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10 Signs You Are In an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

Updated on December 3, 2015

Verbal or emotional abuse will lead to physical abuse nine times out of ten

Abusive relationships using emotions as a weapon typically lead to physical abuse. These kinds of abusers are the ultimate manipulators.
Abusive relationships using emotions as a weapon typically lead to physical abuse. These kinds of abusers are the ultimate manipulators. | Source
Lots of mental health professions admit emotional abuse is as damaging as physical abuse, if not more.
Lots of mental health professions admit emotional abuse is as damaging as physical abuse, if not more. | Source
Love doesn't hurt. Although all couples will have instances where they disagree on a subject, it is never okay to physically or emotionally hurt one another.
Love doesn't hurt. Although all couples will have instances where they disagree on a subject, it is never okay to physically or emotionally hurt one another.

Never look to someone else to make you happy

This is a true statement. Never look to someone else to make you happy. You and another are certainly capable of sharing happiness. Though, anyone looking to someone else for happiness is sorely disappointed.

Make yourself happy. Find a great person to share those wonderful moments with and enjoy life. It really is extremely short.

Emotional abusers are men or women.

An emotional abusive relationship in lots of instances is as damaging to some people as physical abuse. Emotional abuse by a significant other isn’t relegated to a particular sex. Men and women are both guilty of emotional abuse. No matter which one of you is verbally cruel, violent or vicious to the other, it is not healthy.

Signs of emotional abuse begin either subtly or aggressively. However, be aware of these signs and take heed something needs to change for you to be healthy and happy together as a couple. Changes include ending the relationship in order to maintain your emotional health which is also a healthy mental outlook on life. Scars from this type of violence will be lifelong for countless individuals.

These are some signs and symptoms of an abusive situation and what you are capable of doing about it.

Define it

This type of treatment is more than being rude or bad manners in public. This is a sadistic attack on another persons emotions for the ultimate reward of feeling good about yourself. Psychologically attacking or hurting a loved one or significant other through words or deeds purposely is another definition of this ultimate betrayal.

The condemnation towards you is not a single event or time. Whenever this person feels slighted or insulted, they lash out. This is characteristically a snub or affront they imagine or perceive incorrectly. Insecurity and fear is the underlying emotion which accounts for a lot of these abusers "broken" outlook on life. It is not something you will be capable of fixing.

Severing other relationships

Unfortunately, an abusive person in a relationship will sever their significant other connections with others such as friends and family. They typically manage this with bad mouthing the other person or even sabotaging plans you make. Plans made will begin to include them and they will definitely disrupt it to the point of making it miserable for you or uncomfortable for others.

They do not understand why you need a life outside of the relationship or why you desire affiliations with anyone other than your spouse. They will get to a point where they resent you going to a standing doctor appointment in the most extreme cases. Forget about lunch with your brother or a birthday party for your best friend.

What you need to know

It is healthy and normal to have other relationships outside of this one. It is also extremely healthy to want one. Friends, family and even friendly hellos and smiles to strangers adds something to our lives.

This association or connection you form with others includes face to face interactions, telephone conversations and generally spending time with someone other than your spouse. If you do have anyone in your life that resents you forming these types of connections or stops you from having any, you are probably in an abusive situation and need to do something about it.

Using verbally abusive language "as a joke"

Calling you derogatory names is not healthy. Even if your spouse says they are jokingly doing so is most certainly an abusive relationship. No one that cares for you would call you names or use language to intentionally hurt you emotionally.

Any attempts to keep you “in line” is a sure sign. An emotionally abusive spouse will indicate you are being too sensitive or cannot take a joke.

Once they discover they hit a nerve with whatever language they used, it will be repeated over and over again to make you feel bad about yourself.

What you need to know

Even if a joke is made initially, once they understand this hurts your spirit, anyone that loves you will immediately stop and never do it again.

You are not being too sensitive. Your gut tells you this is not the way to be treated and you never want to be treated this way. This is not beneficial for the emotions in any loving union between two people. Abusers are manipulative and will attempt to make you feel this is your fault and normal behavior for all couples. This is not true.

