It is usually relatively easy to determine if your relationship is rocky. What can sometimes be more difficult is understanding if your relationship has become emotionally abusive. Pinpointing the signs of emotional abuse in relationship can be an important step forward. Remember, it takes awareness to create change. If you suspect that you may be in an emotionally abusive relationship, consider these common signs.
1. Your partner enjoys humiliating you.
Humiliation and embarrassment are not healthy components of a relationship, and abusive partners often engage in put-downs and extreme criticism. This often occurs in both private and public settings. As you can see on the Power and Control Wheel, emotional abuse often involves name calling. This includes everything from words like "dumb" or "ugly" to more profane terms. The intention is the same -- to cause harm and cut you down.
2. Your partner won't communicate with you.
If your partner often leaves you out of important discussions, possibly turning to others to have these talks, you may have cause to worry. This is especially the case if you have brought up your concern with your partner.
3. Your partner makes you think you are crazy for feeling as you do.
The term for this is gas-lighting. An abusive partner often twists information in a way that casts them in a favorable light while also causing you to believe that you may be "too sensitive" or "inconsiderate." In effect, gas-lighting leads you to doubt your own experiences and judgment.
4. Your partner is incredibly jealous.
Have you started engaging less with others in an attempt to prevent your partner from accusing you of disloyalty? You might find that you aren't comfortable even talking to people because of the ramifications it may have in your relationship. It is possible that everything from the clothes you wear to your "flirtatious" tone of voice has come up for discussion and accusations from your partner.
5. Your partner blames you for everything.
That promotion your partner didn't get? Your partner's general bad mood? Those are somehow your fault, according to them.
6. Your partner intimidates you.
Intimidation is often an abuse tactic. Even if physical abuse has never been part of the relationship, you may fear it. Does your partner yell at you or break things, even after you have said it scares and upsets you? Your partner may use threats of physical violence against you or somebody else in an effort to get what they want.
7. You feel isolated in your relationship.
In many cases, abusive partners will make every attempt to remove affection and physical presence of friends and family members. Abusive partners will often create arguments between you and your friends or family. They can skillfully manipulate various situations so that you increasingly believe your loved ones don't care about you, are biased against your partner, or just don't get you anymore. It may start out in ways that seem innocent enough - statements like, "I'm the only one who understands you" can lay the groundwork. Isolation may also include moving far away from those you know, accusing you of caring more about others, or taking control of vehicles to prevent you from leaving the house.
8. Your partner coerces you.
Coercion comes in many forms, but it can be dangerous no matter how it occurs. Your partner may coerce you into sexual behaviors that do not feel safe or comfortable. An abusive partner may try and convince you that because you are in a relationship with them it is your duty to perform sexually as they desire.
Another scary coercion tactic is threatening suicide in an effort to prevent you from leaving the argument/room/relationship. If this happens, talk to a mental health professional as soon as possible. Ask for help with creating a safety plan that can be utilized should your partner threaten suicide in the future. A professional can also help you determine the difference between a partner asking for support and a partner using manipulation to get what they want.
Contact us to learn more about the help available to you. If you are in an abusive relationship, therapy can help you take steps out of abuse and into empowerment.