37 Warning Signs Of Emotional Abuse In A Relationship

37 Warning Signs Of Emotional Abuse In A Relationship

Emotional abuse can be a sneaky killer of the spirit – and worse.

Why? Because, if you are like most people, you might be missing the red flags that you are in a relationship with an abuser.

Chances are that you don’t want to see these red flags because you so desperately want to believe that your abuser actually loves you, or cares about you – or wants the best for you.

And slowly, steadily and irreversibly, emotional abuse – especially from someone who is supposed to love you – will erode your joy, your sense of well-being and even your mental health, driving you into paralyzing self-doubt, shame and possibly suicide.

And the hard truth is that the fact that you are reading this indicates that part of you already knows that you are in an abusive relationship…

That despite the best face you are trying to put on things – and even despite the fact that your partner does do some good things for you – that you are profoundly unhappy. Even scared.

And that you know – deep inside – that you need to make a change in your life.

That change could be altering you or your partner’s behavior, getting professional help or an intervention – or leaving your abuser once and for all.

Take This Quiz And Find Out Right Now: Should You Break Up With Him?

Click here to take our quick (and shockingly accurate) “Should You Break Up With Him” Quiz right now and find out if you should break up with him…

Nobody deserves to be abused, physically or emotionally. And because it’s often so difficult to break away from an abusive relationship for all these reasons above, it’s essential that you take a cold, clear look at your situation.

Only then can you make a clear, informed decision, and live the life of self-worth and love that you deserve to live.

So take a moment and ask yourself if you recognize any of these behaviors in your partner or yourself.

The Biggest Signs Of Emotional Abuse In A Relationship

Abusers Consistently and Repeatedly Make Mean Jokes, and Criticize and Judge You Negatively

Abusers humiliate their partners. They insult and put you down both in private and in front of others as a method of eroding your self-esteem, which they hope will make you more dependent on them.

Then, if you or someone else protests, they will laugh it off and either claim that they are “just joking” and that you have no sense of humor or are just “too sensitive” (1).

In other words, they will hurt your feelings and make your hurt your fault.

Abused Partners Feel Shame or Guilt Most of the Time

Do you feel as if you’re doing something wrong and you deserve rebuke from your partner? Worse still, do you feel as if you don’t even know what you’ve done wrong?

Brene Brown, the great researcher and author, notes that there is a difference between guilt and shame.

You feel guilt when you’ve done something bad. You feel shame when you feel that you “are” bad.

An abusive partner will find multiple opportunities to point out what you are doing wrong – as a way to gain a sense of power over you (2).

Can you name 3 or 4 things your partner has rebuked you for over the last week? That would be a red flag.

Worse still is how an emotional abuser will create a sense of “shame” in you – that vague sense that you are not worthy, neither of respect nor love – nor them.

A screaming red flag is when they tell you that you are so “bad” that nobody else would take or love you. This is how an abuser creates the illusion that you are doomed to be trapped with them forever, because that’s the best you’ll ever get.

Abusers Refuse To Talk About Your Hurt

A healthy relationship is one in which you and your partner feel free to express what hurts, what scares you, what worries you – as well as your hopes and dreams.

An emotional abuser doesn’t want to hear about your pain, except to reinforce that you deserve whatever pain you feel. That you’ve brought it on yourself, or that it’s your deserved destiny to feel bad about yourself.

If your partner indicates they have no time to talk about what worries, scares or inspires you, notice if it’s part of a pattern.

If they want you to wallow in your pain, or feel as if you are chasing after them all the time in order to connect, they are manipulating your emotions to keep you subjugated or “beat down”.

If you constantly feel guilty in your relationship, but you don’t really know why, it might be because your partner is encouraging you to feel that way.

Does your partner always claim that everything’s your fault? Are they incapable of taking responsibility for their words and actions toward you and others? Do you feel bad when you spend time with your friends and family?

If you answered, “yes” to any one of these questions, then your partner is probably habitually guilt-tripping you. Don’t fall for it (3).

This is just one of the many ways emotionally abusive people will try to exert their dominance over you, and it’s not healthy at all.

Additionally, if they use the “silent treatment” to punish you after a fight, or for saying or doing something they don’t approve of, or for no apparent reason at all, then they’re being emotionally abusive.

Emotional Abusers Keep You on a Short Leash

One of the most confusing things about abusive partners is that while they shut you down in person and “don’t want to hear it”, they keep a close eye on you when you are apart.

Too often, emotionally abused partners mistake this behavior for “care”. But it’s not; it’s control.

Pay attention to that gap between how much they want to communicate when you are around and their texting, calling and checking up on you when you – or they – are away.

Similarly, beware of angry or emotional signs of “jealousy” when you talk to a person of the opposite sex or someone shows up on your Facebook page.

This is not jealousy driven by care, but jealousy driven by control. An emotional abuser will make you feel guilty or evil or shameful for simple, innocent interactions with others.

Along the same lines, they will try to control your spending as well as your social ties. This is how an abuser reduces an adult to the level of a child, cutting off their autonomy, begging for money for the simplest things.

If they do, then ask yourself this crucial question: does my partner treat me like a whole, autonomous human being – or rather only an extension of themselves?

If you feel as if they are putting you in this second category, it’s up to you to decide if that’s really how you want to continue to live your life.

They Threaten You In Subtle Ways

Most people can identify a physical abuser. It’s simple – they hit you.

But emotional abuse is far more subtle. Yes, it’s more obvious when an abuser insults you or threatens you. But because emotional abuse is a sub-category of control, they will often resort to other methods of threat.

