It can be hard to tell when you’re the one who’s in an unhealthy relationship, especially when it comes to emotional abuse. Unlike physical abuse, it can be more subtle, thus harder to recognize. This type of abuse can destroy any positive image you have of yourself. If you feel this way, there are many ways to find help. The two best options are confiding in family and friends, or seeking professional help. Whatever you decide, there are people who will support you and help you get out of this relationship. It’s important to recognize the following behaviors.
He uses your insecurities against you
When you’re in a relationship, you should be able to trust the person with your whole self. If you confide in him about any uncertainties you have about yourself, and he uses these insecurities to exert control over you, it’s a sign of abuse.
He speaks on your behalf
Being with someone who doesn’t let you speak your mind is damaging to a person’s self-esteem. If you’re with someone like this, you might feel as if your opinions are constantly invalidated. Never let anyone put you down; in a healthy relationship, you should always feel free to say what you please (within reason).
He denies everything
This is a form of manipulative behavior that can lead to serious self-doubt. For example, he makes promises and denies that he made them in the first place, or certain conversations “never happened” when you know they did. Your trust in yourself, your memory and in your judgment start to become impaired.
He challenges everything you say
In relationships, the occasional argument is completely normal. In an abusive relationship, the type of argument you have with your partner is wholly different. Instead of offering a different set of opinions or arguing his side, he will constantly question what you think. This makes it extremely difficult to come to a compromise or have any type of intellectual conversation. Their passive-aggressive behavior can, once again, have a belittling effect on your self-image.
You feel the need to ask for permission
This is a classic sign of emotional abuse. It means that the man you’re with has—either subtly or noticeably—been exerting control over you, thus undermining your independence. If he tells you that you can’t be friends with certain people or that you can’t go to certain places, then you’re in an unhealthy and unbalanced relationship. In a situation like this, where a man has been slowly chipping away at your self-confidence, it might be best to seek out professional help.