Am I Abusive? : 15 sign to know If You Are an Abusive Spouse
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You might think that the way you talk to or treat your partner is normal. However, you will be surprised to hear that some of your behaviors and acts can be abusive.
When people ask, “Am I abusive?” they are about to come to the point of self-realization of their actions, especially when their partners begin to complain.
Sadly, people who grew up in dysfunctional households full of negativity, abuse, and the like, may not understand what it means to be abusive or even to be abused.
In her research study titled: The Long-Term Impact of Emotional Abuse in Childhood, Margaret O’ Dougherty Wright makes an in-depth study into emotional abuse and how it affects individuals as they grow up.
In this article, we will be looking at signs of an abusive spouse. Moreso, we will answer common questions like “Am I emotionally abusive?”, “Am I an abusive partner?” “Am I verbally abusive?” to help people figure out how to make things right in their relationship.
What is abuse in a relationship?
Abuse in the relationship is a situation where one partner exerts control or force over the other. It can be physical, emotional, verbal, financial, and so forth. There are many aspects when it comes to an abusive relationship. Know about it here:
What Is Abuse? Understanding What It Is And How To Help
How to know if you are an abusive spouse
It is important to note that it doesn’t boil down to the physical version when it comes to abuse, which many people know. What is considered abusive behavior? Abuse can occur verbally, psychologically, and mentally. Whatever the type of abuse that is experienced in a relationship, it tends to destroy it.
The reason is that abuse reduces trust in a relationship, weakening the existing bond and connection between both partners. Therefore, if you notice things are no longer the same between you and your partner, it won’t be bad to find out if abuse exists in your relationship.
Related Reading: Signs of an Abusive Wife and How to Deal with It
5 signs of an emotionally abusive man
Emotional abuse exists when one partner uses emotions to shame, criticize, embarrass and manipulate the other party. When there is an eternal pattern of abusive behaviors and words, emotional abuse exists in a relationship.
So, what are the behavior partners complain about that shows you are an abusive spouse? Barrie Davenport dives deep into the signs that help you recognize the signs of emotional abuse in her book. This will help partners recognize the patterns of control and manipulation in their relationship.
Do abusers know they are abusive? Here are five signs that could reflect abusive tendencies in a man:
If your partner begins to complain that you are too involved in their private life, you might be emotionally abusive. Understandably, partners have the desire to be involved in each other’s affairs.
However, if you find it satisfying to control every little aspect of your partner’s life without giving them the freedom to make their decisions, they may be emotionally abused.
Partners howl or yell at each other when they have an emotional outburst. However, when disagreements and fallouts usually escalate into howling or yelling at each other, it is not healthy, and emotional abuse might be at play.
If you howl at your partner, it would be difficult to make a conversation productive. In addition, a power imbalance is created where the loudest individual is heard. This can make your spouse cower in fear and be reluctant to speak because they don’t want to offend you.
If you feel disdain for your partner, it will be challenging for you to express your feelings appropriately. One of the signs of a healthy relationship is when both partners are respectful even when they disagree with your claims.
However, if you discover that you always respond to your partner’s needs with disgust and disrespect, you might be creating an atmosphere of emotional abuse in your relationship.
4. Always defensive
If you have asked yourself, “Am I emotionally abusive to my girlfriend?”, being defensive is one of the signs to look out for. When you always feel the need to defend yourself, it would be difficult to achieve positive communication with your spouse.
You and your partner must be able to discuss honestly and openly when resolving issues without being defensive.
One of the reasons why people ask if “I am the abuser or the abused?” is because they don’t know the signs to watch out for. If you constantly find yourself issuing one threat or another to your partner, there is a chance you are emotionally abusive.
Usually, these threats come in coercive or forceful statements accompanied by blackmail and other trepidatory remarks. The intent is to corner the victim and prevent them from rescuing themselves.
Watch this video to learn more about the signs of an abusive spouse:
Related Reading: Reasons of Spousal Abuse In A Marriage
5 signs of an emotionally abusive woman
Have you asked yourself, am I emotionally abusive to my boyfriend or husband? Here are some signs to help you find out if you have been emotionally abusive or not.
1. Playing the blame game
One of the highlights of emotional abuse is making the victims believe that they are responsible for their faults and unhappiness.
