Emotional Abuse - 8 Signs to Notice
Divorce & Breakup Self-Love & Self-Esteem

8 Subtle Signs Of Emotional Abuse You’re Not Seeing in Your Relationship

8 Subtle Signs Of Emotional Abuse in Relationships

Emotional abuse is not something you discuss over a glass of chardonnay with your girlfriends. You might feel that something is wrong in your relationship, but you can’t put a finger on it.

When you bring it up to your friends, they all have different things to say. Some say there is nothing to worry about, whereas others tell you to get the hell out of this toxic relationship. You end up feeling even more confused, “Which one is it?”

The reason I want to share these 8 subtle signs of emotional abuse in relationships is that emotional abuse has become a new norm for many relationships. These subtle signs are often the red flags of a toxic relationship that you’re not seeing, which could have saved you from divorce, heartbreak, or another nasty breakup.

Emotional abuse has become new norm in relationships

It takes us time to unlearn and understand that whatever we’re experiencing in a relationship is not healthy. Most of us were raised in an unhealthy environment. We didn’t know any better. But now you do. With knowing comes a responsibility to develop a new healthy norm. Let’s start.

What is emotional abuse in relationships?

Emotional abuse is a way of manipulation and control through communication, attachment, and behavior that gets under your skin and causes psychological trauma by destroying your self-value and self-worth. Now let’s get to the signs:

1.He Talks and Listens Only When It’s About Him.

Have you noticed that the only conversations you’ve been having are the ones that revolve around his interests? If your interests coincide with his, then you might get lucky to share your experience and opinions. But as soon as you bring up something that is not of his interest or doesn’t involve him, he snoozes off.

2.He Withdraws Love From You As a Punishment For You Not Giving What he Wants.

I see this happening in so many relationships. We want unconditional love, yet love is the first thing we tend to take away when our needs are not met. How does it manifest? He doesn’t have sex with you, hug you, say ‘I love you,’ or behave as if you were invisible in the room whenever you don’t give him what he want or criticize him.

3.He Threatens To Leave Anytime You Don’t Meet His Needs.

Every time you don’t deliver on his demands, he’s the first one to point to the door. He uses fear to manipulate your love and to get you to do what he desires. He doesn’t place requests, he places demands. There is a difference. With a request, you leave a room for a person to reply: yes, no, or maybe. With a demand, the answer is already implied.

4.He Spies or Listens To Your Phone Calls.

Have you ever felt like your every movement is under investigation? This toxic relationship pattern usually starts gently and indirectly.  He might express his curiosity about the friend who just called you, then the conversation gets redirected to “what did she want?” Overstepping your personal freedom gets camouflaged as a benign interest in your life.

5.He Jokes Around To Puts You Down In Front Of Others.

Have you ever caught him leveraging social environment to put you down? Usually, it takes a form of a joke that highlights your sensitive areas, insecurities, or vulnerabilities that he knows you have. When you try to bring it up, he redirects by advising you to get a thicker skin. It’s you who’s overly sensitive, and it has nothing to do with his jokes.

6.You’re Always Wrong.

This is a big one. Many women who I work with experienced this subtle sign of emotional abuse. In their relationships, they often felt like they were going crazy because their ex-husbands would offer an endless list of facts to prove that it’s them, women, who caused this fight out of nothing.

7.No One Else Would Tolerate Your Craziness But Him.

This tendency is the one that causes relationship codependency because he makes you believe that no one else would tolerate your instabilities. Why does it work? Usually, it’s a very powerful manipulation strategy that men use on women who have a syndrome of “I’m not good enough,” “I need a man to be happy,” “I’m not worthy of a really good man.” This is why it’s pivotal to heal your childhood trauma that might cause you to believe these lies.

8.He Uses Criticism To “Encourage” You or To “Motivate” You.

Have you ever felt like his way of paying you a compliment came out as a hurtful bullet? He might know your hot buttons and be really great at massaging them to get you addicted to him. Because this emotional abuse destroys your self-worth and self-esteem, forcing you to stay in a relationship that should have ended years ago. His compliment might look something like that, “This dress is amazing, but you need to immediately start going to the gym.”

How to finally get the love you want?

Once you’ve had a chance to read, I’d love to know: what other sign of emotional abuse you experienced or saw your friends go through?

No matter what you’re facing right now, there is an adventurous journey ahead. You can use your heart, courage, and dedication to find a way or make a way. It all comes to how bad you want to make it happen.

Leave a comment below and share as much detail as you can in your reply.

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Karolina Tatarenkova


comment (2)

  1. Christine

    26 Aug 2017 - 2:49 pm

    One of the best examples I’ve got is of the utter self centeredness of my EA husband. I recently had to do a day’s (paid) overtime on a weekend for a big project that meant a lot to me. Not only did I have to ask him to look after our son for the day (if roles were reversed he would have just assumed) but when I did ask him the only comment I got was “What do I get out of it?”. That left me speechless as I’m sure you can imagine!

    • Karolina Tatarenkova

      28 Aug 2017 - 9:31 am

      WOW. I can imagine how shocking it was. Not only he dismissed your powerful career move, but he also made it all about him. So sorry to hear that. I’m sending you a huge hug. Congratulations on your big career step and good luck with the project.

      Thank you for sharing. This is the issue that is so dear to my heart. The predetermined gender roles that revolve around being a woman. I love the fact that you’re investing in your career. You’re a woman first and then all other labels and hats that you wear.

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