Some will threaten to leave you – and blame that choice on you. Some will threaten to hurt or even kill themselves – and blame that choice on you.

These are classic behaviors of abusers because they exhibit different expressions of one of their core traits: taking no responsibility for their own choices while wholly putting the blame of their own pain or misfortune on the abused.

Abusers Keep You “Outside The Circle”

An emotional abuser will exclude you not only from their heart, from their good will and from their approval, they will also exclude you from their activities.

If you feel that your partner is making plans without you, if they are taking part in activities without you and if they are keeping secrets from you, disappearing and reappearing at will while refusing to explain their movements, you are likely in a relationship with someone who is abusing you in multiple ways.

Abusers Make You Doubt Yourself

Everybody feels self-doubt, sometimes, which makes this behavior so destructive and so effective.

Sometimes an emotional abuser will deliberately lie to you to confuse you and make you doubt your perceptions.

They will make you doubt their own observations, memory and sanity.

Sometimes they will argue and wear you down until you don’t trust what you know is true.

Sometimes they will straight out deny what you saw.

Sometimes they will attack your clarity, your ability to tell right from wrong, your intelligence and your good sense. They will remind you of mistaken perceptions you’ve had in the past or insist on how superior their own intelligence is.

Whatever the tactic, the goal is the same: to destabilize your sense of solidity, competence and self-worth…

… which serves their ultimate goal: control.

Abusers Will Throw You Crumbs

Emotional abuse is about control. And part of control is to keep you “off-center”. So most abusers offer crumbs of love or approval or compliments or buy you gifts in order to keep you in their circle of influence or under their thumb.

It is important not to mistake these crumbs that mimic affection for actual affection, which is evidenced by consistent behavior, not occasional blips or gifts.

Note: most emotional abusers will strategically create these momentary islands of feeling good to keep you hooked. They will surprise you with a meal or a piece of jewelry or a sudden compliment or getaway. They will overdo their apologies when they feel as if their mask will fall away and reveal the cruel abuser beneath.

This keeps the victim clutching onto the hope that “things will change” and the love they so dearly hope for will finally arrive and stay, once and for all.

Emotional Abusers Giveth Then Taketh Away

Someone who loves you will tell you “I love you”.

Someone who is trying to control you will make that offering of love conditional.

They will say, in one form or another, “I love you, but…”

This is not a mere innocent qualifier. It’s a cloaked criticism and, worse, a threat. It suggests that the abuser’s love might be yanked away at any moment.

It’s as if they are standing there with the rug on which you’re standing on in their hands – threatening to pull it out any moment. This is how controllers keep their victims off balance.

Abusers Make You Feel As If You’re Walking on Eggshells

When you are in a relationship with someone who cares about you, you wake up feeling supported, you feel supported during the day and you go to bed and night feeling the safe “nest” of being with someone who has your back.

By contrast, if you are in a relationship with an emotional abuser, you will awaken, live and go to bed in a state of anxiety. You will feel a consistent, irritating discomfort that you will unknowingly offend, insult, upset or provoke your partner into anger, disappointment or rage.

There is a very powerful saying that the first time you get abused you are a victim. But the second time, you are an accomplice.

Pay close attention to these 37 Red Flags above. As soon as you can call your partner on these hidden “control” tactics and ask them to consider changing their behavior, do so.

If they belittle you for feeling hurt, isolated or manipulated, let them know that this hurts you even more.

If they express concern, there is hope for your relationship. Let them know that there are behaviors that have to change for you to stay in the relationship.

If they are open to that, there is hope that change is possible.

If they are not open to change, not open to professional help to assist you in creating new habits, then chances are they never will. Not until you are prepared to leave.

And leaving, when it comes to dealing with an emotional abuser, may be your best choice and the beginning of your freedom, your joy and your true life as a whole, self-expressed adult.

Nothing less than your emotional health and happiness is at stake.

Want to find out if you should break up with him? Click here to take our quick (and shockingly accurate) “Should You Break Up With Him” Quiz right now and find out if you should break up with him..

Take The Quiz: Should You Break Up With Him?

In summary…

These Are The Warning Signs Of Emotional Abuse In A Relationship

  • Abusers make mean jokes, and criticize and judge you negatively
  • Abusers humiliate their partners
  • Abused partners feel shame or guilt most of the time
  • An abusive partner will find multiple opportunities to point out what you are doing wrong
  • An emotional abuser will create a sense of “shame” in you
  • Abusers will tell you that you are so “bad” that nobody else would take or love you
  • Abusers refuse to talk about your hurt
  • An emotional abuser doesn’t want to hear about your pain, except to reinforce that you deserve whatever pain you feel
  • If your partner indicates they have no time to talk about what worries, scares or inspires you, notice if it’s part of a pattern
  • Abusers want you to wallow in your pain
  • Abusers use the “silent treatment” to punish you after a fight, or for saying or doing something they don’t approve of, or for no apparent reason at all
  • Emotional abusers keep you on a short leash
  • Abusers keep you “outside the circle”
  • Abusers make you doubt yourself
  • Abusers will throw you crumbs
  • Emotional abusers giveth then taketh away
  • Abusers make you feel as if you’re walking on eggshells

signs of emotional abuse in a relationship

78 comments… add one
  • Inigo Montoya October 7, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Ok, am I the abuser or am I the abused?

    I work a full time job, do the dishes, the laundry, clean when I can, auto repairs and yard work, and run my wife who doesn’t drive everywhere she wants to go. I am not expressive to her and I don’t really show that I care. I also don’t do anything for her because I didn’t take a day off to go to Ren Faire.

