounds you, there are some things you can do:
- Are you in immediate danger?If you are in danger of being hurt, or you are worried about your safety, contact police or emergency services (000) immediately and try to move to somewhere safe.
- Do you have support? Making a decision to leave a situation where you feel unsafe may be hard. If possible, talk to someone you trust, a friend, family member, counsellor or youth worker who understands domestic violence. 1800Respect are a national counselling helpline, who are there for information and support 24/7. Call 1800 737 732.
- Talk to the police:If you feel unsafe or scared or you know of someone who is being abused, talk to the police.
- Trust yourself:If someone is hurting you or threatening to, it is not ok. Make sure you make decisions that are best for you or your children.
- Know your rights:It may be a good idea to check out your legal rights.
&While no amount of money can take away the pain the abuse may have caused you, abuse compensation may be available. Click to find out more.
Here Are the Signs You’re in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship
Watch out for these signs of emotional abuse. | iStock.com/Wavebreakmedia
Some relationships provide fuel and nourishment while others serve only to drain and disempower. Those that are emotionally abusive tend to fall into the second category. However, if you’re being emotionally abused, you may not immediately recognize the signs.
Similar to other types of abuse, emotional abusers tend to inflict harm over time. It can be easy to fall for an emotional abuser because, instead of being abusive right away, they’ll often present their most charming selves, then gradually become more abusive once trust has been built. Psychologist Leanne Donoghue-Tamplin tells The Cheat Sheet this process is referred to as grooming.
The big issue with these relationships is that the perpetrator of the abuse trains or grooms their partner in a strategic and gradually increasing way.
They don’t start the relationship being abusive, or the partner would leave immediately.
In fact, they’re often above average when they’re being great so their partner has trouble accepting that this wonderful person can also be abusive. They’re also very talented at not being caught by outsiders.
The abuse gradually becomes normal over time, and the partner blames themselves for any abuse that occurs. If you suspect you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship, you need strong support to unravel that training so you can begin to see the relationship for what it really is.
Author, happiness coach, and domestic abuse survivor Gayle Katz similarly recognizes the tendency for those in abusive relationships to blame themselves, but she says it’s important to remember the abuse is not your fault.
“The bully in your life actually hates themselves, which is the real reason for the abuse. Once you understand that nothing your partner (abuser) says is true, you take your strength back.
And that’s when you need to get out!” said Katz, founder of the Grounded Girl’s Guide series.
To learn even more about these types of harmful relationships, The Cheat Sheet spoke with some mental health experts. Here are nine signs you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship.
1. You feel bad about yourself
Your self-confidence may be lacking. | iStock.com
A loving, supportive relationship should make you feel good about yourself. Pay attention to how you feel when you’re around your partner. Do you feel unworthy? Do you usually experience feelings of depression or anger? If you feel worse after spending time with your significant other, you might want to rethink things.
Dr. Dan Neuharth, a licensed marriage and family therapist, says your feelings can provide helpful information about the health of your relationship. “One big sign is how you feel around the other person.
Something is ly wrong if you feel anxious, walk on eggshells, are afraid to disagree, or feel tense when you think of getting together or drained after spending time together,” Neuharth told The Cheat Sheet.
“Other red flags are if you go your way to avoid certain topics or settings for fear of upsetting the other person, if you’re criticized more than appreciated or acknowledged, or if you start second-guessing yourself.”
2. Your partner calls you names or intentionally says hurtful things
Your partner should never call you names. | iStock.com
People who use words to wound may resort to outright verbal attacks. However, these hurtful statements might be said in a joking way so that you don’t catch on to what’s really happening.
This gives the abuser a way to continue the abuse since you may start to wonder if what is occurring is really so bad. Someone who loves you will not call you names or say intentionally hurtful things. He or she will make an effort to approach you with care and respect.
Even if you think your partner may have been joking, using humor to deliver a disparaging comment can still cause emotional pain.
Neuharth says his work in the mental health field has further convinced him of the power of words. “In my 25 years of counseling, I have heard from many survivors of physical abuse that it was often their abuser’s words that hurt even more than the blows,” Neuharth said.
3. Your partner frequently lies
Your partner shouldn’t be lying to you. | iStock.com
Lying becomes second nature to emotional abusers. Their main concern is getting their way and staying in control. Even if the abuser is caught in a lie, he or she will find a way to either blame their victim or explain it away.
