Stop Telling Yourself It’s Nothing. These Are The Warning Signs Of Emotional Abuse

Abuse in relationships, is more than just the physical aspect. One of the most damaging kinds of abuse, emotional abuse, leaves no visible scars.

We all know how to spot the signs of physical abuse, or someone who is physically abusive, but recognizing the signs of emotional abuse can be a lot trickier.

If you’ve never been in a relationship with someone who tries to manipulate your emotions, or control your everyday life, then you might not know what to look out for. And if you have been through something like this, you might not have known how to handle the situation at the time.

Even after making the choice to leave the toxic relationship, emotional abusers have plenty of tricks up their sleeves for making you believe that doing so impossible.

Here are some of the major warning signs of emotional abuse in a relationship:

1. They dismiss your opinion 

When a partner refuses to take a look at things from your perspective, they are being more than just stubborn. Easily dismissing someone’s opinion and disregarding their values is a sign of emotional abuse. You are entitled to you own thoughts and beliefs, and no one has to always agree with someone else. Imagine how boring life would be!

2. They blame you for everything

In a healthy relationship, both parties can accept responsibility for their actions and grow together as a couple. This is not the case in a relationship with an emotional abuser. They will blame you for everything, even things beyond your control.

3. They give you ridiculous ultimatums

This is simply a form of threatening you to do something they want, or they will seek revenge. The most atrocious part of this behaviour is that the emotional abuser acts as if they are doing you a favour. By being “kind enough” to give you a chance to do what they want you to do, before unleashing whatever it is they are currently holding over your head.

4. They withhold affection

One aspect of emotional abuse that is easily overlooked is the withholding of affection. One person will expect the house to be cleaned a certain way, or their dinner to be served at a certain time, and if these desires aren’t met, you’ll hear “No kisses till it’s done right,” or “No cuddling until you can do what I ask.” It might seem cute at first, but it is hurtful behaviour in the long run.

5. They ridicule your emotions

People who are emotionally abusive tend to have difficulty in expressing their own emotions in a healthy way. Because of this, they see any and every feeling of sadness, suffering, or hurt as a weakness in another person. The truth is, part of being emotional healthy is expressing all emotions when necessary- the good and the unpleasant alike.

6. They have no respect for your privacy

Whether it is your cell phone, your laptop, or even your bedside table, you have no privacy. Emotional abuse is about control, and people who have a need for this sense of power at all times are usually afraid of being seen for who they really are- a scared, emotionally wounded person. This fear leads them to invade every inch of your personal space.

7. They will cause you to change your behaviour

You should never change who you are because someone else can’t handle it. People who use emotional abuse tactics will try to make you feel inferior, or as if you are being annoying when you are around them. Maybe you say something a certain way and it “irritates” them, or perhaps you like to do your hair a certain way, dress a certain way, or laugh a certain way. Whatever it is, they will find something about you and try to change it.

It’s not easy to leave these types of relationships. Leaving partners who are emotionally abusive requires more planning and more support.

Usually, when we try to end an abusive relationship, we see the worst side of our partner. It is possible for some relationships to end on an amicable note, but when there is emotional abuse in play, that amicability is highly unlikely.

If you have been through emotional abuse during the relationship, you can expect these harmful manipulation tactics to continue long after you make the choice to leave.

Remember to reach out for help from friends, family, a therapist, or a professional counselor if you have been through this kind of relationship.

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