20 Signs of Emotional Abuse in a Relationship – Part 1

  • 14

Emotional abuse in a relationship is in many ways more dangerous than physical abuse. First, it doesn’t leave visible marks, making it impossible to prove to anyone. Secondly, the marks left by emotional abuse – the ones in your mind, that is – tend to take much longer to heal than those left by physical abuse of similar degree. And third, emotional abuse in a relationship is much less talked about than its physical counterpart, thereby making it difficult to diagnose, even for the victim. Here are some tell-tale signs that will tell you whether you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship.

Emotional abuse in a relationship – Symptom #1. Fear

You feel so afraid of your partner that at one point you stop protesting anything they say. You avoid certain topics out of fear of annoying them. You’re sometimes forced to lie about your beliefs and intentions as you know if you’re vocal about your true feelings they’d torture you emotionally for hours.

emotional abuse in a relationshipPhoto by dpgrneyz@yahoo.com

Emotional abuse in a relationship – Symptom #2. Long lectures

You’re having yet another argument. This time about something so obvious that you’re sure you’ll win this one – there’s no way someone can prove you wrong. Yet, your partner constructs an extremely long string of fallacious logic to prove you wrong, leaving you aghast.

Emotional abuse in a relationship – Symptom #3. Personal attacks

 Whenever there’s a fight, your partner resorts to personal attacks instead of concentrating on the issue at hand. Instead of saying, “I think I’m doing more than my fair share of household work, I want you to pick up more”, they’d say, “You’re the most selfish person I’ve ever met.”

Emotional abuse in a relationship – Symptom #4. Self-esteem loss

They reinforce such negative messages about you so that your self-esteem erodes. They also keep hinting that they’re doing you a huge favour by staying in a relationship with you, because you’re simply unworthy of love. You’re forced to a point where you start believing there’s something deeply wrong with the person that you are start feeling grateful to your partner for loving you.

Emotional abuse in a relationship – Symptom #5. Self-doubts

He uses manipulative tactics to make you believe things about yourselves, others and the world which you’d never have believed in your right mind. They might even come up with specific instances (and connect them using fallacious logic, of course) to prove you’re mentally unbalanced. At some point you start doubting your own sense of reality.

Emotional abuse in a relationship – Symptom #6. Responsibility avoidance

Whenever you dare to protest anything your partner does or says, they torture you emotionally for hours. But whenever you try to hold them responsible for their behaviour they put the blame on you. According to them if it wasn’t for a crazy and difficult partner like you, they’d be the most mild, well-mannered person on earth.  

emotional abuse in a relationshipPhoto by Hayley Bouchard

Emotional abuse in a relationship – Symptom #7. Extreme jealousy  

Your partner is jealous and hateful of every member of the opposite sex you’ve ever interacted with. They control where you go and what you do. They frequently check up on you. They might even force you to share passwords of your email, Facebook and other online accounts, all in the name of no-holds-barred trust between two people in love.

Emotional abuse in a relationship – Symptom #8. Two faces  

They seem to have two completely different selves. They’re charming, entertaining, fun around their friends, colleagues and other acquaintances. They’re not out-of-control, they’re careful enough never to treat you badly in front of others. No one apart from you knows the truth about their abusive personality, making it extremely difficult for you to make anyone believe you when you try to ask around for help.  

Emotional abuse in a relationship – Symptom #9. Eroding credibility  

Not only is it impossible for you to get their circle of people to believe you, they make sure your own family and friends don’t believe you either. They tend to complain to people close to you about how difficult a person you are. They use biased instances to paint a picture of your relationship that makes even your closest people believe that they’re the oppressed one.

Emotional abuse in a relationship – Symptom #10. Emotional blackmail

They abuse you at every opportunity, but if you try to end the relationship they become very vulnerable. They might cry hysterically or threaten to commit suicide, making it impossible for you to leave.

Does your relationship bear these signs of emotional abuse? If yes, call for help right now.

We’d continue with the rest of the 20 signs in the next post, 20 Signs of Emotional Abuse in a Relationship – Part 2. Until then, share some inspirational stories of redemption from emotional abuse in a relationship by leaving a comment.


11 thoughts on “20 Signs of Emotional Abuse in a Relationship – Part 1”

  1. i absolutely loved the points and it is true that many men and women literally make it hell for their partners by making things worst and harassing mentally to an extent that the person feels like committing suicide.

    They nag for things to happen their way and can go to any extremes to make it happen although they show they are becoming suicidal its you who suffers the most.

    Its not easy to quit the relationship because they dont let you ! All said and done how to resolve it is the biggest question ? How to either come out of the situation or make the person realize what she/he is doing is deadly enough to take her/his partner’s life ?

    1. Pertinent questions, MS.
      The first step to fighting for your own survival is understanding that you’re a victim of abuse. The next step, if you want to stay in the relationship (in case of an Indian marriage, for example), is counselling. That entails convincing the abuser that something is wrong. This is the most difficult step. You should NEVER start with suggesting that the abuser is the one who needs help. Instead, you should suggest that you both do, and go for couple counselling. Remember, you can’t always hit on the right counsellor at the first go, and may have to consult a few before you find the best fit for you. As you move through your sessions, the counsellor of course (if she’s good) would be able to see the abuser for who they really are. From that point change would be possible if you’re still willing to give the relationship another chance.
      Needless to add, you need to gather the support of your own family and friends to be there for you throughout this process.
      Thanks for commenting. :)

  2. Very well analyzed. It’s sad to see mature people making their partners pay for their irrational fears and insecurities, but they do it all the time. And it’s not just restricted to partners. You see emotional abuse in families too, inflicted onto members and in-laws, something that’s harder because emotional blackmail is strongest within families.
    I hope people learn to live and let live.

    1. Greate point Chaitanya… In the Indian context in-laws and extended families of the husband often contribute to the emotional abuse… the situation is especially dire for the wife if the husband is unreasonable and supports his family in their mistreatment of her. Unfortunately women in our country (except a tiny minority among the so-called enlightened classes) have little power in the complex relationship equation of wife, husband and in-laws. Divorce is scorned upon and discouraged at all costs by the girl’s family themselves, let alone anyone else. However as I mentioned in the earlier comment, there are only two possible healthy solutions to this situation – #1. Counselling, #2. Leaving. Women of this country have to find a way to muster courage and take care of their own intersts first, before taking care of those of her family, her husband and his family.

  3. @, The points mentioned here very much true

    As said emotional abuse are left on minds also it doesn’t get eroded with times and has great impact in future

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful article

  4. What a sensitive issue you have putted here. Hats off to you for get me realized my faults.
    I have lost some one who was very special for me just because of the things that you have discuss here. But now I got it. instead of being rude, jealous and abusive one should try to be a real friend of her. She is also a human and she has a right to live happily. One should not torture any one just because of a bad past or a past relation. She is yours now mentally and physically. If you will take care of her you will also feel blessed and loved as well. So it is my personal advice to every one who are in a relation to please respect each other emotions and feelings. Because its really hurts when some one taunt and abuse you whom you love a lot.

    1. Javed, I think you’re a very responsible and sensitive person. The first step of healing from an abusive relationship is to recognize the abuse. And if you think you have been hurtful and abusive to someone and you have the courage to admit it in front of the whole world – half your job is done. True, you can’t press Ctrl+Z on the past, and a part of you will always feel the pain of your own deeds. But I believe you’re really a strong, honest human being and I’m certain you’ll create caring, mutually respectful, lasting relationships all around you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *