Most people only think of domestic abuse in the form of violence. But, in reality, there are many different forms of abuse, including physical, emotional, and sexual. In fact, almost half of all men and women in the United States experience emotional abuse in their lifetimes.
Although common, many people do not know the signs of an emotionally abusive relationship. And once the relationship has turned abusive, most victims struggle to break free.
Are you worried that your relationship isn’t healthy? Keep reading to learn the top signs that your partner may be emotionally abusing you.
They’re Gaslighting You
You may have heard this term before, but what exactly does it mean? Well gaslighting is the act of manipulating a person to create self-doubt and uncertainty. Over time, they’ll start to question themselves and their reality.
Someone who is gaslighting you will often lie and tell you that you’re remembering things incorrectly. They may also ask you to “prove it” knowing that there’s nothing you can do to prove your story is right.
They’ll also tell you and others that you’re crazy. Not only does this prevent you from seeking help and leaving, but it also manipulates those around you so they may not believe your story if you do reach out.
They Make Threats
The phrase, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” isn’t always true. In fact, words can do a lot of damage, and emotional abusers know just what to say in order to control you.
Making threats is the easiest way to do this. They may say things like “I’m going to take the kids, and you’ll never see them again” or “I’m not giving you any money” if you try to leave or fight against their abuse.
They may also use threats to play the victim. Saying things like, “if you leave, I’ll kill myself” is a way to guilt you into staying while also making you feel responsible for any negative emotions they experience.
They Are Extremely Jealous
Everyone can get a bit jealous at times. But extreme and irrational jealousy is a sign of emotional abuse.
Anyone from a coworker to the bartender who smiled at you can make them jealous. They may even demand that you leave the restaurant or quit your job because of it.
They’ll likely accuse you of cheating on them and will continuously bring it up. You may then feel like you need to prove yourself and your devotion to them by trying your hardest to please them and choosing to spend time with them over loved ones.
They Alienate You
The more people you trust, the harder it is to control you. An emotional abuser wants you to be completely dependent on them and only them.
They may start alienating you by asking you to quit your job because they’re jealous of your coworker. They may then accuse you of having feelings for your friends and start requesting that you don’t see them anymore.
They may also try to convince you that your loved ones are toxic and even create lies to further their cause. Over time, you’ll likely feel as though your abusive partner is the only person you can really trust, and you’ll start to cut contact with your loved ones.
You Don’t Get Any Space
Emotional abusers often try to control their partners while framing it as genuine love and concern. One of the most common ways they do this is by expecting you to answer texts and phone calls right away.
If you wait even a few minutes to respond, they may become irrational and say that they were so worried about you. They may also ask you where you’re going, who you’re going out with, and when you’ll be back anytime you want to leave the house. Again, they will say that they’re just concerned about your safety and make you feel guilty for getting annoyed or angry at their questions.
They Control the Finances
In healthy relationships, both people have equal access to finances, even with one partner is a stay-at-home parent. But in abusive relationships, one partner controls all the finances.
They may ask you to quit your job and transfer all your money into a joint bank account. Once you do this, they’ll likely change the passwords without telling you, so you don’t have access to your money.
Abusers will also often demand that you ask permission before making a purchase or give you a small allowance. Not only does this keep them in control, but it also prevents you from leaving as you won’t have the financial means to do so.
They Criticize You
Perhaps the most obvious sign of emotional abuse is criticism. Your partner may ridicule or scoff at your appearance, ideas, eating habits, or any other lifestyle choice. Some abusers attempt to disguise this by making hurtful jokes at your expense and then further ridiculing you when you get upset.
They’ll also never miss a chance to let you know when you’ve disappointed them. If you let the dishes pile up or make what they perceive as a poor decision, they’ll be quick to make it into a big deal. They may also say things like, “you’re so lucky you have me because nobody else would put up with this” in order to justify their behavior and further control you.
Top Signs of an Emotionally Abusive Relationship
Don’t settle for anything less than a healthy and loving relationship. If you’re experiencing any of the above signs of an emotionally abusive relationship, be sure to reach out for help as soon as possible.
Do you need help recovering from emotional abuse? Then make an appointment today with a trusted and experienced psychologist in Los Angeles.