Abuse is defined as any behavior that is designed to control another human being through the use of tactics such as fear, humiliation, intimidation, guilt, coercion and manipulation. While emotional abuse doesn’t leave outward scars, it can be just as damaging on the inside.
Many people in an emotionally abusive relationship feel like they are not being hurt physically, so they are not being abused. But emotional abuse can seriously damage emotional health, causing clinical anxiety, depression, a skewed view of self-worth and an extreme lack of self-esteem.
HERE ARE 20 WARNING SIGNS OF AN EMOTIONALLY ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP:
1. Your partner constantly embarrasses you on purpose in front of other people.
2. Your partner criticizes everything that you do, constantly points out your flaws and makes you feel like you can’t do anything right.
3. Your partner tells mean, inappropriate and demeaning jokes, with you as the punch line.
4. Your partner tries to control every move you make and every word you say.
5. Your partner constantly reminds you of your failures and flaws, eager to make sure you know “what’s wrong with you.”
6. Your partner do not value your feelings and often will tell you that you are wrong and that you are too sensitive.
7. Your partner give disapproving and dismissive looks that leave you fearful of being alone with them.
8. Your partner withhold displays of affection and sex as a form of punishment.
9. Your partner belittle your dreams and accomplishments.
10. Your partner share your private moments and your secrets with others against your wishes.
11. Your partner thinks you are incapable of most things, and knows what’s best for you.
12. Your partner blames you for his or her problems, bad moods and overall unhappiness.
13. Your partner is incapable of laughing at weaknesses or mistakes, and gets extremely angry if others are laughing at those weaknesses or errors.
14. Your partner makes you feel guilty about wanting to see your friends and family, or going anywhere on your own.
15. Your partner makes you feel like you aren’t good enough for him or her; your partner says he or she could do better, and you should be thankful to be in the relationship.
16. Your partner insists on always being right and doing things his or her way, because you are always wrong.
17. Your partner makes subtle threats that might be disguised as a “suggestion” to help you.
18. Your partner controls the finances in order to control your actions and monitor how much money you spend and what you spend it on.
19. Your partner constantly calls, texts or even shows up to check up on you to see who you are with and what you’re doing when he or she isn’t around.
20. Your partner accuses you of things that aren’t true, then forces you to “prove” your love.
While this is not an exhaustive list, it does contain many actions that abusers have in common. Learning to identify these and other signs can save ourselves and loved ones a lot of time and trouble. Specifically, when the signs are normally their strongest. For example, the abuser robs the person of being who they really are, and makes them feel as if they are worthless and inferior. Getting out of these relationships can be difficult until the person recognizes the abuser for who they really are, an abuser. Preventing these relationships from continuing is of utmost importance since they can manifest themselves in illnesses, depression and even cases of long term trauma.
This said, when loved ones begin to recognize these signs, they should proceed with caution since this may be a sensitive subject to address. However, it is important for the person to have the appropriate help because these relationships can begin to graduate into relationships that include physical abuse as well.