Emotional abuse can be difficult to identify because there are usually no outward signs of the abuse. When we look at an emotionally abusive relationship, one of the patterns we see is that one person is almost always the perpetrator of the abuse and the one with more power in the relationship. Emotional abuse is all about power and control!
Emotional abuse includes all kinds of hurtful behaviors, words, and actions designed to scare, manipulate, intimidate, threaten, isolate and destabilize the one with less power in the relationship. Emotional abuse is very hurtful; many people who have been abused say that the emotional abuse is even more damaging and harder to heal from than physical abuse.
Your abuser may be your ex-or current husband or wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner, or your adult child, care giver or parent. Abuse happens to people of all ages, teenagers in dating relationships, older people, people of all sexual orientations, people who are disabled and people from all racial, cultural, and religious backgrounds.
Emotional Abuse is when:
- Someone uses jealousy and possessiveness as an excuse to make unreasonable demands
- Uses guilt trips to manipulate you
- Tries to control you by telling you what to do or who you can talk to
- Hurts your feelings on purpose and makes you feel bad about yourself
- Keeps tabs on you and checks up on you
- Controls your money
- Manipulates you with sex, by forcing sex or withholding sex
- Tries to cut you off from your friends and family
- Controls your body or decisions about pregnancy
What an abusive relationship feels like:
- You feel confused about whether it’s really abuse because sometimes the other person is nice and fun to be with, or because the abuse is not always obvious
- You find yourself ‘walking on egg shells’ being careful to not upset them
- The abusive person’s needs and opinions dominate in the relationship and you feel controlled by them
Setting Healthy Boundaries is a remedy for an emotionally abusive relationship. It will take time but it is never too late to change the way you interact with others. Good luck!
For more info, female and/or male victims of emotional abuse visit: