22 Warning Signs Of Emotional Abuse

22 Warning Signs Of Emotional Abuse

It's hard to recognize warning signs until it's too late.
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Hey! I'm Caroline, and once upon a time, a long time ago (in a past life?), I was young, I was dumb, and when I should've been worried about normal teenage issues, like next month's term paper or the fact that Jesus himself decided I needed acne on my chin, I was in an emotionally abusive relationship, and it was the only thing I could focus on.

Every part of my life suffered. I lost many friends, who viewed my relationship from the outside, and thought I just didn't want to spend time with them anymore, when really, my boyfriend was strategically isolating me from my friends. I stopped spending time with my family, because my boyfriend had convinced me I couldn't trust them anyway. I lost weight, I failed a class, I almost didn't graduate, and I'm a different person today because of it.

Here's the thing - I can't bring myself to regret any of the things that have happened to me, because in spite of the pain, I'm in a really good place in my life now, and things wouldn't have worked out this way if I hadn't lived through a lot of tough stuff. Do I wish I could have learned these lessons a different way? Of course. After my breakup, I suffered from flashbacks for months, battled crippling insecurity, and - even today - am certifiably terrified of commitment, all of which I could probably do without. But, again, I love who I am now, and while I should have loved her all along, it took a lot of trials and tribulations to get here.

So, what am I getting at here?

The problem (well, one of them, anyway) with emotionally abusive relationships, especially ones you get into when you're young, is that it can be really hard to recognize warning signs until it's too late. You see your partner do little, worrying things, and in the early stages of the relationship when you're so focused on the newness and the joy of a new relationship, you ignore them, or you assume they'll get better, or that really, they're not that big of a deal. The first time they tell you you might think about losing weight, you may laugh it off, or think, Yeah, maybe I could stand to lose a few pounds. But what about the second time? The third time? The first time they demand to know where you've been and what you've been doing, throwing unfounded accusations of cheating and lying at you, you might think, They've probably been cheated on before, they're just insecure. But trust me, it'll happen again, and again, until you're so worn down you don't even know what a good relationship is supposed to feel like.

That's why I'm writing this - I want to put together some of the signs I shouldn't have laughed off or ignored. If only one person reads this and realizes they or someone they know is in a situation that's going south, I'll consider it a success.

Please also keep in mind - I go about this with levity because I'm removed from this situation now, and I've coped with it by finding humor in it, but emotional abuse is very much a serious subject, and shouldn't be taken lightly.

Here goes:

1. Your complaints to them are dismissed as trivial, annoying, overdramatic, or exaggerated, while their complaints are valid, real, and what you need to be listening to.

Am I a dramatic person? Yes! But are all my complaints trivial? God, no! If I had a bad day, I don't want to hear, "Yeah? Well, that's no reason to complain because my day was worse." Congrats! You are terrible.

2. They believe they are entitled to go through your phone, your Facebook, your emails, your computer, anything personal because if you want privacy, you're probably hiding something.

Maybe I just don't want anyone to know just how many memes I have saved to my phone. Or maybe I'd just rather you didn't go through it because, you know, it's my phone!

3. You feel as though your very existence is an annoyance or an inconvenience to them.

4. They criticize or belittle you for your physical discomfort (being too hot, too cold, or otherwise uncomfortable), but they expect you to take their physical complaints seriously.

Yeah, because it's so weird that I'm a human being with physical perceptions of heat and cold! God forbid I need to borrow your jacket, dude.

5. They have convinced you that no one else will love you, so you might as well stay.

6. You preface every complaint about them with an, "I'm sorry," as though it's invalid for you to be upset about anything.

7. They criticize your body in any way whatsoever (sometimes under the guise of "I just want you to be healthy!").

I think back to all the times my ex-boyfriend make remarks about my body; he knew, of course, that I had a lot of dysphoria about my body, and that I'd had trouble with eating. Despite this, he still felt the need to point out my "chubby belly" or my "love handles." I was eighteen years old, 110 pounds, anemic, with a low BMI and a bad habit of skipping meals. These remarks were crushing; the body I already hated was hated by someone else, too.

Guess what! Even if I had had love handles or a chubby belly - literally, who cares? It's my body, dude, not yours, and I get to decide if I want to cram three orders of chicken nuggets into it. Bye!

8. They belittle you for getting emotional, for crying, for being angry, or for being anything but positive at all times.

Because of this, it's difficult for me to feel as though any of the emotions I share with my partner are valid. Watch out for this especially, because once your partner begins to police your emotions, you'll start to police them too.

9. You find yourself worrying about how they will react if you are unhappy about something.

Yep, it's definitely my job to be positive at all times! If I'm not, I must be a sad, miserable, depressed person, and, man, do I bring everyone down. I should stop being a bummer!

10. They believe they are entitled to your money, your bank statements, and the things you purchase for yourself.

"I stole $50 out of your account, but it's okay, because I spent most of it on a Christmas present for you!" - my ex, after buying me a scented candle for Christmas

11. They accuse you of being "too sensitive" if you call them out on abusive behavior.

12. They make you feel like your dreams and accomplishments are insignificant.

Fun fact: it's your life, it's your career, and, yes, your accomplishments matter. You want to live in Italy and study wine and cheese pairings for the rest of your life? Go for it. You got a good grade on that paper you were really worried about? God, good for you!! You're better than your abuser makes you think you are.

13. They threaten to hurt or kill themselves if you leave.

Ummm...sorry, but it's not that serious. Like, I know I'm pretty great, but this tactic is trite, and I am in no way responsible for what someone else decides to do to themselves because of me. I'm not trivializing suicide - but I've had this tactic employed on me so many times, and I'm tired of it. This is never okay.