4. Your partner has all the control in the relationship
Your partner shouldn’t be controlling. | iStock.com/AleksandarPetrovic
As the relationship progresses, you will feel you have no say in what goes on (most ly because you don’t). Your opinions are ignored or ridiculed. When it’s time to make a major decision, you’re not included.
5. Your partner screams at you
Screaming is never an appropriate tone. | iStock.com/AntonioGuillem
An emotional abuser may try to assert their authority or instill fear through screaming. This is one of the ways he or she attempts to assume control. Once the relationship gets to this point, you may have become fearful of the abuse escalating, so you might brush it off or focus on calming your partner down.
Barrie Davenport, author of Signs of Emotional Abuse, says many survivors are so overcome by anxiety that they do nothing.
“For many victims, the anxiety associated with standing up to the abuser and calling him or her out on the abuse is overwhelming and debilitating,” Sanders writes in her book.
“The fear of the abuse escalating is enough to make you bury your head in the sand and pretend everything is perfectly fine. But deep down, you know it’s not. Deep down, part of you is dying.”
6. You’re constantly criticized
Facing constant criticism can really hurt you. | iStock.com/AntonioGuillem
Is nothing ever good enough for your significant other? Do you often feel you don’t measure up because of your partner’s harsh criticism? In many cases, those who verbally mistreat others were also mistreated during their formative years.
If they don’t get professional help in a timely manner, they often go on to communicate harshly with intimate partners. Dr. Nicole Prause, a neuroscientist specializing in human sexual behavior, says the way statements are expressed can make a big difference.
While it is acceptable to express anger, for example, it is not OK to be mean about it. Prause told us:
Some anger can be expressed in a healthy way, but expressions of contempt (trying to belittle, hurt, or humiliate with no other function) is a strong predictor of divorce. There is a difference between “I am so tired of you being late all the time!” and “You’re a moron!” Same problem, very different expression.
Expressing negative emotions when arguing is often part of disagreeing, but if the negative emotion fails to convey information, empathy, or work toward a solution, I would be concerned about that person’s ability to discuss inevitable concerns without becoming abusive.
7. Your partner minimizes the abusive behavior
Your partner shouldn’t be making up excuses. | iStock.com/Wavebreakmedia
If you ever get the courage to point out the bad behavior, your partner may offer excuses or minimize the severity of the abuse. If you press for him or her to admit to mistreatment, the conversation will ly be shut down or the conversation topic will change suddenly. Neuharth told us there are several factors that lead people to become emotionally abusive.
Risk factors for someone being emotionally abusive include: people who have difficulty identifying or communicating their feelings and instead discharge or displace difficult feelings onto others; people who have difficulty taking responsibility for their actions or admitting they are wrong and who tend to blame others for their problems; people with personality disorders or mood disorders; people with a manipulative or sociopathic style; untreated victims of abuse; and people with addictions who are not getting help, seeking recovery, or addressing the consequences of their behavior.
8. Your partner is manipulative
Your partner should not be manipulative. | iStock.com
An emotionally abusive partner will manipulate you in an attempt to get his or her way. You’ll be pressured to do things you don’t want to do and the abuser will try to make you feel guilty or get angry at you for resisting. He or she may also do or say things that cause you to question your perception of reality or even your sanity. This is a technique called gaslighting.
9. You constantly blame yourself
You shouldn’t be placing all the blame on yourself. | iStock.com
As emotional abuse continues, it’s not uncommon to start engaging in a pattern of self-blame. You may feel the poor treatment is your fault, that you somehow caused your partner to be mean to you. After demonstrating abusive behavior, your partner might say “you made me do it,” or “you made me angry.” Consequently, victims continue the cycle.
Donoghue-Tamplin says the self-blame is a result of being trained by their abusers to think they are bad or not valuable. Eventually, the behavior becomes normalized. “Victims of abuse are trained to blame themselves, become desensitized to the abuse, and start to care greatly for the perpetrator no matter what he or she does,” Donoghue-Tamplin said.
Here’s what to do next. | iStock.com/pecaphoto77
Once you’re aware you’re being emotionally abused, it’s time to do something. Depending on your situation, it could be something as simple as having a talk with your partner or it might mean leaving the relationship.
If you choose to stay in your relationship and feel that your issues can be worked out with the help of a mental health professional, one of the first things you’ll need to do is set boundaries for how you will be treated.
