10 Signs You May Be in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship
Jan 8, 2013 (updated Jan 25, 2014)
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No matter how attractive, old or smart a person is, he or she can be a victim of emotional abuse. Here are some signs of an abusive partner or spouse.
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Emotionally abusive spouses want you all to themselves. They do not understand that you have a life outside of the relationship - one that includes family and friends. It is healthy and normal for you to hang out with other people as well, so if your partner prevents you from doing so, this may be a sign of an emotionally abusive relationship.
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If someone calls you derogatory names, even if they say they are joking, they mean to hurt you and keep you in line. Abusers sometimes cover themselves by blaming you, saying that you need to lighten up or that you are too sensitive. You are not too sensitive; you are feeling in your gut that this is not the way you should be treated.
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If your significant other always blames everything on someone else, namely you, this may be a bad sign. If he or she throws a tantrum or attacks you verbally, he or she will say it was because of you. It is not a sign of a healthy relationship if your partner never takes responsibility and never admits to being at fault.
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Alcohol and drug use
Not all abusers use drugs or drink excessive alcohol, but many do. An addiction can lead to erratic and innappropriate behavior. Substance abuse can be a gateway to emotional abuse and an unhealthy relationship.
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If you feel fear around your partner or spouse, there is something very wrong. Abusers may try to intimidate you with violence, dominance or power tactics. For example, intentionally putting you in possibly harmful situations, or showing you their gun collection and stating they are not afraid to use them.
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Punishes you for time away
This goes along with the isolation technique, where abusers want you all to themselves. If you do go somewhere or do something without your partner, or even if he or she goes along but others are also there, an emotional abuser will punish you later. An abuser may shout, insult, threaten or worse, all because you were not exclusively hanging out with him or her.
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Expects You to Be a Servant
An emotional abuser goes through life feeling entitled to be treated like royalty, and wants you to be a willing servant. He or she expects you to do everything and will not help at all.
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Is extremely jealous
A prominent trait of abusers is their jealousy. An abusive partner or spouse is often jealous of you, other people and even your dreams and goals. Their jealousy and rage over intangible things like your aspirations stem from the lack of control they feel over those aspects of your life.
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Controls you through emotions
An abuser is a grand manipulator and will sulk, threaten to leave, and emotionally punish you for not following their idea of how things should be. An abuser will try to make you feel guilty any time you exert your will and assert what is right for you. At times the abuser may appear to be apologetic and loving; the abuse begins again when the abuser feels he or she has your forgiveness.
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If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, there is a good chance that eventually things may get physical. At first, the abuser might pull your hair, push you, or grab you so hard that you bruise; these may only be warning signs that things can escalate further.
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Both men and women can be victims
It is important to remember that while emotional abuse is often thought of as being committed by a man against a woman, women can also emotionally abuse men, or between members of a same-sex relationship. Emotional abuse in any relationship is not acceptable.