This is why it is difficult to break the cycle of emotional abuse when it is in play. If you put on this behavior at various intervals, you may be emotionally abusing your partner.
Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that makes the victim doubt their sanity and judgment.
If you often make your spouse feel that their feelings and memories are crazy and false when they are not, you might be gaslighting them.
Stonewalling happens when you refuse to discuss or communicate with your partner. If you always need to disrupt uncomfortable conversations, you might be making your partner uncomfortable in the process.
This refusal to always continue discussions might come from a place of lack of concern for your feelings.
Emotional abuse can affect all aspects of our lives. It affects our relationships with friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and a host of others. Usually, abusers find a way to convince their partners that no one is concerned about their welfare.
This notion makes the victims refrain from their friends and loved ones and keep to themselves.
5. Explosive attitude
Everyone is bound to experience mood swings, but a relationship can be affected if it experiences this every time. An explosive attitude becomes a problem when your partner takes the fall for your mood swings.
The typical attitude of explosive individuals is to shower their victimized partner with love and affection after an outburst, and they repeat the cycle.
Related Reading: How to Recognize and Deal with an Abusive Partner
15 questions to ask yourself to be sure if you are abusive
The questions below are for you to have a good answer to the question: “Am I abusive?” If you answer yes to most of these questions, there is a possibility that you are an emotionally abusive partner.
- Do you have an abusive temper that your partner frequently complains about?
- Is your partner always afraid to be in your presence?
- Is your partner always extra-careful about their activities, speech, and the like?
- Have you ever threatened to hurt your partner physically?
- Do you regularly abuse your partner verbally?
- Are you unpredictable?
- Does it look like your partner is tired of the relationship?
- Does your partner complain of you being too controlling or obsessive?
- Does your partner have low self-esteem, possibly due to your actions?
- Do you insult or mimic your partner?
- Are you possessive of your partner?
- Are you always embarrassed about your partner’s behavior that you don’t like being with them in public?
- Do you feel helpless sometimes?
- Has your partner threatened to leave you if you continue your behavior?
- Do you play a pivotal role in choosing who your partner moves with?
In Catherine Busby’s book titled: Abusive and Controlling Relationships, she mentions some questions that help partners figure out if abusive and obsessive control exists in their relationship.
Also Try: Are You In An Abusive Relationship?
Behavior partners complain about that shows you are an abusive spouse
How to know if you are an abusive partner? When you are abusive in a relationship, your partner may say or react in ways that reflect it. To understand how to stop being an abusive partner, here are some common abusive behaviors to understand that victims complain of from their partners.
- Character defamation/assassination
- Public embarrassment
- Insults concerning your appearance
- Discouraging your interests
- Financial supervision
- Controlling your movements
- Treats you like a child
Related Reading: Best Ways to Protect Yourself From an Abusive Partner
3 ways to dealing with emotional abuse through self-compassion
If you fear you have been abusive to a partner, what can you do? How to stop being an abuser? One of the profound ways to help yourself is through self-compassion.
Self-compassion, in this sense, means being kind to yourself and channeling your emotions the right way to prevent using them as an abusive tool on your partner.
Here are three ways to deal with emotional abuse through self-compassion.
1. Practice forgiveness
You need to stop punishing yourself for past mistakes. It is essential to accept your flaws because they are part of what makes you human. The act of practicing forgiveness on yourself is the first step to having a good understanding of self-worth, which helps you treat your partner right.
2. Talk to someone
If you have been combatting some unresolved long-term issues, you need to speak to someone experienced, preferably a mental health professional. You will be surprised to see an improvement in your emotional and mental health which instills self-compassion.
3. Practice mindfulness
Another way to hone self-compassion is to hone mindfulness. You need to make conscious efforts to be aware of each moment and what is happening. This will help you control your acts, thoughts, and emotions displayed towards your partner.
Related Reading: Strategies to Deal With Emotional Abuse in a Relationship
To the regular person asking, “Am I abusive?” or “Am I an abuser? The points above help you answer questions that relate to emotional abuse. Hence, if you have asked yourself, “Why am I abusive?” or “Am I in an abusive relationship?” you will be able to tell at this point.
It is essential to mention that you take deliberate steps to treat emotional abuse before it takes a big negative toll on your relationship.
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