Relationship expert April Masini advises advocating for yourself and letting your partner know that you will not accept the behavior going forward. “You can set boundaries by saying, ‘I don’t what you just said or did, and if you do it again, I’m going to go home.
’ And then you have to do it,” she said.
When to leave
If the abuse gets physical, you need to leave. | iStock.com/Halfpoint
If the behavior continues despite your best efforts, it’s time to go. If there is also physical abuse, it will be necessary to quickly work on a plan for exiting the relationship.
While emotional abuse is enough of a reason to leave, the addition of physical abuse makes the situation more of an immediate danger to you and possibly your loved ones.
You can start by calling a service such as The National Domestic Violence Hotline. They can help you work on an action plan.
Follow Sheiresa on @SheiresaNgo
[Editor’s Note: This story was originally published January 10, 2017]
9 subtle signs of emotional abuse you could be missing
Due to its nature, emotional abuse is not as easy to spot in relationships as physical abuse.
“Although we typically envision relationship abuse as physical violence, emotional abuse can be just as harmful. The scars aren't visible but can often take longer to heal from,” Amy Pohl, associate director of Violence Free Colorado, told INSIDER. Bullying and manipulation tactics by a partner, friend, or relative can create negativity in your life.
INSIDER spoke with abuse experts and survivors on signs of emotional abuse you may not realize could soon take over your life.
Read more to find out the subtle signs of emotional abuse you can decode before the big red flags appear.
They might try to make you spend all your time with them. sergey causelove/Shutterstock
“People love attention so if someone is giving you a lot of attention, that feels good at first, even if it's through negative behaviors,” Jessica Vanacoro, LMSW and associate executive director at Camp Herrlich, told INSIDER.
Before someone demands you spend all your time with them, that person may first try to win you over with extravagant gestures. These could be in the form of trips with them that take you away from other people, clothes, books, and movies they think you should enjoy, and even classic romantic comedy tropes bouquets of flowers to show that they're romantic.
You question yourself. Freeform
Gaslighting, according to the National Domestic Abuse Hotline, is an “extremely effective form of emotional abuse that causes a victim to question their own feelings, instincts, and sanity, which gives the abusive partner a lot of power.” The prevalence of this tactic happens gradually, so it may start with something as simple as denying a statement you made about the weather before they start denying a statement you made about how you feel.
“One of the first signs you are dealing with an emotional abuser is that you start to think you are going crazy,” says Nicol Stolar-Peterson, LCSW, BCD. “You start second-guessing your decisions and accept the blame for things that are not yours.” If you start to feel unhinged or confused, try and pinpoint if you only feel that way around one person.
The person is probably draining. Kite_rin/Shutterstock
Stolar-Peterson warns that her number one red flag is to notice if you feel drained from being near someone. “When energy is extracted from you and not refilled, you feel depleted.
How we feel when we are with someone and after we leave them tells us a lot about what they bring into our lives. When we are depleted, guilted, shamed, blamed, and made to feel less then, run. Get away, do not hope they will change. They won't.
” If you have a gut feeling that your relationship with someone is abusive, you're probably right.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline or call its hotline at 1-800-799-7233 to receive confidential support from a trained staff member.
Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.
More: Features emotional abuse Freelancer Evergreen story It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
How To Spot The 9 Signs Of An Emotionally Abusive Relationship
Real talk: Emotional abuse can be incredibly hard to spot—even in your own relationship.
“Physical abuse is a clear line that doesn't get crossed, but emotional abuse can get downplayed or minimized both by the abuser and the abusee,” says Lisa Marie Bobby, PhD, founder and clinical director at Growing Self Counseling & Coaching in Denver.
But what qualifies as emotional abuse, exactly? It often manifests as a way for the abusive partner to exert power or control by being demeaning or invalidating, or preventing their partner from doing things they want to do, spending time with friends and family or having a say in household finances, says Bobby. Emotional abuse can also happen under the guise of “teasing,” “joking,” or “telling it it is,” Bobby adds.
At the heart of this type of abuse is coercion, says Bobby. “There’s a fear that if you do something that displeases them, they won’t physically harm you, but there’s an implied threat,” she says.
This could include the abusive partner threatening to kill themselves if their partner leaves, or the abuser telling their partner they'll never survive life without them.
“The real damage of abusive relationships many times comes from these psychological threats,” says Bobby.