Always blaming you for everything

You are the reason for their failings and shortcomings t get in the nine holes of golf. Listen to the tantrums and verbal attacks and the way your spouse blames you as the reason everything bad in life ever occurred. Why do they even put up with you? You lost their job, their car and drove them to drink.

What you need to know

Everyone must take responsibility for their own actions. A verbally abusive person will never take responsibility for their actions. They will never admit to being at fault and will generally turn their shortcomings into your mistakes and imperfections.

No one is perfect. Though, some are better than most when it comes to defects. One of the biggest found in any individual is the inability to own up to their flaws. Once you do this, working on eliminating them or making them better is easier. An abuser will never do this. They are perfect and you are the only weakness in their character.

Not all abuse drugs and alcohol-most of them do

Not all verbal abusers are excessive users of drugs or alcohol. However, the likelihood is they will be abusers of some type of controlled substances. Abusing these leads to emotional abuse and unwholesome interactions with others.

The exploitation of these controlled substances is characteristically seen as self medicating mental health issues or concerns. A valid diagnosis will need to be made by a mental health care professional after careful assessment.

Addiction to drugs or alcohol will likely lead to irrational behavior or an excuse they will use as another mechanism for not accepting responsibility for their actions. This is the first step from verbal to physical abuse in most situations.

What you need to know

Do not become a user or addict of these mental coping mechanisms as well. Any illegal activity leads to legal problems or bad experiences with the law.

Let this be an issue they need to address and do not make it yours. Never become co-dependent and hold them up when they need to fall on their rear ends all alone.

Fear is not found in a healthy relationship

Feelings of fear of someone you profess to love is not found as criteria in a healthy relationship. Emotional abusers use fear and intimidation of violence to keep you under control. They use tactics to intimidate you such as showing you their knife collection and saying things like they aren’t afraid to use them.

Lots of these types are weapons collectors. Guns, knives and other violent weapons for power and aggression is not the sign of a healthy mental status. If they are a hunter or use these things for sport this is not the same as feeling the hostility or cruelty behind an unstable mindset.

What you need to know

Being afraid leads to stress and anxiety and will make you physically ill. Physical intimidation such as threats of violence against you are against the law. If you truly believe this person will physical harm you or worse, contact the police in your area for advice. There are legal avenues available to make you feel safe after the relationship is over.

Being punished when you spend time away from them

You should never be punished for spending time away from your spouse. If this person does punish you, this is definitely a sign of an unhealthy abusive relationship. Along with isolation, spending time away from your spouse is met with shouting, insults or even threats of violence.

Spending time away from the abuser makes them have the sensation of being out of control and angry. They imagine all sorts of things which never occur. They accuse you of infidelity and worse. Some even time your visits to the dry cleaners or market. Failure to fall in their allotted time frame will result in their prescence at the location or an intense attack when you return.

What you need to know

The old saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is true in many ways. Couples do have their own personal interests, hobbies and need time away from each other. This time spent on personal pursuits is healthy to the union.

Being in a couple means two individuals coming together. Even though you are joined as a loving couple, you are still two individual people. You have lots of similar interests, but there will be things you like to do by yourself.

Feels entitled to you waiting on them

An abusive spouse will feel you owe them the entitlement to wait on them or show undivided attention. You should be at their beck and call and grateful for the privilege. This person will expect you to handle everything for them and they offer nothing in return.

Countless abusers need a mommy or daddy figure and have chosen you.

What you need to know

What you do and give to another is out of love. Never is this a must have or must do, especially for an adult. The only person warranted this type of focus is a child unable to do things for themselves.

If mom and dad did an awful job of raising them from infancy to adulthood, it is not your responsibility to make up for that. Give what you want to a person and never what they demand.

Extreme jealousy for anyone

Extreme jealousy is displayed toward anyone. Countless users in this situation will sense jealousy with people you know or even strangers. The feeling is always unwarranted, unfounded and unreasonable.

They are jealous of your ideas, desires and ambitions. They rage over things that are usually intangible and they will characteristically display these feelings of jealousy over they own lack of control in their lives.

What you need to know

Most of these mental impressions of jealousy are actually envy or other emotions they have misplaced or are unable to identify.

