Emotional abuse can be difficult to understand and even more difficult to resolve. Unlike physical abuse, the marks are left on the inside, and they can be huge, gaping wounds that can be extremely complex to heal. As one Psychology Today article puts it, emotional abuse begin with one person in the relationship saying, “I’m hurt, and it’s YOUR fault” to the other. Abuse stems easily from there, when one partner is unwilling to be accountable for their own feelings, and instead tries to blame the other for how they feel.
Are you worried you might be that “other”? Here are 20 warning signs of an emotionally abusive relationship that you want to watch out for:
1. They make unfair accusations that aren’t true, so you’re forced to “prove” your love.
2. They control the finances and dole out the money you’re allowed to spend.
3. They subtly threaten you, but disguise the threats as “help” for you.
4. They are always right, and you are always wrong.
5. They make you feel like you should feel lucky to be in the relationship, and like you’re not good enough for them.
6. They shut you away: they make you feel like wanting to see your friends or family is wrong.
7. They aren’t able to laugh at themselves and are extremely sensitive of being laughed at or made fun of by others.
8. They blame you for everything: their problems, their mood, their unhappiness.
9. They don’t think you know what’s best for you.
10. They share private moments and secrets you’d rather be kept between the two of you with others, without consulting you.
11. They tear down your dreams and belittle your accomplishments.
12. They withhold sex and affection as a type of punishment.
13. Sometimes you are fearful of being alone with them.
14. They do not value your feelings -but you had better value theirs!- and tell you that you’re oversensitive or, just outright wrong.
15. They feel the need to remind you of your shortcomings and failures.
16. They want to be in control of everything.
17. They tell mean, demeaning and inappropriate jokes.
18. They criticize your actions, making you feel like you can’t do anything right.
19. They constantly “check up” on you via call or text, and want to know why you’re not with them.
20. They regularly humiliate you in front of other people.
Obviously, this list isn’t comprehensive, but if any of these ring a bell in your relationship, you might want to look into getting some counseling or therapy to learn how to deal with this or, to figure out if you’re really in a relationship worth staying in. Personally, if someone regularly humiliated me in front of other people, I’d say a quick “buh-bye” to that person and move on with my life. Life is too short to feel lousy about myself all the time, especially if someone else is doing it to me.