If you think you might be in an emotionally abusive relationship, you're not alone: About half of adults in the US will experience “psychological aggression” by a partner in their life, according to The National Domestic Violence Hotline.
These are a few signs that you might be in an emotionally abusive relationship that you need to get :
1. Your S.O. is coming on really strong.
Emotionally abusive relationships often escalate quickly. “They’re madly in love with you and sweep you off your feet. Someone might confess their love or want to move in together within a couple of weeks,” says Bobby. “It comes on a hurricane.”
This often stems from an insecurity the abuser has about relationships in general; in an effort to feel secure, they try to control you by being near you all the time. If everything feels too rushed, and your intuition is picking up that something's not right, listen to it.
After ending a toxic relationship, this woman completely changed her life (and body):
2. Your partner is standing in the way of other relationships.
Eighteen percent of women say a partner has tried to keep them from seeing family and friends, notes the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). Indeed, “abusive relationships are supported by isolation,” Bobby says.
Getting an outside perspective on your relationship can help shed some much-needed light on what’s really happening, which is why the abuser may actively prevent friends and family from having access to you.
At the same time, it can also look completely different—the abuser may portray you as bad or wrong in an effort to have family members turn against you, Bobby adds.
3. You blame yourself.
When your partner berates or disrespects you, you see it as something you brought on. “There’s a belief that abusers instill in their victims that it’s their fault,” says Bobby. “You think: 'If only I were good enough, my partner wouldn’t treat me this way.'”
4. They make you feel crap.
If your partner is constantly putting you down, you're ly in an emotionally abusive relationship.
It’s insidious, since one comment might not be a big deal, but little by little, the harassment crushes your self-esteem. Things you say or do are labeled “stupid.
” You’re called “fat” or “ugly” or “worthless.” The more you hear that, the more you start to believe it's true (it's not).
5. Your S.O. is gaslighting you.
Gaslighting is all about making you doubt your own perspective or sanity. For example, when you confront your partner about them isolating you from friends and family, they might try to make you believe it's your fault that your friends don't want to see you more often. Suddenly, the truth seems fuzzy.
In an emotionally abusive relationship, your partner may deny that any abuse even happened or shift the blame to you, according to The National Domestic Violence Hotline’s “Power and Control Wheel.”
6. Your partner is allowed into your phone.
That doesn't mean the occasional “Hey, can you send a text while I'm driving” or “Find this song to play”—that's pretty innocent.
But if they have all of your passwords, check on you frequently, read your text messages, force you to put on location services so they can track your every move, that's “digital abuse,” which falls under the realm of emotional abuse, notes the Office on Women’s Health.
Your partner is also ly being digitally abusive if they're furious if you take too long to respond to their text, or they demand you send them explicit pics and/or send you unwanted explicit pics.
7. They’re controlling the finances.
Also on that Power and Control Wheel: financial abuse. An emotionally abusive partner might try to stand in the way of your job, control all of the money (giving you an allowance fits here, too), or keeping you totally in the dark about household finances. If you don't have financial independence, you're more dependent on them, which is exactly what an abuser wants.
8. You’re also being physically abused.
There isn’t always a clear divide between an emotionally abusive relationship and physical assault. In fact, 95 percent of men who physically abuse their partners also psychologically abuse them, says the NCADV. Your partner may also threaten to hurt you, loved ones, or your pets, points out the Office on Women’s Health.
9. You feel love just sucks.
“Love shouldn’t hurt. If you feel worse about yourself in the relationship, something is wrong,” says Bobby. “It’s time to talk to someone and get the support that empowers you.”
Okay, so how do you deal with an emotionally abusive relationship?
If you're wondering whether you should leave an emotionally abusive relationship, just know: “It gets worse. It does not get better,” says Bobby. “This is an unhealthy relationship. It might literally end your life.” In fact, according to DomesticShelters.
org, a non-profit online and mobile directory of domestic violence programs and shelters in the U.S.
and Canada,”experts have found that emotional abuse is often a precursor to physical abuse, and that verbal abuse early in a relationship predicts physical abuse later on, usually after partners marry.”
Reach out to The National Domestic Violence Hotline, an online resource that will digitally connect you with a domestic violence counselor 24/7, Bobby says. You can also call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Advocates will help you plan a safe way out, provide support after you leave, help you find a safe haven for a pet, and give info on legal action.