April 19, 2018 Felicia Durling

5 Signs of Emotional Abuse

Every day, millions of people suffer emotional abuse. One Love Foundation, a group dedicated to raising awareness about relationship violence, cites that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will experience relationship violence in their lifetime. Efforts to educate people on emotional abuse has popularized hashtags like #ThatsNotLove and #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou. As a result, a video by One Love has gone viral. People are finally speaking up about a hidden, insidious trauma faced by many.

5 Signs of Emotional Abuse

It is paramount to understand that emotional abuse and relationship violence are the same. Abuse in relationships does not have to include physical assault. In fact, most relationship abuse will be in the form of subtle emotional and psychological manipulation. Emotional abuse creates trauma, insecurity, fear, depression, and toxic guilt. All of these feelings can have negative effects in life, causing isolation, withdrawing from friends and family, submitting to further abuse, substance abuse, or even suicide. People in abusive relationships can feel helpless and hopeless until they realize that there is nothing wrong with them.


You’re to Blame

Their mood, their tardiness, their day at work, their food…you name it, you ruined it. In the beginning of a relationship, you may be oblivious to your partner’s blaming. Not being on the receiving end of it, you might brush it off as a personality quirk. Nobody is perfect. Eventually, you become the source of blame and you pay for it. Once you’ve accepted that role, it will continue to be assigned to you.


You’re Not Trustworthy

They look at who you’re texting. When you go out, they want details. They call and text relentlessly until you answer them, to their satisfaction. This is a method of control. You’re always being suspected of something, from your actions to your very thoughts and feelings. An emotionally abusive partner will assign any number of labels on you as a display of their inability to trust you. This is manipulation. Control and manipulation are fundamental forms of emotional abuse, intended to distort what a partner thinks is reality.


You’re the Butt of Their Jokes

Out with friends and family or at home, you’re often on the butt end of their snide remarks. They undermine your accomplishments, criticize your achievements, and come up with ways to cut you down verbally.


You Feel Guilty

Not only are you untrustworthy and the one to blame, everything that is wrong in the relationship is your fault as well, including your partner’s actions and behaviors. Emotional abusers utilize guilt as a method of deflection. If you did better, if you listened more often, if you just did what they say…they may not act so horribly toward you.


Lastly, They are Violent or Threaten Suicide

Threatening suicide is the ultimate form of manipulative control in an emotionally abusive relationship. Suicide may be the climax in an escalation of violent behaviors. When they are angry, they may get physical, throw things, punch a hole in the wall, or demonstrate aggression in other ways. Remember, emotional abuse and relationship violence does not mean that you get hit. You experience violence in other ways.



The Center for Life Change knows that overcoming emotional abuse and healing those painful patterns is difficult. For recovery referrals contact us at 951 775-4000.

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