    Constantly I hear how I’m a horrible husband because I don’t please her sexually and that she’s looking for other men to have sex with. She’s admitted to screwing around with other guys before we “agreed” to an “open” relationship. I have stuck to my vows and not done anything outside the marriage she doesn’t know about (one time she got us into a group sex situation with someone whom she knows, I was not asked.) She’s constantly berating me for working overtime when a server goes down, constantly berating me for not doing the dishes daily (we don’t have kids and she makes most of the dishes.) She cooks about 30% of our meals, I cook about 15% (though according to her making hamburger helpers with a veg is not cooking) and we eat out the rest of the time.

    She occasionally checks my blood sugars at night and then complains about “being my nurse” and “I take care of you all the time.” While I hear daily how sick and in pain she is. We go to the doctors and they find nothing wrong.

    I managed the money as best I can, almost 1/6 of my income goes to her medical problems, however we can’t afford the medicines I need to stay alive. She has threatened to kill me for not getting all of her medical supplies, she’s kicked a hole in the wall, threatened to burn down the house, threatened to kick me, destroyed a laptop I gave her, thrown a boot at my head and put a dent in the wall, thrown books at the wall and destroyed an electrical faceplate.

    I can’t hang out with my friends because I came home late one night 9 years ago. I can’t go anywhere without having someone with me due to my medical condition, and Ren Faire is her vacation, yet I don’t get a vacation. I get to stay home and work on the house.

    At one point she decided she was in love with a dude online and berated me for not teaching her how to drive so she could get a job and leave, but strangely every time we agree to go driving she finds something minor to get enraged over so she can’t drive.

    It’s my fault her car is broken down, I’ve been working on her car (which she still can’t drive) rather than my truck which I drive to work daily. Somehow I’m also supposed to find a better paying job so “we’ll” have more money to spend. She has to have 200$ a month in spending money but if I eat out once a week I’m a horrible person.

    Am I perfect? By no means, and admit as much daily, but even when I validate something she is saying I get screamed at for “making her feel stupid.”

    • Lisa October 13, 2017, 11:07 am

      She sounds like an emotional vampire. First may I say that the sleeping around open relationship is destroying y’all and at this point I don’t see how on Earth you will be able to make it.

  • Jo September 29, 2017, 2:54 am

    So true. Women can be so very abusive too. I wish there was an article on this for children. This happens heartbreakingly often to foster and adopted children.

  • J September 18, 2017, 10:15 pm

    Psychological mistreatment is devastating. I’ve been dealing with this for almost 8 years now and it’s progressively getting worse. My spouse gets meaner and meaner as time goes on and the more I try to preserve my dignity the more he tries to pick me apart. It’s gotten to a point of him criticizing me for crying.
    It’s hard to believe that at the beginning of our relationship I was completely independent with a good job, raising 3 kids on my own. I don’t recognize myself anymore. My self esteem has eroded away to nothing.
    If you are reading this and it’s early on and there are red flags, run. People who love you don’t belittle you, humiliate you or try to control you. And you can’t change mean people. They will remain mean regardless of how much you love them.

    • Lisa October 13, 2017, 11:09 am

      I’ve lost myself too. My joy is gone and I’m severely depressed and in pain all over my body. I see no way I can ever be happy again

  • Rod September 15, 2017, 1:14 pm

    Hi, I’m in an abusive relationship now myself. I’ve been married for 12 years. I would’ve left her if I didn’t have two small sons, 11 and 6. Criticism, put-downs, humiliation is constant in my life. She blames me for everthing bad that happens to her, or the children. My life is a roller coaster right now. Sometimes I occasionally don’t feel that bad, and there are moments when I feel down, really down, most of the time maybe. She criticises my likes, my dislikes, my job, the music I listen to, the things I read. It’s as if I should regret having been born at all. I think now I’m not in love with her, it can’t be love. It is pure fear of her instead which keeps me paralysed. She criticises me out loud so that the children can hear her. I want to protect my sons. I don’t know how yet. I hope this ends well soon, for my children’s good.
    hope to keep posting with better news

    • Lisa October 13, 2017, 11:11 am

      I feel the same way about the criticism! Omg so on target! It’s killed all of who I was !

  • Jay August 19, 2017, 1:00 am

    Hi to everyone I just want to say that some women can also be abusive I was in a relationship long ago when I to was hurt emotionally and would be told that I wouldn’t add up to anything and would be talked down to I felt like I was a nobody and I even thought of ending my life but I didn’t
    My point is that we are not bad people

    I have been abused emotionally and verbally, and bullied

  • vm August 4, 2017, 8:38 pm

    been together for 3 years and married for 26 years, this have been happening to me all my married life and I didn’t realize it until reading this today, because he’s getting worst lately. because he has a lot of aches and pains and 13 years older than me, he’s not a very bad person, I still love him, I don’t want to leave him because I want to take care of him. I now feel that the best way out is to kill myself so that I don’t have to worry about his wellbeing.

    • lisa August 20, 2017, 7:11 pm

      Please find a better choice. I know how discouraging this can feel. Suicide isn’t the answer. Get help. My situation is such that I can’t easily extricate myself but I will find a way to be happy and free. This is MY life. I will have it on my own terms. If not now; I’ll find a way. You should too.

