10 Signs of Emotional Abuse, and How to Overcome It
What is emotional abuse?
If you think you might be in an emotionally abusive relationship, chances are you’ve seen signs – or possibly a pattern – of verbal offense, threatening, bullying, and/or constant criticism. Emotional abuse signs can also include more subtle tactics such as intimidation, shaming, and manipulation. The end goal of the abuser is ultimately to control the other person, often stemming from insecurities instilled since childhood and that they have yet to deal with. Sometimes, it is a result of the person having been abused themselves.
The first step is to recognize the signs of emotional abuse. Does your partner exhibit any of the descriptions listed below? While it’s common to think of a man as the abuser, women and men abuse each other at equal rates.1 Emotional abuse does not always lead to physical abuse, but it does almost always precede and accompany physical abuse, so if you notice the following ten emotional abuse signs in your relationship, it may be time to confront your partner or consider seeing a counselor:
1. Your opinion does not matter.
Your partner regularly disregards your opinions and needs. You feel like you cannot say anything without it being immediately shut down or without being made fun of. In addition, your partner regularly points out your flaws, mistakes, and shortcomings.
2. You require permission to do anything.
You feel as if you cannot make any decisions or go out anywhere without prior permission first. If you do anything without asking, you feel you need to hide it or risk angering your partner.
3. You are always wrong.
No matter what you say or do, your partner always tries to make you feel as though they are right and you are wrong. No facts or details will sway them to believe otherwise.
4. You must respect them, or else.
Any sign of disrespect, even if completely unintentional or mistaken, sets them off. You have to think twice about everything you might say or do to make sure they won’t take it the wrong way.
5. You are not an individual.
Instead of thinking of you as an independent individual person, they view you as an extension of themselves. You feel as if you cannot do anything for yourself without your partner guilt-tripping you.
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6. You have no control over the finances.
Your partner either does not let you have any control over how you spend money or they heavily criticize every purchase you make, regardless of which one of you is the one actually making the money.
7. You cannot get close to them emotionally.
Your partner keeps their thoughts buried inside and avoids talking about anything that isn’t purely transactional, e.g. the kids, finances, or management of the house. When they lash out at you, it tends to be for reasons beyond what was actually being discussed.
8. They blame others.
Going along with never being wrong, your partner may also make excuses for their behavior. They blame others even when they are the one to blame, and they have difficulty apologizing for any wrongdoing.
9. They share personal information about you.
You cannot confide in your partner because they will tell others what you said, often combining it with the abovementioned ridicule. You feel as if you cannot trust your partner at all.
10. They play the victim.
Often combined with blaming others, they will also play the victim in order to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. They try to deflect any blame to you or manipulate you into feeling sorry for them instead of upset.
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