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How To Recognise An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

Unlike physical violence, emotional abuse can be very subtle. You may not even know that it’s happening and yet, it can have enormous impact on your confidence, self-esteem and ability to enjoy your life. Here are some signs to watch out for if you suspect that you or someone you know might be in an emotionally abusive relationship.

RELATED: Escaping Domestic Violence


An emotional abuser will try to isolate you from your family and friends for two reasons. One, he’s extremely jealous and wants you all for himself. Two, if you share with your family and friends what’s really going on in your relationship, they’ll be able to tell you that it’s not right. He might lose his hold on you and look bad in other people’s eyes.

Verbal abuse and blame

An emotional abuser will easily swear at you or call you names, use sarcasm to hurt and then tell you it was a joke, blame you for anything that might go wrong or just make up reasons to make you feel bad.

Control through emotions

One moment your partner could be the sweetest person on earth. Then just as you’re feeling happy and safe, he’d find a minor reason to punish you by withdrawing emotionally and not talking to you for days. You can never predict how he will react and you end up walking on eggshells around him, scared that at any time you might do something wrong and suffer for it.

One way or another, an emotional abuser will get his way, whether by telling you what you want to hear so that you do what he wants or by threatening you. He can keep you confused by constantly changing his stories, so that you no longer know where the truth is.

Financial control

An emotional abuser likes having control over the money in the relationship. He’d check all spending, not give you enough (or any money) or stop you from working, so that you’re completely dependent on him.

I’ve used the pronoun ‘he’ for convenience throughout this article, but this is not to say that all emotional abusers are men. Far from it. Both men and women can become abusers or victims of emotional abuse.

As I mentioned earlier, emotional abuse is hard to spot from the outside. When you keep on hearing from your closest person that you’re to blame for everything, you’re never good enough and it’s all your fault, it’s easy to start believing it without realising that you’re being manipulated. Emotional abuse is also hard to spot from the outside. The emotional abuser will not show the same face to outsiders that he presents in his relationship. Nevertheless, if you suspect that this is happening to someone you know, speak out. They may not immediately believe you, but you will be putting the seed in their heads that what’s happening to them is wrong and they should seek more information.

Image by SaeKawaii via pixabay.com

October 14, 2014