Nothing is more damaging to your confidence and self-esteem than being in an emotionally abusive relationship.
Unlike physical abuse, which rears its ugly head in dramatic outbursts, emotional abuse in a relationship can be more subtle.
The most obvious scenario to observe emotional abuse signs is in an intimate relationship in which a man is the emotional abuser and the woman is the victim.
What Is Emotional Abuse?
Emotional abuse is a form of brain-washing that slowly erodes the victim’s sense of self-worth, security, and trust in themselves and others.
In many ways, it is more detrimental than physical abuse because it slowly disintegrates one’s sense of self and personal value.
It involves a regular pattern of verbal offense, threatening, bullying, financial abuse and control, and constant criticism, as well as more subtle tactics like intimidation, shaming, andmanipulation.
Emotional abuse is used to control and dominate the other person, and quite often it occurs because the abuser has childhood wounds and insecurities they haven’t dealt with — perhaps as a result of being abused themselves.
They didn’t learn healthy coping mechanisms or how to have positive, healthy relationships. Instead, they feel angry, hurt, fearful and powerless.
Although emotional abuse doesn’t always lead to physical abuse, physical abuse is almost always preceded and accompanied by emotional abuse.
The victim of this type of behavior quite often doesn’t see the mistreatment as abusive. They develop coping mechanisms of denial and minimizing in order to deal with the stress.
But the long-term effects can cause severe emotional traumain the victim, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
If you aren’t sure what constitutes the signs of abuse, read the list below.
Here are signs of emotional abuse in relationships:
Domination and Controlling Tactics
1. Says things to upset or frighten you.
Maybe you are tender-hearted, sensitive, or easily upset. Your abusive partner has found your Achilles heel and is playing you for all it’s worth. If you don’t obey, go along, or toe the line, your partner is going to threaten and scare you into it.
2. Becomes overly and inappropriately jealous of attention from or conversation with others.
Your partner doesn’t like the idea of sharing you with anyone—even in the most innocuous, innocent situations. He or she will make sure you never cross the line again by inflicting the pain of extreme jealous tantrums and threats.
3. Monitors your time and whereabouts.
Nothing is more controlling and dominating than someone checking up on you constantly and managing what you do and where you go. Emotional controllers are masters at monitoring you and will either guilt you into staying put or threaten you if you step out of line.
As a result, you feel like you’re under house arrest with no freedom or decision-making powers.
4. Monitors your telephone calls/texts or email contacts.
This kind of monitoring is just another way of controlling you and crossing your personal boundaries. You feel like a child whose parent suspects you’re up to no good—except you aren’t a child.
You’re an adult with a right to privacy and a right to contact whomever you wish without interference
5. Makes decisions that affect both of you or the family without consulting you or reaching an agreement with you.
An emotional abuser will attempt to put you in a secondary (or bottom-rung) position in the family by neglecting or refusing to include you in important decisions.
He doesn’t want his position of power to be usurped or undermined if you have a differing opinion. She doesn’t really see you as an equal decision-maker in the family, so why even consult you?
Eventually, you forget how to make decisions and rely on your abuser to manage things.
6. Controls the finances and how you spend money.
You can’t make a purchase without asking permission and getting an “allowance” from your partner. You may not even know how much money you have or how your partner is spending it.
All financial control and decision-making are in your partner’s complete control, leaving you helpless and completely dependent.
7. Repeatedly crosses your boundaries and ignores your requests.
8. Makes subtle threats or negative remarks with the intent to frighten or control you.
Signs of Verbal Abuse
9. Shows complete disregard and disrespect.
Maybe she talks down to you or laughs at you. Maybe he starts humming or looks at the newspaper while you’re trying to talk.
Their words and actions when you speak tell you volumes: you are worthless in his or her eyes.
Makes a big scene about small or insignificant life problems.