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Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse

1. Your partner attacks your self-worth and criticizes you

Being demeaned by your partner is a clear sign of emotional abuse. If they are constantly putting you down, calling you names, criticizing your behavior, and suggesting you are worthless, this is a big red flag. Particularly if it happens in front of other people with the intention of humiliating you. Everyone deserves a partner who respects them (flaws and all); a relationship where insults and criticism are the norm is toxic.

2. Your partner controls your appearance

Oftentimes, emotional abuse takes place when a woman’s partner wants to control how she looks. Examples include forcing or coercing a partner to lose weight, remove body hair, or dress a certain way. In this situation, the woman is led to feel that she is undesirable unless she changes her appearance to suit the male partner’s preference.

3. Your partner shares sensitive information about you

Another sign of emotional abuse is a partner who shares sensitive information about you with others. For example, a woman might be sensitive about the fact that she is overweight and plans to start seeing a nutritionist. The woman asks her partner not to tell anyone about it. If her partner shares the information anyway, emotional abuse is in effect. In this case, the abusive partner may diminish her confidence and increase feelings of vulnerability.

4. Your partner shuts conversations down

This is a classic sign of emotional abuse. Abusers are not interested in mutual understanding. They simply want to coerce and control their partners into submission. One way this takes place is when the abuser prevents his partner from speaking. They may cut you off mid-sentence, walk away from the conversation, or talk over you until you give up and the abuser feels they have “won” the argument. This is a form of emotional abuse that makes the victim feel that her voice has no value.

5. Your partner gaslights you

Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic that abusive partners will often use. Gaslighting refers to when an abuser tries to control a victim by twisting their sense of reality or making them doubt what they experienced. Examples of gaslighting include telling a victim “that never happened,” or “that’s not what I said,” which can cause the victim to question their memory and rely more on the reality that their abuser creates. Another common form of gaslighting is being told “you’re crazy” or “you’re too sensitive” to invalidate your feelings and discredit you.

6. Your partner crosses boundaries

Creating boundaries is a way for couples to maintain strong relations while simultaneously having a sense of self and independence. For example, you and your partner might have a joint account while also maintaining independent accounts. If a man charges a purchase to his partner’s account without her permission, he’s crossed a boundary. If boundary-breaking happens repeatedly, this jeopardizes the victim’s sense of safety and independence.

7. Your partner monitors your activities or conversations

If your partner constantly checks your text messages, call history, emails, or browser history, this controlling behavior is a form of emotional abuse. It forces you into a constant fear of being watched or scrutinized, and makes it difficult to reach out to others when you need help.

8. Your partner isolates you from family and friends

Emotionally abusive partners may try to isolate the victim from their friends and family members. The abuser does not want the victim to have a social network because others may question his controlling actions and attitudes. In some cases, an emotionally abusive spouse or partner will forbid a woman to maintain a friendship after the friend calls out his inappropriate behavior. Isolating their victim from others is also a way for an abuser to secure their victim’s state of dependence on them, making it harder to leave.

9. You have to ask your partner for permission to leave the house

This is a clear sign of emotional abuse. With this type of controlling behavior, the abuser wants to ensure that he always knows where the other person is. Additionally, this type of behavior is a psychological trick that makes the victim experience self-doubt about her ability to be independent, complete important tasks, set and accomplish goals, etc.

10. Your partner asks you to compromise your morals

Like most people, you probably have a sense of right and wrong that helps you maintain a sense of ethical selfhood. Yet in many cases, an emotionally abusive partner will compromise this healthy way of living by asking you to do or say things that violate your moral code. One common example is a man pressuring a woman for sex despite the fact that she has already stated she is not ready for this level of physical intimacy. Another example would be asking a partner to lie on their behalf. Here, the victim’s sense of self is damaged if they feel they’ve deviated from the values that make them a good person.

11. Your partner demeans your dreams

Emotionally abusive individuals are typically frightened at the idea of a partner realizing their dreams. This is because the abuser wants the victim to depend on him for a sense of self-worth and fulfillment. For this reason, it is common for abusers to make fun of the victim’s dream. The goal of this behavior is to discourage the victim from acting independently, developing self-confidence, or gaining the resources necessary to leave if the abuse becomes unbearable. An example of demeaning the victim’s dream would be learning that the partner wants to go to college and stating “That’s stupid. You don’t need a degree to take care of the kids and clean the house.”

If you are suffering emotional abuse, please contact our office at: (954)-280-2056, to schedule an appointment with one of our mental health care professionals, your mental health it’s a priority for us!

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