For many years, domestic abuse has been a hushed topic.
People have suffered horrible emotional and physical abuse within their relationship, never getting up the courage to confront their partner and leave the relationship.
(Yes, there are many reasons people stay in an abusive relationship and never leave. That’s a whole other topic.)
Abuse within a relationship often starts slowly. And the first sign is through emotional sabotage!
This form of emotional abuse can slowly take a toll on your mental health and self-confidence.
This makes it much easier for your abuser to manipulate and control you.
Unfortunately, no matter how much you “love” your partner, there is a very slim chance they are ever going to change. You cannot “fix” them and their abusive behavior.
Below are 13 signs you’re being emotionally abused in your relationship.
1.) They Constantly Make You Feel Guilty
Guilt-tripping is a classic form of manipulation!
Does your partner make you feel like everything is your fault?
Do they make you feel guilty for wanting to spend time with your friends and family?
Do they pressure you to do things their way?
If you feel incredibly hesitant to say, “No” to your partner (because of how they will react), there is definitely a problem!
A relationship is a partnership and it takes teamwork.
When one member of the team always insists that things be done their way, it is no longer a partnership. It is a dictatorship!
Guilt-tripping is one of the most notorious ways emotionally abusive people gain dominance over their victims.
It isn’t healthy for your relationship and it will end badly for you if you try to “get use” to this behavior.
Related Article: 5 Signs Your Relationship Is Absolutely Toxic
2.) Their Jealousy Is Unbelievable
Every relationship needs a healthy dose of jealousy!
This is a totally natural instinct to protect the ones you love and make sure the world knows that they are ‘your person’.
But jealousy can become toxic very quickly – and it will be noticeable.
Does your partner require constant contact with you?
Do they ask you questions with undertones of severe jealousy?
“Why are you hanging out with them instead of me?”
“Why did you give him a hug goodbye?”
“You didn’t have to eat lunch with her! Isn’t your work relationship getting a bit too close?”
“Did you just text him? You aren’t suppose to text other guys when you are dating me!”
Your partner’s jealousy will seep into every single conversation and interaction.
As they manipulate their way into every area of your life, you will feel this gut-wrenching feeling that your life is being “taken over” by someone you are supposed to love and trust.
This problem is caused by a strong insecurity in your partner. They will act like their insecurity is your problem.
Confront this behavior immediately! And if it does not change, you will need to get therapy or exit the relationship.
Related Article: 9 Red Flags to Be Aware of in a New Relationship
3.) They Start To Control Your Money
Money is a touchy subject – especially when it comes to a relationship.
Some couples split things 50/50, while others combine everything into one.
Regardless of the financial decision you have made, it is NOT your partner’s job to control every aspect of your spending.
(I am NOT talking about someone with a shopping addiction, gambling problem, or any other form of spending problem.)
I am referring to someone feeling so controlled by their partner’s money-obsession that they feel like they have to “ask permission” to make even the smallest of purchases.
This treatment is completely unacceptable and abusive!
You are being made to feel like a child that has to ask for permission to spend money – something that is your right!
If you allow your partner to control you like this, they will soon start to manipulate their ways into deeper areas of your life.
Remember, money is one of the top reasons for divorce. It is your responsibility to stay on the same page when it comes to spending, investing, saving, and earning your money.
4.) They Blame You For Their Mental Health Issues
Has your partner ever made you feel like it was your fault that they were suffering with mental health issues?
“My anxiety is awful because of you!”
“You make me want to commit suicide!”
“If you do that, who knows what I will do to myself!”
This is a cruel form of emotional abuse – a manipulative scare tactic to force you into doing what they want.
Many times, when people try to break up with their toxic partner, they will pull the ‘suicide card’ and make you feel responsible for their LIFE.
If you are worried for your partner’s life, you need to tells someone about your concerns. They need to get help as soon as possible.
But it is not your responsibility to stay under their toxic influence and destroy your own mental health.
They need professional help to get through their mental health issues. And maybe you need a therapist to help you get over a toxic relationship.
- 9 Warning Signs That You Are Emotionally and Mentally Exhausted
- 10 Things To Know If Your Partner Has Anxiety
5.) They Criticize You – Even In Front Of Others
Does your partner act like they don’t care about your feelings and reputation?
Do they use you as the subjects of jokes and criticize you in front of other people?
You may laugh or smile on the outside, but your heart is being crushed on the inside. You just want to cry or yell.
How can “the love of your life” not care about what you look like to others? Their undertone is mockery and sarcasm.
Unfortunately, this is usually a “get back at you” tactic or a way for them to make sure you know that they are in control of you.
Emotional abuse at its best!
Related Articles: 11 Things Narcissists Say to Manipulate You
6.) They Compare You To Other People
“My Mom never did it that way!”
“Wow, that is exactly what my ex use to say to me.”
“I’m surprised that you just did that. My father never did!”
Comparison is a very hurtful form of abuse. It can be done so subtly that some people may not even notice.
But the abuser knows what they are doing!
They are sending you the message that you are not quite good enough. You aren’t meeting their standards, so they are going to manipulatively compare you to others.
