When you’re in an emotionally/verbally abusive relationship, it’s not always easy to spot the warning signs. Physical contact may not be involved, thus the other indications could be subtle—but just as detrimental to your confidence and mental health. Here are some ways your partner may be exerting negative control.
Calling you names, insulting you or continually criticizing you
By putting you down, they are trying to make you believe you’re beneath them. The abuser is all about ensuring he has the upper hand in the relationship.
Refusing to trust you and acting jealous or possessive
You’ve never given your partner any reason to believe that you’re being disloyal to them, but they’re constantly accusing you of cheating. Meanwhile, they may be the one cheating on you to intentionally try to hurt you. And when the truth surfaces, they blame you for their behavior.
Monitoring where you go, who you call and who you spend time with
If you’re in this relationship, the abuser will do their best (or rather, worst) to isolate you from your family or friends. They’re possessive of your time. They may also isolate you for fear that your loved ones will find out the truth about how they’re treating you.
Punishing you by withholding affection
Emotional abusers are master manipulators. One second, they’re showering you with affection and “love”, making you believe that things are starting to look up. The next, their affection quickly snaps into abuse due to a mistake you made (or one that they led you to believe that you made).
Threatening to hurt you, the children, your family or your pets
If they’re not actually physically hurting you, they’re likely threatening to hurt you or your loved ones in order to instill fear. And when you react, they make you feel like it’s your fault or that you deserve the abuse. Once again, this all leads back to their obsession for control.
Humiliating you in any way
One of the reasons why those involved in emotionally abusive relationships may stay with their partners is because of the shame and embarrassment they would have to deal with, afraid their family and friends will judge them. Instead, they may put up with the humiliation that their abuser makes them feel.
According to The National Hotline for Domestic Violence, gaslighting is an extremely effective form of emotional abuse that causes a victim to question their own feelings, instincts and sanity, which gives the abusive partner a lot of power. The abuser will use a variety of techniques to either trivialize the partner’s concerns or deny a series of events that occurred—making the abused partner feel as if they’re overreacting, remembering things incorrectly or just imagining things/scenarios.
Attempting to control your appearance
Whether they’re ridiculing you for wearing certain outfits or wearing too much makeup, the abuser won’t let you get away with dressing yourself without receiving their approval. Their control over you isn’t just an inside job.
Telling you that you will never find anyone better, or that you are lucky to be with a person like them
Sadly, another reason why many of those involved in an emotionally abusive relationship choose to stay is because they never had a model for what a healthy relationship should look like. They may have grown up in a household absent of a loving atmosphere, so they can’t register that the relationship they are involved in is seriously destructive. This gives the abuser ammo to force their partner into thinking they deserve this relationship or that their issues are typical of other couples.
Adapted by http://www.thehotline.org. If you or someone you know is suffering emotional or verbal abuse, get help now.