    • Lisa October 13, 2017, 11:12 am

      Please don’t kill yourself. Lean on Jesus ok

  • Turinia August 1, 2017, 8:44 pm

    This is exactly where I am at right now. Its sad when people take advantage of someone this way. Mainly by doing the little things they do to keep you thinking there is hope for change when really its only getting worse. Im so heart broken to realize just how mucb of this applies to my life right now. I knew but now I know. Time to wake up. I deserve better. We all do.

  • carrie July 12, 2017, 9:20 pm

    this is a good article, but it feels gender biased to me. my niece is, in fact, the abuser in the relationship with her boyfriend. she learned it from her mother who is a big time mental case psycho. my niece totally humiliates her bf in front of people by criticizing everything he does, she belittles him, she never offers compliments or gestures of affection to him and when she does offer something its always sarcastically and with conditions. she acts the victim over the smallest thing, she is never wrong, she never apologizes to him, she never admits when she is wrong……anytime he does the smallest thing he is the worst human being on earth. she is the mirror image of my psychotic sister and its very concerning. women can be so much more emotionally abusive than men, and i think its important to explore that as well.

  • zinhle wendy May 8, 2017, 12:05 pm

    I just need a cancelling in my relationship

  • Sherry April 6, 2017, 10:19 am

    I married my husband 8 months after we had met and we have been married 8 months now. He was my night in shining armour at first. Always being attentive, affectionate and loving. But as time went on our personalities started to clash because I’ve always been strong willed and independent. His opinion of himself is he is a man’s man and get doesn’t deal with bs very well from anybody. He has an ego the size of the state of Texas and is always bragging on himself. What a good guy he is and how smart he is, brags on his looks…..ect. he says he doesn’t have an ego that he is just confident in himself. Well I see him as being a narcasist and told him that once and he exploded in a fit of rage. He first started alienating me from my friends and family telling me they are no good. That my friends are pill heads and he don’t want me talking to them. He told me that my 3 grown children are ass holes because they don’t like him. None of my friends and family like him and don’t want nothing to do with him. He wouldn’t move into my house with me because he doesn’t like my 18 year old son because he is lazy. So I left my beautiful 4 bedroom home on 3 acres to my son and practically abandoned him to move in with my husband into a gas station that he had turned into a small studio apartment where there was no sink, stove and the bathroom was wide open which consists of a toilet and shower in which the hot water tank went out and he hasn’t replaced it. He runs a auto body shot out of this place in the back. I gave up everything I had for this? Oh yeah and the place doesn’t have windows so I felt like I was living in a dungeon with no where to put my things so I had to carry my clothes and necessities back and forth from my house that was 30 miles away and I done this every day just to make him happy. Every spare minute of my time was with him because he pretty much had me on a time schedule because I work every day. So I started bringing it to his attention that I felt like he was being controlling but of course he disagreed because the fact he let’s me work so therefore he must not be controlling. He went through my phone on several accasions reading my text from my kids and friends. Checking to see who called me and ect but yet he says he isn’t controlling. Yeah right. I bent over backwards to try and be a good wife and make him happy. He pressured me into start smoking pot with him along with getting drunk every night just so my true feelings would be numb so I would be blind to what was going on. So we got into an argument one night about how he didn’t want to admit he has problems and the next thing I know I was laying in bed and he comes over, gets on top of me and pins my arms down and starts choking me until I almost passed out then he slapped me hard in my face and started clawing my face and wouldn’t let go even tho I was begging him to. He then punched the wall and said he would knock my mf’n teeth out. I was all bruised up the next day but it was my grand daughters b-day so I went to her party but people noticed the bruises even tho I tried covering them with makeup. Everyone told me to leave him but I wouldn’t listen because I love this man so much. To me I kept trying to see all his good side and not the bad. He would still show me affection and cater to me, buy me things when I was at the apartment. Everything I’ve ever been missing in a man except the bad part. He manipulates me into believing all our problems are my fault and if I disagree with him or stand up to him than I’m being mean. Everything bad about him he says isn’t true and that I’m describing myself. He blames me for every argument we have and won’t take blame for nothing. I’m back at my house right now trying to get my life together enough to where I can permanently be done with him. He is the most abusive man I’ve ever know. Wish me luck and pray for me please. I have a long road ahead of me.

    • Charlie April 7, 2017, 10:31 pm

      Hey there.. just to let you know I am going through similar situation, but he was only my boyfriend, and Ive always refused to move in with him. He was also extremely emotionally abusive to me, to that point where he would crash all dreams (as they have included me going away) telling me I live in a fairy tale, I’m not being realistic, and I wont be able to achieve it because I’m this and this and this. Basically making me fell so small all the time. He took pride in being a ”cunt” whenever I asked him why he’s being like this he said: Well I’m just a cunt. Like this is something you can take pride in. Be a cunt to everyone else but not your girlfriend that you apparently love so much, that would make you a man… Desperately trying to get me back, turning up at my work place claiming I’m his girlfriend so I had to get back with him, he would never leave me alone, constantly finding new ways to contact me just to tell me that I cheated (never ever have in my life, not on him, not on anyone else) that I’m a slut (Wow, nowhere near a slut) because I want this to end, it means Ive got someone else, he says he’s gonna beat them up (Theres no-one there tho!!) and get someone else to beat me up! And said if he finds out that it happened while we were together he said he will kill us both. Funny thing is, he’s the one to have had someone else while we split up before. I don’t know how long after our break up (We got back together after less than 3 weeks? ) But he was then already with someone else, telling her he loved her and everything… But Im not allowed to think that SHE was there all the time, even though they got together barely few days after our break up? It’s always the guilty ones isn’t it… That is my theory, this is something he would have done or has done, that is why he thinks I will/ have done it. He is also the most abusive, horrible person I have ever met. Long road ahead of me as the police is now (for the 3rd time) involved but this time I want to put a statement in and since he has threatened to call my work place and tell them that I smoke weed (against the policy at my work place but I do it to relax and open my mind, something I’m just comfortable with) but he is the one that will get in trouble, as I’m planning on showing all the emails he has sent me and all the other text messages just to prove what he has been saying to me and how abusive, controlling it was and how he was trying to constantly belittle me and tell him that I cant do it, cant do it without him, how he was always trying to keep me isolated from my family and friends. I hope he gets done for that, abusive man deserve nothing. Keep strong and you are not alone. There is good coming your way. You deserve it. Just believe in it and please try and stay positive and calm. And you will see the good in your life just let it enter your life. Don’t build barriers, have courage to let it in. And we both will be happily settled one day. Good luck x