Many marriage counselors have heard a husband or a wife say, “They always compare me to their Mom!” or “They compare me to their ex and it makes me feel awful!”
Comparison is mean and it has the power to ruin any relationship.
Related Article: 9 Surprising Signs You May Have Anxiety
7.) They Withhold Affection
The good old ‘silent treatment’ falls into this category!
Does your partner ‘go silent’ for long periods of time?
“I am not kissing you until you do what I said!”
“We aren’t going out on a date night! You already spent money on food yesterday.”
Because you didn’t do things their way, they are going to punish you.
Exercising their power and control over you by withholding affection is a very effective strategy to manipulate you into doing what they want.
This leaves their partner feeling unloved, lonely, and regretful.
Related Article: 10 Signs Your Relationship Has Communication Problems
8.) They’ll Randomly Shower You With Gifts
YES, gifts can be used as a form of manipulation. (And they are often very effective.)
The abuser uses gifts as a way to show you how much they love you, as an empty apology for how horribly they treated you, or as a way to remind you of how deprived you will be if you choose to leave them.
A bouquet of flowers as an apology for losing their temper last night.
A lovely piece of jewelry to show you how much you will lose if you leave them.
Even an expensive item you have wanted – just to guilt-trip you into keeping up the ‘facade’ as the happy couple!
Gifts are enticing, but they can be full of manipulation!
Your self-worth is far more valuable than any gift.
If your partner is controlling you this way, you need to leave. (And yes, leave all their worthless gifts behind.)
Related Article: 11 Signs You Are in a Relationship with a Narcissist
9.) They Invade Your Privacy
Relationships should not have secrets.
When you are married, there is value in sharing passwords and staying accountable to each other – in a non-toxic way. This is between you and your partner.
But, early on in your relationship, your partner should not INSIST that they have access to your private messages, voicemail, social media accounts, or email?
During the dating stage, if this is an issue, you may want to leave this person in the dust.
Your whole relationship will have a cloud of jealousy and suspicion over it if this is their main concern early on.
Some people go to the extent to search their partner’s drawers and electronic devices while they are not around.
This toxic behavior is bound to take a toll on your love life!
Related Article: 7 Ways to Know If Your Relationship Is Meant to Last
10.) They Threaten To Be Unfaithful
“I could have had anyone I wanted!”
“Remember my ex? Sometimes I miss him/her so much.”
“Sometimes, you make me want to go date someone else!”
If your conversations have any undertone of cheating, breaking up, or thinking of someone else romantically, you should probably leave that loser behind!
They are filling you with insecurity, doubt, and a feeling of inadequacy.
Threats can come in many hidden forms. Basically, any time your partner says something suggestive about someone else, they are making sure that you know they could replace you.
Go and find someone who loves you so much you are irreplaceable. You deserve so much better!
Related Article: 9 Early Signs You’re Dating A Cheater
11.) They Make “But” Statements
“You look so beautiful tonight. But…”
“This dinner was delicious! But…”
“I love you. But…”
‘But’ statements are a huge red flag in every relationship!
Your partner is being overly critical in every area of life.
Over time, you will become accustom to the feeling of never been good enough and never making a strong enough effort.
This will take a toll on your self-worth and sense of sense. Don’t let an emotionally abusive partner make you feel like you are less of a person than you truly are.
Related Article: 10 Things You Should Never Say To the Person You Love
12.) They Don’t Let You Speak for Yourself
Does your partner constantly interrupt you?
Do they answer questions on your behalf?
If someone asks you how you are doing, does your partner cut in? “Oh, she’s doing great! Our life is great.”
Perhaps your partner has a bad habit of signing up for things without your permission.
Making plans, rearranging your schedule, making major lifestyle changes, or volunteering you for services that you never consented to.
By doing so, they are controlling your life and creating an unhealthy dependence on themselves.
You are not a child or a dependent – you are a grown adult who can make decisions! Insist on doing so.
Related Article: 15 Signs Someone is a Narcissist
13.) They Make You Doubt Your Dreams
One of the most beautiful things in life is dreaming big!
Being a supportive partner is a very important part of every sustainable relationship.
But do you find your partner criticizing your dreams and personal goals?
Without hopes and dreams, your life won’t have a lot of purpose.
If your partner is criticizing your dreams, take a deeper look! Do they expect you to unquestioningly support theirs?
If so, they are attempting to make you change your goals, so you can help them reach their own self-serving goals!
Find a person who is excited for you and pushes you to become your best self. They exist!
But selfishness and self-serving motives destroy the best of relationships.
Don’t allow an emotionally abusive person convince you that you need to change for them.
If you don’t feel adequate or good enough for them, something needs to change in your life.
Sit down and have a serious conversation with your partner. Be confident and explain to them how they make you feel.
If they respond to your concerns with sarcasm, anger, or criticism – do not tolerate it!
Let them know that there are consequences to toxic behavior.
Surround yourself with loving and supportive people who will build you up and encourage you.
If you are willing to work on your relationship, you will need to see a relationship therapist.
An emotionally abusive relationship is often the beginning of a physically abusive relationship.
Don’t allow this to happen to you. Never allow someone to change you, at the expense of your happiness!