15 Signs of an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

Adriana Velez | Jun 13, 2012 Love & Sex
15 Signs of an Emotionally Abusive Relationship
Image: Razvan Bucur/Shutterstock

Razvan Bucur/Shutterstock

Emotional abuse, while it leaves no marks, can sometimes be the hardest type of abuse to understand in a relationship. It's hard to imagine that a person who "loves" us could be abusive to us -- and besides, it's just words, right? It's not like there are physical altercations or beatings. Well, the sad truth is, while broken bones heal, the wounds left from emotional abuse can last an entire lifetime.

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Emotional abuse is a form of abuse in which a partner uses verbal assault, fear, shaming, or humiliation to undermine the other person's self-esteem and self-worth. And unfortunately, it's more common than any of us would like to think. Emotional abuse in a relationship is not only complicated and confusing for victims to acknowledge, but it's also every bit as damaging as physical abuse.

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Anyone in an emotionally abusive relationship, or who even thinks they are being abused or even thinks, maybe, it's "not bad enough" to do anything about it, remember: It is. No one deserves to be treated this way, and everyone is worthy of respect in a relationship. Everyone. So be aware of these signs and please seek help if these signs sound all too familiar. 

abused woman

  • You're Afraid To Talk To Them About Even The Little Things


    Image via Shannon Kokoska/Flickr

    You're afraid to tell your partner about a normal happening - your car needs brakes, your boss made you work overtime - because you're not sure how he will react.

  • They Make You Feel Bad About Yourself


    Image via Jenny Kaczorowski/Flickr

    When you do talk to your significant other, he puts you down and makes you feel stupid.

  • You Put Them Above Everything Else


    Image via NapInterrupted/Flickr 

    You make yourself available to your partner no matter what the personal cost - just to avoid a confrontation.

  • You Don't Want Anyone Else To Be Around Them


    Image via Alan Levine/Flickr

    You no longer want to bring your significant other around your friends or family because you're afraid he will berate you and humiliate you in front of your loved ones.

  • You Think You Must Be Crazy


    Image via R000pert/Flickr

    You've begun to believe that you're the crazy one -- that you're the one with the problem.

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  • They Don't Support You


    Image via Snap/Flickr

    When talking about an accomplishment - a promotion or something equally exciting - your partner sneers at you, putting you down, mocking your achievement rather than celebrating it.

  • You Feel Trapped


    Image via Darwin Bell/Flickr

    You feel helpless, like you're trapped in the relationship.

  • They Treat You Like A Pet, Not A Partner


    Image via WhyamIKeenan/Flickr

    Your partner treats you like an object, like property, not like a person with real feelings.

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  • They Control Everything About Your Life


    Image via Rob Pongsjapan/Flickr

    Your partner keeps a tight control on all things: money, the phone, using the car, who you see and what you do.

  • They Say It's Your Fault


    Image via Waferboard/Flickr 

    If you fight back, your significant other blames you for the abusive behavior. "If you weren't so dumb, I wouldn't have to yell at you."

  • You Feel Worthless


    Image via Randallo/Flickr

    You've begun to see yourself as worthless -- just like your partner tells you you are.

  • You'll Do Anything They Ask


    Image via KCanard/Flickr 

    You'll go out of your way to please your significant other, no matter how much you have to sacrifice. If that means staying up all night to wash the floor, so be it. It beats the "lecture."

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  • They Make You Think The Rest Of The World Is The Problem


    Image via Ozalee Meg/Flickr

    You're in complete isolation. Your partner doesn't want you around your friends or family and has convinced you that THEY are the ones who are abusive to you - not him.

  • You Think You Deserve It


    Image via MarLeah Cole/Flickr

    You've begun to feel as though you deserve to be treated badly. If you were a better person, you wouldn't make him so mad!

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  • You Make Excuses For Them Constantly


    Image via Vandys/Flickr

    You find yourself having to rush to his defense whenever he is brought up in conversation. You make excuses for his behavior regardless of the situation.

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