If your partner is physically abusive, it is easy to tell that you’re in an abusive relationship. In emotionally abusive relationships, it can be difficult to detect abuse.
In case you suspect that your relationship is abusive but aren’t sure, start by thinking about how your partner makes you feel.
To help you examine your own relationship, here are some signs that you may be in an emotionally abusive relationship.
Note that even if your partner does just a few of these things, it still qualifies as an emotionally abusive relationship. Do not console yourself that things are not ‘that bad.’
- They have unrealistic expectations – this may include making very unreasonable demands, expecting you to put their demands first, showing dissatisfaction no matter how hard you try, and expecting you to agree with them in everything.
- They invalidate your feelings – they do this by trying to ignore or refuse to accept your feelings, telling you that you’re too sensitive or emotional, dismissing your opinions or requests, calling you selfish, and telling you that you’re exaggerating things.
- They always start trouble – emotionally abusive people tend to create chaos by starting arguments from nowhere, having sudden mood changes, and reacting so erratically.
- They blackmail and threaten you – emotional blackmail is common in emotionally abusive relationships. This can take many forms including public humiliation, making intimidating comments, manipulating you so that you feel guilty for something they have done, forcing you to apologize even when you’ve done nothing wrong, and using your fears or compassion to control you or manipulate a situation.
- They act superior - they do this by acting like they are above you, doubting everything you say, make mean and hurtful jokes without being considerate of your feelings, often tell you that your ideas or opinions don’t make sense, talking down on you, act like they are always right and smarter, and cut you off when you’re speaking,
- They are possessive and isolate you – They will control who you spend time with, monitor you phone, making false accusations, expecting you to report where you are at all time, overly jealous and try to ensure that you cannot be with other people, controlling your finances, and forcing you to spend time with them.
- You are so afraid of disappointing them – If you second-guess yourself and are too careful around your partner, you are likely in an abusive relationship. In a healthy relationship, mistakes and slip-ups are commo thus one should not make you feel guilty about these.
In case any of these things are true, reach out for help and counselling. Talk with somebody more experienced than you- a trusted adult, teacher, professional counsellor or a member of support group. Explain what you are going through and ask for advice.