How to Recognize an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

Are You In an Emotionally Abusive Relationship?

Posted by Shelley Kilpatrick on 14 January 2016 |

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Emotional Abuse is a Form of Domestic Violence

emotional abuseAlthough domestic violence affects both women and men of all ages, women between ages 16 and 24 experience the highest rates.

Part of the problem is that people aren’t aware of the magnitude of the problem or how to identify it. When it comes to college students, Loveisrespect reports that 57 percent say domestic violence is difficult to identify and 58 percent say they don’t know how to help someone who’s experiencing it.

And that abuse doesn’t have to be physical to be considered domestic violence—or to damage a person’s wellbeing. Emotional abuse causes psychological harm to its victims that can last a very long time.

To help, we’ve put together a list to help show you how to identify the signs of an emotionally abusive relationship.

16 Warning Signs of an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

1. Public Humiliation: The person will criticize or insult you in public or in front your friends. They might want you to feel stupid or belittle your thoughts and opinions.

2. The Silent Treatment: Ignoring you or giving you the silent treatment is a tactic used for manipulation.

3. Extreme Jealousy: Jealousy can be a normal feeling. But when it’s used as a reason to isolate you from spending time with people you care about, it can be abusive.

4. Guilt Trips: The person might use guilt to make you feel like you are always wrong. They can also use it to influence your behavior.

5. Constant Yelling: If you are afraid to talk about something because you might get yelled at, that can be abusive.

6. Blame: The person might blame you for their behavior. They can make it seem like the way they act and what they are doing is your fault.

7. Put Downs: When you accomplish something, express an opinion, or share your feelings, they say it’s not good enough or it’s not worthwhile.

8. Threats: When you start to break away, they might threaten to hurt themselves, share private photos, spread rumors, take away your children or stop giving you financial support.

9. Denying Affection: They will pull or turn away from physical affection, unless you give in to what they want.

10. Punishment: When you do something they consider wrong, they will punish you by refusing to talk to you, putting you down or walking out on you.

11. Monitoring: They want to know what you are doing at all times. They will become angry or yell if you don’t check in and tell them what you’re doing or who you are with.

12. Privacy Intrusion: They will expect you to give them access to your phone, email accounts, journals or anything else that you want to keep private.

13. False Accusations: If you stay out late or don’t do something they want, they might accuse you of cheating on them or purposefully trying to hurt them.

14. Isolation: Keeping you from spending time with friends, family or co-workers is a way to isolate you from your support networks. They might want you to only spend time with them and no one else.

15. Disregard Requests: When you ask for something, they ignore it. They only focus on their needs and not yours.

16. Name Calling: They might give you a “pet” name that’s insulting. Also, they might use curse words or other derogatory language, but claim it as a sign of affection.

Emotional Abuse is a Form of Control

Abuse is scary and often isolating for the victims. Control, domination and manipulation are the hallmark signs of emotional abuse—and domestic violence in general.

But the good news is that with the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), higher education campuses are in a better position to help prevent domestic violence and emotional abuse.

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