Boyfriend, girlfriend, friend or parent – anyone can emotionally abuse you. Here are some tips to spot the signs that you are in an emotionally abusive relationship
1. They belittle you and call you names.
If someone truly loves you, they would never call you a ‘bitch’. Name-calling is a classic sign of immaturity, and it is most common in teenage relationships. However, it can happen at any age, but there is no valid reason for your partner to belittle you!
It has never got to do with you. Let me introduce you to a term called ‘psychological projection’. In an emotionally abusive relationship, the abuser cannot accept and deal with their own feelings or emotions. As a result of this, they ‘project’ by placing that burden they carry onto someone else.
Just because you disagree on things does not mean it is okay to make the other person feel bad about themselves. If you’ve ever been called ‘stupid’, ‘pathetic’, ‘lazy’ and ‘worthless’ or even had negative comments about your appearance from your partner – you need to rethink your relationship. No one can evaluate your relationship for you, but you know if these comments affect your self-esteem negatively, it is an abusive relationship.
2. They blame you for the way they speak to you.
If you’ve ever dared to stand up to your abuser, I applaud you. Most people struggle to defend themselves, and that’s okay; it is hard to speak up when every time you do, you get bullied.
“I only said that because of what you did”. They said that because they have personal issues they need to work on, and they refuse to acknowledge that. It is so much easier for your partner to blame you for the abuse they cause because they don’t want to be held accountable.
When someone inculpates you for something they have said, it might mean that they desire to be perfect. Abusers never want to admit that they have made a mistake; they’re absolutely flawless in their eyes, so any blip in the relationship must be down to their partner.
It might be scary to defend yourself to your partner, as you are afraid they will abandon you. However, you have to remember that you are your own person, and you deserve to have your opinions heard. Your partner is at fault for the things they say to you, not you. It’s their mouth, and they should have the maturity to control what comes out of it.
3. They accuse you of flirting or cheating.
One of the most common ways your partner can abuse you is to make false accusations based on innocent interactions.
For example, if you have a boyfriend, and you ‘like’ another man’s picture – your boyfriend freaks out at you and asks if you are interested in that man, even if that man is your friend. Your boyfriend might even go as far as stating that you are cheating on him. This could be a one-off, but this can become a common trigger for arguments.
Another example could be that you have a girlfriend, who you spend a lot of your time with. You go out with your friends one night, and she starts to texts you frequently, but you’re having fun, and you don’t reply. She asks if you lied about your whereabouts and states that you are with another female. This leaves you feeling angry and hurt that she would think so low of you, but she blames YOU for the way she has acted, saying that “if you had just replied on time, I wouldn’t have assumed that.”
Perhaps you go to a restaurant with your boyfriend. A male waiter comes over to ask what drinks you both would like. You both tell the waiter, and he leaves. Your boyfriend asks:
“Why did you look at him like that? I saw you giving him those eyes, acting like you’re single. Slut.”
If you have experienced any of these examples, or something similar, your partner is insecure and is projecting their personal problems onto you. You should never have to deal with being called a cheater if you aren’t one.
4. They isolate you from your friends and family.
As we have established, an abusive partner is someone who lacks honest confidence and self-love. They seek power; an abusive partner will manipulate you into cutting off your friends and family so that they can control you even more.
They won’t specifically say “stop spending time with your family;” they’ll say, “your family doesn’t understand you like I do”, “why did your friends take that picture together and not include you?”, “I wish I could see you more, but you’re always with your sister; you never make time for me; you love her more than me.“
Isolating from the gender you are attracted to because your partner is angered by the thought of you spending any time with them is common in abusive relationships. Your partner claims that they are ‘just feeling jealous’, but they demand that you stop associating with that gender, and if you defend yourself, they call you names and threaten to leave you.
It is incredibly selfish of them to make these comments as words can and will play with your emotions until YOU BELIEVE that these things are true and assume that you are doing something wrong since you are ‘hurting them’ – please remember that you aren’t hurting them, it is their own thoughts that make them distrustful.
They simply refuse to be held accountable, which is a clear sign of an abusive relationship.
5. They tell you what to wear and what to think.
We have established that emotional abusers thrive off of the ability to control their victim. Here is another way your abuser will take your freedom from you.
Your partner telling you that your outfit is ‘too revealing’ and saying that your clothes make you ‘look easy’ is not protective. It’s abusive. They fear that other people will notice you, and they are worried that they will get your attention. Your abuser fears abandonment, so they make you feel like the way you dress is filthy. They want to knock your confidence so that they can reassure themselves that you will never leave.
Perhaps you want to be a vegetarian, or vegan or maybe you have started to believe in God, or perhaps you don’t believe in God anymore. When you share this with your abusive partner, they tell you how ‘stupid’ it is and how ‘you don’t know anything.
Your opinions are always valid. If you believe in something that morally benefits you or others, but your partner says that those ideas are moronic, remind yourself that they are closed-minded and they want you to believe in the same things as them. Your abuser does not like to be challenged. They will do everything to make you feel weak throughout the abusive relationship.
You deserve to be loved properly and not be in abusive relationships.
Do you really want to be with someone who wants to control your life?
I believe that people can change, and your abuser probably will, but only if they learn that what they are doing is wrong. They may require professional help too. However, no one can change unless they see an issue within themselves.
The best thing you can do is break up with them. Let go of that abusive relationship.It will set you free, and hopefully, it will teach them that they can’t treat people like that.
You deserve to be with someone who loves you unconditionally, supports your goals and wants to build a future with you – without emotionally abusing you.
Your partner is supposed to be your best friend, not your bully.