    • Lisa October 13, 2017, 11:25 am

      Omg my heart hurts for you. I really hope your doing better . Prayers to Jesus for you.

  • Robbin leasure March 28, 2017, 9:07 pm

    I have been mental abuse for 16 years please help for some advice thank you!!

  • SUZZY March 22, 2017, 9:24 am

    I really need to help my sister but I don’t know what advice to give her. She’s 25 and engaged to a guy that’s almost 15 years older than her. At first she was really happy and everything was fine even though our mother didn’t quite like he age gap myear sister was head over heels. They’ve been together for 4years and been engaged for a year now and they both moved over to start a life in Europe. They also have had a baby daughter. Things have taken a different turn in my sisters life. She’s lost all focus she’s constantly crying she complains of how this man calls her all sorts of names, compares her with his exes and makes her feel worthless she’s lost all confidence he stopped her from being on any social media platform out of his jealously. My sister who once had so many dreams and aspirations seem to be loosing it all. He doesn’t let her spend her own money and monitors everything she does. She yells at her and chastises her in front of his mum and many a time belittle her. He even ignores her emotional needs and if he does some high wrong and my sister were to find out and ask him about it he becomes angry and even ignores her or try to make her feel guilty. There are occasions when he has even physically attacked her and beaten her up. My sister ( karen) refuses to say his to anyone else but me because she’s afraid to do anything or embarrassed thst she was warned and bound didn’t listen. She complains that her partner even treats her like a nanny rather than the mother of their child. He shows affection to the child to spite and and makes her feel like she’s non existent he’s even threatened to take the child away from her. My sister has had suicidal thoughts and I am very afraid for her life because most times she’s alone with the baby and we don’t live in the same country she has no one around she can confide in but me.I have run out of ideas on what to say to courage her. She’s been put in a place that’s too tight for her shoes even ashamed to etc out of the house as she feels too low of herself. Yet still she’s refused to call the police when hints get physical because sometimes she says she doesn’t want to hurt him and that she’s worried hat people.will laugh at her thato she’s not being patient and that there are people.who have been married for decades and went through worse and coped with it so she doesn’t want to be an odd case that maybe things will get better. PLEASE HELP ME HELP HER.

  • NoLongerAbused March 17, 2017, 12:55 am

    If you are being abused (emotionally and/or physically) please get help, find a support system, confide in family and friends, and try to leave that relationship as soon as you can. Your abuser will never change, even if they promise to.

  • Unknown February 12, 2017, 1:37 am

    It can be very hard when they tell you they love you, then deny ever even saying that, it’s herrendous

    • Michael March 20, 2017, 11:05 pm

      They tell you they love you but their actions speak louder than their useless prognostications. They love themselves and that is all, if they’re capable of loving anything which….? Who cares. It’s a hurt locker for you one way or the other.

  • Unknown February 12, 2017, 1:36 am

    I have been in this same exact situation for far too long, I do not know what to do, how to live, or who I am. I am constantly thrown a bone only to have it taken away and I am always the one to blame no matter what. I don’t know what to do or why another human being could be such a way to innocent loving eyes

  • Linda February 6, 2017, 9:36 pm

    I been with my husband for 25 years and married for 12 years. In the last 6 years he has been putting me down, gets mad when my family comes to visit. Yells and finds little stuff to argue about. Get angry when my dad calls to check on me. State he was not raised like me and when you get married, you shouldn’t need your family. I am at the point where I cannot take it no more. I am very unhappy and is at the point where I want to leave the marriage.

    • Jaana March 16, 2017, 11:30 pm

      What really made ME leave my abuser, was my longing to get ME back. I no longer recognized myself, dwelling in self-doubt, emotionally deprived, unable to parent myself or my children on a spiritual level. I lost my will, my energy, my spirit and my sense if joy. I watched it happen gradually as every time I expressed a concern or an emotion that did not FEED HIS ego I would be punished. Through withdrawl, isolation, silent treatment, belittlement and above all, through constant questioning of my integrity. The months before leaving were hell. I was under constant attack from the moment I woke up to the very second I closed my eyes. So I strongly suggest you make your break for freedom in secret. Secure your finances and then go absolute no-contact. If you cannot keep it secret, go “grey rock”. OMG didn’t that drive him bunkers as I stopped feeding his inner, enotional void. Good luck to you!

