When we hear the word abuse in relationships, what comes to mind is physical assault and domestic violence.
It is not hard to understand why this happens – physical abuse is the most visible form and it seems to be all around us, in reality and in the news.
But physical abuse is not the only form of abuse, it is not even the worst.
When you are physically abused you can “see the signs. You can say, ‘hey, look, I have been abused, I have been violated, I’ve been assaulted.’
But with emotional abuse, your brain is messed up, and half the time you are left wondering maybe you are even the problem [when in truth, you should never feel that way because you’re the one being abused]”
So, what are the signs you’ll see in an emotionally-abusive partner, or one who has such tendencies?
1. They try to isolate you
“There is nothing wrong with a partner trying to have you themselves,” the presenter says.
If, however, that partner freaks out everytime you try to hang out with friends and colleagues, or becomes uncomfortable when you make efforts to stay in close quarters with your family members, then that might be a sign that they will prey on your emotions.
People need other people as support systems, and abusive people know this. So they detach you totally from these people till they are all you have, and that is when the abuse will begin – when you have no one to run to, no option but to stick right there with them.
2. Overly critical
If you are with someone who constantly sees no good in what you do, whom you can’t please or do right by, Inem says that is one of the signs you’ll need in identifying that such person is an emotionally-abusive partner.
“They are constantly criticizing you,” she says. “What that does,” she further says, “is that it messes with your self-esteem and before you know it you are feeling like ‘Ok, maybe there’s something wrong with me’”
3. Too domineering and jealous
One other way of recognizing an emotionally-abusive partner is that they are unnecessarily possessive and try to control everything about you.
Being in a relationship should never totally rid you of your freedom, and should not erode all your sense of self.
There is nothing wrong with a little jealousy, and partners cannot be blamed for feeling a little stressed at the prospect of losing their other halves.
But when jealousy is exhibited in the extreme, it could be a form of emotional abuse.
4. Emotionally unstable
When you see someone who has regular violent outbursts and terrible mood swings, that should serve as the warning you need to stay away from them.
Being with someone who goes swiftly from 0-100 will always leave you in a limbo. You do not know what to expect from them. You do not know what will trigger their outbursts and you’ll be left walking on eggshells half of the time.
This is a form of emotional abuse in the sense that you are never sure of what to feel around such person. That, surely, is not how one is supposed to feel around anyone they are in love with.
5. Always blaming you
Partners who never take responsibility for what they do are in this category too.
By never accepting the blame, they make you feel like they can never do wrong, and with time you start finding a way to blame yourself for every wrong thing that happens even when you are obviously not.