While defining physical abuse is a no-brainer, fewer of us are able to define an emotionally abusive relationship.
As such, you could find yourself in a deeply unhappy and unsettling situation. However, you might delay exiting such a relationship or getting help because you are never quite sure whether your partner is wronging you on some level.
Look out for the following 7 warning signs you may be in an emotionally abusive relationship.
Consider this if you want to help yourself battle through such a toxic dynamic.
1. Your partner is mean or degrading
Verbal and emotional abuse can include insults – a way to punch down your self-esteem and enforce control. This means he or she will deliberately humiliate you in front of others or call you derogatory names, such as “disgusting,” “stupid,” “worthless,” or “fat.”
2. You feel inferior or undeserving
There is a variety of creative ways for your partner to make you feel inferior. Maybe they will tell you how lucky you are to have found someone so patient, attractive, smart, or successful like them. They may also remind you of your clumsiness, social awkwardness, or inability to think smart.
It is also emotionally abusive of them to make fun of your goals or call them superficial. In time, you can start to believe these things are true of you.
3. Your partner refuses to take responsibility and turns everything against you
Do you often find yourself apologizing without your concerns being addressed? If you approach your partner with a complaint and they not only refuse to accept responsibility but transform the conversation into an attack on you, you are clearly being emotionally abused.
Emotional abusers often accuse their victims of being too touchy or even taking things too much to heart in order to dodge the blame – a way to maintain their dominant position and create a sense of insecurity and self-doubt in a victim.
4. Your partner seems to have another personality
Emotional abusers can have a “switch” that turns them from loving and happy to depressed a cruel in a second. You may even feel as if the toxic personality comes to the surface any time you try challenging the status quo or want to become independent. In time, your partner’s mood can even begin to dictate what issues are allowed to be discussed.
5. You feel like you have to be overly-cautious
People who were victims of abuse, commonly describe themselves as ‘living on eggshells’, trying to dodge the wrath of their partners. Abusers can leave their partners living in fear and this is a clear sign of an emotionally abusive relationship.
6. They are impossible to please
Emotional abusers can drain your confidence in what feels like a nightmare you cannot escape. Nothing you do is ever good enough, even if you are giving it your best to meet their rigorous demands.
An emotionally abusive partner will always find ways to make you feel you’re in the wrong, whether they target your looks, personality, goals, or the way you care for the household. The goal here is to make you feel lucky that at least someone is willing to put up with you.
7. Anger turns to violence
Have you ever been in an argument with your partner only to see them punch a wall or break a table? This can be enough to cause the victim to give in to the abuser’s demands, or to behave in ways intended to keep the situation from escalating into physical violence. If your partner gets angry in a way that makes you afraid of them, that is a sign of emotional abuse.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you know of any more signs we may have missed? Let us know by joining the conversation, and please share this article if you’ve found it helpful.