  • Sandy February 2, 2017, 5:28 pm

    Since my husband and I have been together 7 yrs now married 4 he has never changed his lifestyle I work full time he works for himself so he can work when he wants so while I’m working he’s hanging out with friends going to any and all functions going on I feel left out he says he can’t help it if I have to work I tell him I’m depressed and lonley unhappy he days I’m not responsible for your happiness if we get into an argument he shuts down and gives me the silent treatment for days sometimes weeks he tells me if I want to do counseling I need to set it up and he will come but then leaves for a week no calls no text he never cared if we have food on the house he eats out alot and when it comes to him pitching in for bills he always starts an argument he blames my kids for our problems and most of the time had nothing to do with the kids I feel insecure jealous and depressed I start thinking that I’m the one with something wrong I feel there’s no unity in our relationship is it me?

    • Shana February 7, 2017, 1:10 am

      No its not your fault my boyfriend do me the same exact way and it hurt so bad. It just them being a very selfish suppose to be a man nobody. I myself don’t no what to do except pray, and I sincerely hope the best for you too because I clearly understand.

      • M February 22, 2017, 11:35 pm

        Ladies you need to stop blaming yourselves and leave these men. Please read up on Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It’s a psychological disorder and they can only function by abusing a partner and getting their self esteem by pushing someone else down. They do all this to break you. In truth they never love anyone just themselves. Mayo clinic has a great article explaining the disorder. Please don’t think you can change or fix or rescue them. They will never admit what they’re doing but they often know that their behavior hurts and harms you.

  • jeff January 27, 2017, 8:49 pm

    I have been in abusive relationships where i have been physically attacked among other forms of abuse by the women I was with. I am not a perfect person, but I am not abusive or controlling. The assumption that only women can be victims is very wrong,
    hurtful, and counter-productive. The questionnaire on this page makes the assumption that it is men who are abusers by asking, ” is it time to leave him” ? this is wrong. other than that, I agree with the descriptions of abuse here.

  • Mira January 22, 2017, 1:49 am

    I had a partner who was so “in love with me” that he blackmailed me into entering a relationship with him. I was a teenager at the time and I knew if my parents had found out what he was keeping secret about me, I’d be screwed. I figured at the time that I could just get him to break up with him. I tried being distant but he just started threatening me with physical abuse. So I started manipulating and emotionally abusing him. I never put him down, I made sure not to break his spirit but I essentially made him a mental slave. He and I had been friends for years prior to this. He knows I have ASPD. Only an idiot tries to threaten a sociopath.

    • M February 23, 2017, 12:02 am

      I had an ex who tried to use all the ways possible to control and emotionally abuse me but I resisted. I triggered everything in him and made him so mad that all his issues came out and he even tried to manipulate me emotionally with hot and cold behavior. Thank god I did not marry him because I knew he was disturbed and he needed to change and his own bad habits had spoilt his health. I knew what abuse is and that I’m never gona take it. Facing bullies in childhood helped form that resolve. My ex tried to use my secrets to hurt me and threaten me. After we broke up I realised he was playing and trying to manipulate me and I got to know about narcissistic personality disorder. I rubbed that in his face and till today I give it to him now and then. He deserves it. A couple of months after we broke up he found a divorced female who apparently has two kids (this is yet to be confirmed as he’s not yet married her and is hiding all the details from his extended family and isolating the girl from everyone). So he tricked her by love bombing and now she’s engaged to him. He also claims that they have got registered already. I just pray that female wakes up and leaves him ASAP. And if need be gets an annulment. Divorce is always an option later. I just hope he doesn’t get her pregnant soon cz then she may be quite broken to leave him. I just pray she finds his behavior fishy and gets out. Good thing your story is also of the past!

      • M February 23, 2017, 12:05 am

        Thankfully our relationship was long distance so he wrote me several abusive and sick things with regards to me and my family. So I have all this proof showing what he is truly is to anyone interested and even shared some of the choice stuff with few of his distant family members. I have laughed at him and emotionally toyed with him in return for his disgusting behavior. Someone has to be the ass kicking of karma.

  • susan December 2, 2016, 12:49 pm

    Tried to take the quiz, it only aloud me to answer for questions. When it got to the question about the color of the relationship? It would not let me select. I repeated it but I just had to come out. The article was very enlightening. Oh yeas I saw the signs and I have moved on. Thank God for seeing, and having the courage to move on. I always say no on is going to still my joy. This was a 1 year “something ship”

  • Isabelle November 14, 2016, 8:37 am

    “There is a very powerful saying that the first time you get abused you are a VICTIM. But the second time, YOU ARE AN ACCOMPLICE.”
    THAT IS A DIRECT QUOTE FROM THIS ARTICLE, 8th paragraph before the end.
    This is LITERALLY an article about emotional abuse and you put in a quote that says IT’S THE VICTIMS FAULT? REALLY?!!! !? RUFKM!??
    There was no need to put that in the article. What purpose does that serve?
    Especially since one of the hallmarks of this kind of abuse is how hard it can be to recognize. Which your own article describes as “SNEAKY”
    and “SUBTLE”. Victims, including children, often blame themselves for all kinds of abuse. Victim-blaming and victim-shaming is a huge barrier to getting out and getting help.
    I honestly thought that most of this article was excellent but when I got to the paragraph which says I am an “ACCOMPLICE” in my own abuse, I had to read it again.
    ACCOMPLICE; which LITERALLY means I am working in unison with my own abuser, helping them abuse me. Therefore it is MY fault that I’m being abused.
    That is fucking outrageous!
    That is really, really,really, messed up.

    That awful quote only adds guilt, shame and blame to a victim who has already had enough of that.
    SO much in fact, that they’ve gone to the internet to find out about it and now they’re being told that it’s THEIR fault.