14. They make you feel as though your life MUST revolve around them, and if it doesn't, you're a bad partner.

15. They are emotionally distant or unavailable most of the time, and make you feel as though it's because of something you did.

16. You regularly inconvenience yourself or put yourself at risk for the sake of their happiness, and it feels normal.

"Yeah, I made you pick me up from school when you'd got off a 20 hour flight from Mumbai two hours earlier. But my mom couldn't come!" - my 21-year-old ex

17. They share intensely personal information about you with others.

18. They isolate you from your friends, or otherwise try to turn you on them. This can be obvious, or it can be subtle.

You'll hear stuff like, "I don't like that one friend, she has it out for me, so you can't see her anymore." Maybe there's a reason your friends have it out for them in the first place?

19. They wait for you to pick up on their thoughts and feelings instead of sharing them with you, and get upset when you don't magically know what they're feeling.

Dang...I think I left my crystal ball at home!

20. They make 100% of the decisions about what you're doing.

It could be for a date, what movie you're watching, what you're having for dinner, but it could also be big things, like where you'll go to school, what career you should have, or even personal decisions about your body - and they expect you to comply without question.

You know how guys joke that girls never know where they want to go for dinner? This is, like, the opposite of that, and it's also about twenty times worse. Don't, I repeat, DON'T, let someone else call the shots for you! It's your life!

21. You feel like you need to ask permission to do anything, like go out with friends or spend time with family.

22. You feel as though all of your free time must be spent with them, otherwise you don't love them.


If you've just read this and you recognize several of these signs - it's not too late. Just know that an abusive relationship cannot be salvaged. Abusers do not believe they are abusers, and it's almost impossible to convince them otherwise. Move on. As hard as it will be to move on - especially if they have convinced you that you're not worth loving - your life will change the instant you leave them in the past.

Cover Image Credit: thetipsguru.com

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An Open Letter To My Boyfriend's Mom

A simple thank you is not enough.
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Your son and I have been dating a while now and I just wanted to thank you for everything.

Wow, where do I start? Ever since the day your son brought me into your home you have shown me nothing but kindness. I have not one negative thought about you and I am truly thankful for that. I first and foremost want to thank you for welcoming me with open arms. There are horror stories of mothers resenting their son's girlfriends and I am blessed there is no resentment or harsh feelings.

Thank you for treating me like one of your children, with so much love but knowing exactly when to tease me.

Thank you for sticking up for me when your son teases me, even though I know it’s all in good fun it's always comforting knowing you have someone by your side.

Thank you for raising a man who respects women and knows how to take responsibility of mistakes and not a boy who is immature and doesn’t take responsibility.

Thank you for always including me in family affairs, I may not be blood family but you do everything you can to make sure I feel like I am.

Thank you for letting me make memories with your family.

There is nothing I value more in this world then memories with friends and family and I am thankful you want and are willing to include me in yours. I have so much to thank you for my thoughts keep running together.

The most important thing I have to thank you for is for trusting me with your son. I know how precious and valuable he is and I won't break his heart. I will do everything I can to make him happy. This means more than you could ever imagine and I promise I will never break your trust.

The second most important thing I must thank you for is for accepting me for who I am. Never have you ever wished I looked like another girl or acted like another girl. You simply love and care for me and that’s all I could ever ask. Every person in this world is a unique different person and understanding that means a lot.

The third most important thing I must thank you is teaching me how to one day in the future treat a potential girlfriend that I may interact with as a mother. I am not a mother, but I one day plan to be. If I ever have a son it is because of how you treated me that I am able to be a humble loving mother to this new face that could one day walk into my door. How you have treated me has taught me how I should one day be in the future and I thank you for that.

This may seem all over the place but that’s how my brain gets when I try and thank you for everything you have done for me. It’s all so much and even the little things are so important so I promise my scattered thoughts are all with good intentions and not meant to bombard you. I just want to get the idea across to you that you are important and special to me and everything you do does not go unnoticed.

Sincerely,

Your Son’s Girlfriend

Cover Image Credit: Christian Images and Quotes

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10 Things Girls Secretly Love

Come on guys — take a hint.

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Let's face it, girls can be a little stubborn at times and not directly come out and say what they want. But, a few of these should be obvious clues that boys should be able to pick up on. So I have comprised a short list of at least ten obvious things girls, or at least I secretly love.

1. Leave her cute texts

Quickest way to put a smile on her face or leave butterflies in her stomach is to send her a cute text. Even if it's simple

2. Kiss her in front of your friends

Don't be one of those guys that treats your girlfriend/SO differently because you are around your friends. It validates that she really means something to you if you still show her off around your friends.

3. Tell her she looks beautiful

Even if she denies it and says she looks gross, you've still managed to get her attention and show her you think she's beautiful no matter what.

4. Kiss her forehead

5. Let her take photos of you

Slight obsession over your boyfriend is normal, I promise, she just thinks your adorable.

6. Tell her when you have something to do, don't just ignore her randomly

Most girls won't be mad when you have something else to do. It's the fact that you couldn't take the time to send a text that would probably take a minute to write to let her know you aren't just dodging her messages.

7. Play with her hair

If she does it for you, then you do it for her. Don't just let her play with your hair for a half hour then run your fingers through her hair twice and think your done. No, we want the relaxing feeling of fingers running through our hair too.

8. Watch movies with her

You don't always need to go out and do something active, watching a movie and cuddling is nice too. Netflix and Chill

9. Let her fall asleep on you

10. Be her best friend

Sometimes all you need is someone to laugh at stupid jokes with, sing loudly in the car with, or just sit in silence and listen to the world outside a car window.

Every girl wants to feel special and treated the right way in a relationship. But just as girls are stubborn, guys are just a little bit clueless. So take notes boys.

Cover Image Credit:

Maille Dolan

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