Each year over 4.7 million women in the U.S. experience some type of physical abuse from their partner. While signs of physical abuse are easy to recognize, the signs of emotional abuse can be much subtler.
As a result, there are many women who continue to “suffer in silence,” either because they are too scared to leave, or because they don’t realize they are actually a victim of this. This is often because emotional abuse is more confusing, and some victims are coached into believing that the behaviors are actually acts of care. Thought Catalog offers a more in-depth explanation of how this happens.
However, there are some signs that can help you recognize emotional abuse. Knowing what these are may help you get out of a negative situation.
You Walk on Eggshells
Are you constantly second-guessing your decisions and self-editing? If so, it means you have internalized the subtly abusive behavior, so your partner isn’t having to do it overtly.
This is dangerous and a self-destructive behavior. Essentially, you have been corrected, tormented and put down so much, you are now doing this to yourself.
Your Partner Uses Gaslighting to Keep the Upper Hand in Your Relationship
When this happens, your partner is essentially declaring what is reality for you or distorting or denying the way things really are. Some of the most common ways this is done is by them stating that “you aren’t remembering correctly,” or “I never said/did that.”
In some cases, your partner may infer that you aren’t making sense or that you are faulty in the way you look at things, when you really aren’t. These types of responses install a sense of self-doubt over time, which means you may actually go along with what your partner is saying.
Your Partner Makes “Jokes” that are Hurtful or Mean
Has your partner ever said something hurtful or mean, only to respond that they were only joking if you complain. Unfortunately, there is at least some truth behind every sarcastic or mean remark that your partner makes. You are justified in your feelings, even if your partner is trying to make it seem as though you are overly sensitive.
You Apologize Even When You Don’t Do Anything Wrong
When someone is emotionally abused, they often come to a point where they believe they are selfish, inconsiderate or stupid simply because they are accused of these things so often. You can only hear something so often before you begin believing it is true.
Your Partner is Hot and Cold
Do you have a partner that is loving one minute and then completely unavailable and distant the next? When you try to figure out why do you come up with nothing?
If you say something, they will likely deny this, and you may panic and attempt to get back in their good graces. With no explanation for why your partner is “turned off,” you likely begin blaming yourself. When this continues to happen, you may turn into an anxious pleaser, which is exactly where your partner wants you to be.
Your Partner Withholds Something to Punish You
Does your partner withhold something (i.e. affection, money, attention, etc.) unless you agree with them to do something or cooperate with them? If so, you are in a problematic and emotionally abusive relationship, even if it doesn’t seem like this.
As you can see, emotional abuse can occur in many different forms. Knowing the signs of this is the best way to ensure you don’t become a victim.