    Here are two inspirational quotes about abuse that I found that are far more relevant and helpful than yours:

    “Often it isn’t the initiating trauma that creates seemingly insurmountable pain, but the lack of support after”
    -S. Kelley Harrell

    “Don’t judge yourself by what others did to you.”
    -C. Kennedy, Ómorphi

    Thank you and good luck,

    • k November 15, 2016, 10:49 pm

      you are amazing seriously thank you i was like lmao WTF so invalidating and blaming and shaming and terrible christ
      <3 <3 <3 to all isabelles of the world

    • Unknown February 12, 2017, 1:39 am

      Wonderfully stated

    • Lisa October 13, 2017, 11:19 am

      I absolutely agree with you

  • Cie October 16, 2016, 5:50 am

    I’ve been In abusive relationship for 11 years my husband is the best manipulator there is . He has everyone fooled . Outside hes a upstanding gentlemen ready to lend a helping hand, you know the all american family man . But in actuality he’s a pill popping, flirtations, verbally abusive, bum. He come and go’s as he pleases comes home all hours of the night. He says that being at home with the kids and I is just boring Its my fault that he neglects us. while I raise my children alone he sits on his ass and dictates and criticizes everything I do whatever I do is not enough. He tells me I don’t know how to cook he’s been eating better else where. I cant drive, I’m not a good mother I have no common sense .He tells others I just want him with me all the times. He makes others think that I am incapable of doing anything right and makes me seem as if I am dumb. He says I deserve what I get he he doesn’t care about my feelings he has no empathy. I left my family for this man I have no friends because of this man. Please If your going through something similar to what I am please get out don’t lose 11 years like I did on someone who is incapable of loving you love shouldn’t be so hard it should feel light.

    • Unknown February 12, 2017, 2:09 am

      I understand, but why don’t you get out? I’ve been in the same boat, why do you stay??

  • Kay October 13, 2016, 3:13 pm

    I think im in an emotional abusive marriage. This is the first time I’ve said that out loud. I was reading this article & another one before it & I couldn’t get through either without crying. He was belittling me while I was reading it. The “walking on eggshells” really struck a chord with me. And the feelings of shame & guilt, everything is my fault. We’ve been together almost 17 years. Married almost 14. It has been drilled into my head for so many years how everything is my fault that I’ve certainly come to believe it. I no longer have friends. He has created such a huge wall between my family & myself that I don’t even know how to handle it anymore. He hates them all. He talks bad about them all the time. I know they’re not perfect but they’re still my parents, etc. I keep making excuses because his health is bad. Its just his high blood pressure talking or his diabetes. But its all becoming too much. I keep thinking that things will get better when our finances get better or whatever. But the reality of it is, I’m starting to think it will never get better. I take responsibility for everything ive ever done wrong & i know the list is long but i dont think I deserve the way he trwats me anymore. I dont know. Then again, maybe i do.

    • M February 22, 2017, 11:52 pm

      You should try to record his abusive talks and behavior for all the world to see. Show it to your family, his family, out him and restore your name. Show them any of his emails or text messages to you which are abusive and show people the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder (the mayo clinic website has it in good detail) there are many sites where you can get good references of the disorder. Restore your name and know that you are too empathetic and your only fault is being too empathetic with an evil person.

      Please get out and get help. If necessary please record and make your children record his bad behavior and threaten to expose him. This could help you secure your freedom.

      Or just stop caring about his ranting and raving, get a job and live your life. Stop being his slave. That’s another option.

  • Retha Griffin October 5, 2016, 3:34 pm

    I can relate to all of these people as well as feelings. I’ve been in it so long that I see no way out ,I don’t even want to talk with my husband about change anymore, I have left so many times that every where I went I never got any help from anyone, and that includes the women’s shelter ! I just thought I would share .I feel as if no one cares or even understands.,its as if they don’t believe me .

  • Rashelle September 21, 2016, 12:03 am

    I’ve been in denial, but I can’t anymore. It’s been 4 years with an emotional abuser. We have two children. I have nothing. No lisence, GED, job. I have no relationship with any of my family because of him. He has all of his though. I have no friends. I don’t even know how to get out. I tried once. He said if I left across the state (abou a mile at that!) to my moms he would have me charged for kidnapping. I have a car, but it’s in his name. I just don’t know what to do. He has 3 other children besides ours that live with us full time. He’s a good dad for the most part. So I don’t want to hit him with charges either. I just don’t know how to get out of it. Everything I do is controlled. The money, where I go. I can’t do anything right unless I’m slaving all day long (literally) I can’t take it anymore. He won’t even talk to me about it. He just gets mad at me and ask why I’m being mean. I’m not being mean. I’m literally over it all and putting my foot down. But obviously not good enough because he hasn’t changed one bit. Just yesterday he called me a phsyco because he said something that hurt my feelings and I started crying about it. I can’t even cry in front of him without being reprimanded. I’m so lost. Help me please on everything I am.

    • optimism December 10, 2016, 12:51 am


      You have to start from somewhere in order to det there. The more you waste time saying “I don’t know what to do, the more time passes that you could have done something. Open the four for yourself and get to know who you are and what you want first. Start taking dome online classes or go to the nearest social service office and get loads of information for women in your situation that want yo start over. Trust me, if you want yo get out, you will and the universe will follow the rest for you if you work at it, but do not expect the answer to just drop on your lap Hun.

