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.

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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.