A loving relationship will have a spouse happy for your accomplishments and singing your accolades when warranted.

Just because you said hello to the guy bagging your groceries on Tuesday afternoon does not mean an affair is going on.

Get out now. This is characteristically something that will never go away on its own without professional help to sort out confused feelings.

Their emotions control you

These are individuals who control you through their emotions. This is the ultimate in manipulation. They always want to punish you for sabotaging how they believe things should be. An unhappy situation caused by their actions is your fault because you did not feel happy. If you were happy things would be different.

They want you to feel sensations when they approve or allow them. Whenever you stand up for yourself they make you feel guilty. They make you feel as if you are selfish for being assertive for what is right for you. They will tell you what the correct way to feel will be.

They manipulate you at times by telling you how sorry they are and things will change and be better in the future, yada yada yada. It’s the same old song and dance because they never change their tune.

What you should know

You are always your own person. Your emotions are yours alone. Feel happy, sad, mad or even glad whenever you want. This type of yo-yo existence is not mentally healthy for anyone.

In conclusion

For those people that find themselves in emotionally abusive relationships things usually turn to physical abuse. Things start to change from bad to worse subtly. For most this is how the emotional abuse began, very slowly.

According to all signs and stats things eventually escalate until you are the victim of a physical abuser. This is true if they break and throw things during their verbally abusive episodes. For any that seem to get into physical altercations with others the same holds true. They will eventually display this physical force with you.

What you need to know

Whether this person you love is physically abusing you or holding you against your will, these are unlawful acts and need the attention of law enforcement. There are people who will help you in these situations. You are not alone. Get away from a verbally abusive relationship. The odds are not in your favor for a positive outcome.

Award winning documentary of a woman terrorized for fifteen years by a spouse.

© 2011 smcopywrite


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    • Francis Jason profile image


      yes this article relates to my life

    • smcopywrite profile image

      smcopywrite 3 years ago from all over the web

      Eruthpatton1960 thank you for sharing that wonderful sentiment

    • profile image

      Edith 3 years ago from Orange County/LA County California

      Each and every one of us are different in a very unique own special way but one thing is UNIVERSAL in all languages and ways to show it and that something is LOVE. If somebody don't show you or give you love in any way just leave! ....... " You are a very special child of GOD and GOD is love and he wants us to be happy ".

    • jantamaya profile image

      Maria Janta-Cooper 4 years ago from UK

      This is truly well written article. I can imagine that your article can be very helpful for somebody living in an abusive relationship. Well done. Congrats! Voted up and shared.

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Fascinating. I wasn't keeping score but I know someone who should read this. Cups whizzing by, threats of deadly force, having other friends in your life and only friends, feeling entitled...

      I think I'll stop. As I said, "I wasn't keeping score!

      The Frog

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 5 years ago

      Well Smcopywrite, looks like you've covered all the Abusive Bases and then some. Good Timely Hub...How many of us will see ourselves? Good One my Friend.

    • smcopywrite profile image

      smcopywrite 5 years ago from all over the web

      this type of abuse is a heads up for many would be troubling physically abusive situations. i wanted to point out that men as well as women can heap this type of abuse on their spouse. a man or a woman should not stand for it.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Very inspiring hub. Thanks for share with us. I learn much from you. I'll bookmark this one. Well done and vote up!


    • profile image

      Family2011 5 years ago

      Informative information as usual. Many teens do not really understand the importance of setting standards on to when to step up and leave the situation, it gets to a point that situation would escalate into physical one.

    • Dr Bill Tollefson profile image

      Bill Tollefson 5 years ago from Southwest Florida

      smcopywrite...Extremely useful Hub for individuals who question whether they are being emotionally abused. Emotional abuse is just as harmful to a person as every other type of abuse, sometimes more because there are no visible signs. Keep up informing others with your insightful writings.

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      This is a very important topic to discuss and I applaud you for writing about it. Too many people, especially young people, find themselves trapped in an abusive situation. Sometimes it can be so subtle you don't even realize what is happening until your self worth is in the gutter. I am voting this up so hopefully many more people will read it.