      God bless,


      • Unknown February 12, 2017, 2:12 am

        I’m sorry but you don’t understand how trapped she is, she has to choose which hell..to live in, if she leaves , insecure afraid, she basically loses all she loves , she knows he will win, the kids, financially etc. I suggest a better plan, you obviously have never been in her shoes!

    • Unknown February 12, 2017, 2:13 am

      Please email me, I understand!!!!

    • M February 22, 2017, 11:45 pm

      You need to get out. Your husband has the classic signs of narcissistic personality disorder. Please get help from a lawyer or women’s abuse help center/ line. You must move out with your kids but do it in a planned way. There’s a bright future beyond this dark moment. Your husband is unlikely to change unless he gets therapy. But the chances of that are very slim with these people. Please get out. Let him charge you for kidnapping. You’ll prove it wrong. Ask your family for help. Show them the information on narcissistic personality disorder (mayo clinic website has great info). Make them understand what you’re going through and get help and get out. You can do it.

      • M February 22, 2017, 11:52 pm

        You should try to record his abusive talks and behavior for all the world to see. Show it to your family, his family, out him and restore your name. Show them any of his emails or text messages to you which are abusive and show people the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder (the mayo clinic website has it in good detail) there are many sites where you can get good references of the disorder. Restore your name and know that you are too empathetic and your only fault is being too empathetic with an evil person.

        Please get out and get help. If necessary please record and make your children record his bad behavior and threaten to expose him. This could help you secure your freedom.

        Or just stop caring about his ranting and raving, get a job and live your life. Stop being his slave. That’s another option.

  • Margot June 1, 2016, 4:38 pm

    be very mindful how yur partner acts esp when issues arise

  • catriona May 31, 2016, 4:08 pm

    beware of too much jealousy from your partner..this is a huge sign!

  • madeline May 27, 2016, 3:40 pm

    every1 deserves a partner who would cherish & love her 4 who she is

  • avery May 26, 2016, 7:51 pm

    this is saddening but definitely true & happening around us ):

  • elise May 24, 2016, 3:20 pm

    showd this 2 my friend & she finally realizd how shes being abusd in her relationship

  • aubrey May 23, 2016, 5:24 pm

    i hav consistently &repeatedly made fun of, criticized & judgd negatively..i always thought i was the 1 w/ the problm..now i get it

  • alexa May 20, 2016, 3:28 pm

    it sucks when u realize uv been w/ an abusive partner 4 too long & uv been so used 2 it, u dont even know its an unhealthy relationship u r in

  • max May 19, 2016, 5:30 pm

    so true..abusers make u doubt urself & threaten u in most subtle ways

  • sonja May 18, 2016, 6:50 pm

    i think its gr8 that people r making effort in really informing & enlightening women w/ relationships and personal issues

  • lizzy May 18, 2016, 12:45 pm

    this is very informative yet sensitive to its readers gr8 job!

  • tamara May 16, 2016, 1:50 pm

    wow this shocked me, thank u 4 d heads up

  • Vanessa May 13, 2016, 12:57 pm

    thnx 4 d very clear explanation, really an eye opener

  • Anita May 13, 2016, 2:31 am

    if sum1 luvs u, he wont make u feel less of a person at any cost
    instead, hell even make u feel complete

  • solen May 11, 2016, 11:55 pm

    i hav once been threatened by my bf that he’ll stab himself if i break up w/ him, soooo creepy!!

  • pia May 11, 2016, 5:14 am

    negative & critical people will always pull u donw & make u feel less of urself, stay away from them

  • joyce May 10, 2016, 11:31 am

    no1 deserves 2b abused so dnt think that giving ur abusive partner another chance is gona do u any good

  • lovi May 6, 2016, 8:56 pm

    wow, this sounds creepy but really an eye opener esp 4me thx

  • sofia May 6, 2016, 1:31 pm

    red flags can be so subtle, i swear u couldnt even tell ur dealing w/ 1 already.. beware

  • nina May 5, 2016, 6:26 am

    any signs of these on ur partner, walk away! no, u better ruuun!!

  • francesjade May 3, 2016, 9:02 pm

    i hav been abusive too bec of my abusive partner back then. its nver fun 2b wit one so make sure u kno the peron ur hangin out wit bec if not, ull end up being like them & thats not cool.. it took me so long to get back 2 my normal self & dealings esp when it comes 2 being in a relationship..

  • larissajordan May 2, 2016, 3:15 pm

    relationships are meant to be enjoyed, not endured.

  • vivian April 29, 2016, 8:34 pm

    i dnt ever date over-controlling men, scares the heck out of me

  • Lala April 29, 2016, 5:46 am

    a partner who always put the blame on u is an abusive 1

  • aileen April 27, 2016, 12:30 pm

    4 me, emotional abuse is far worse than physical abuse

  • Mindy April 26, 2016, 12:41 pm

    i wont last long in a relationship where i am being criticized and judged too often, i just couldnt take that

  • lauren12 April 21, 2016, 8:15 pm

    never ever let any man abuse you in any way!

  • Chase April 20, 2016, 6:58 pm

    insults & threats R definitely big warning signs… B on the look out.

  • norlynjoy April 19, 2016, 6:55 pm

    this is why i make sure i get 2 kno a guy’s character b4 jumping in2 a relationship

  • CarlaMD April 18, 2016, 4:02 pm

    I have been into an abusive relationship for the longest time and I’m just so happy that I am now finally free. It was tough as there seemed to be no end to it. This article basically says it all. Good read!

  • Maureen April 15, 2016, 11:29 pm

    thx for d warning. nver thought these red flags could b so subtle u wont even realize ur already being abused!

Leave a Comment