Emotional abuse can be more insidious and elusive than physical abuse.
That is why it is hard to detect an emotionally abusive relationship. But it does exist.
And it is just not just men who are the abusers. Research and statistics have shown that men and women abuse each other at equal rates.
This article elaborates on the characteristics of an emotionally abusive relationship and also expresses the signs of emotional abuse in a relationship.
Emotional abuse explained
Emotional abuse involves a regular pattern of threatening, bullying, criticism, and verbal offense. Other tactics used by the bully are intimidation, manipulation, and shaming.
This type of abuse is used to dominate and control the other person.
Quite often, the source of emotional abuse is due to the abuser’s childhood insecurities and wounds. Abusers themselves were sometimes abused. Abusers have not learned how to have positive, healthy relationships.
The victim of the abuse does not see the mistreatment as abusive – at first. They use denial and minimizing as coping mechanisms to deal with the stress of the abuse.
But denying emotional abuse year after year can result in anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. These are only a few symptoms of emotional abuse.
28 Signs of an emotionally abusive relationship
Sometimes people think that ‘abuse’ is not the right term to describe the mistreatment caused by their partners. They think it has more to do with the difficulties or problems that their partner has at the time.
Unfortunately, in some cases, this is just another form of denial.
If you want to learn if you are emotionally abused in your relationship, check for the following signs.
Your partner demeans or disregards your opinions, ideas, suggestions, or needs – on a regular basis.
Your partner blames you of things that you know to be untrue.
Your partner humiliates you, puts you down, or makes fun of you in front of other people.
Your partner uses sarcasm or other methods of teasing to put you down and make you feel bad about yourself.
Your partner treats you like a child and tries to control you.
Your partner tells you that you are too sensitive, in order to put the blame on you for his or her emotional abuse in marriage.
Your partner always tries to chastise or correct your behavior.
Your partner calls you names or gives you unpleasant labels.
Your partner is distant or emotionally unavailable – most of the time.
Your partner regularly points out your flaws or shortcomings.
Your partner uses withdrawal to get attention or get what he or she wants.
Your partner plays the victim with the goal of deflecting blame.
Your partner does not show you any empathy or compassion.
Your partner does not seem to care about or even notice your feelings.
Your partner uses neglect or disengagement to punish you.
Your partner sees you as an extension of him- or herself, instead of seeing you as an individual.
Your partner belittles you and trivializes your accomplishments and dreams.
Your partner withholds sex as a way to control and manipulate you into doing what they want.
Your partner denies emotionally abusive behavior when you talk about it.
Only when you hear that it is not, can you change your mind and see the behavior for what it really is. An outsider can help you detect unreasonable behavior.
You must recognize that your compassion towards your partner won’t help you change him. Also, don’t retaliate as it only allows the abuser to manipulate you and put the blame on you.
Another aspect you must consider is to see a relationship counselor. He or she can help you untangle the situation and help both of you where the abusive behavior might come from.
The counselor can help both of you to move towards a more healthy relationship.
When it comes to leaving an abusive relationship, you can consider the following suggestions:
Do not be scared to let go and know when to end the relationship.
Ensure that you are not under any imminent physical danger.
Make sure you always have your phone with you to prepare for an emergency.
If you feel threatened, find a safe place to go to.
Do not contact your abuser nor respond to their attempts to communicate.
Again, seek professional help to work through the challenges.
No type of abuse is acceptable, physical, emotional, etc., look for the signs of emotional abuse in your relationship and recognize if your relationship is truly salvageable or is it time to leave that relationship.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.