Five Major Signs of Emotional Abuse in a Relationship

Signs of Emotional Abuse

Physical abuse is the highlight of domestic abuse because every one can easily describe what it is but verbal/emotional abuse is just a dehumanizing and dangerous.

A lot of people are in situations in their relationships that are draining them of joy and emotional balance but they don’t know how to articulate it. Sometimes when they do, people trivialize it because it’s not battery or any other form of physical abuse.

Emotional and verbal abuse is just as prevalent, if not more common, as physical abuse. It cannot be over-emphasized that it is does as much damage to victims’ health and general well-being.

If you think you are a victim of emotional abuse but you are not sure, here are some major signs to look out for;

Constant Criticism and Judgement

Whether its’s the humiliation that comes from mean jokes or private and public put-downs, you must watch out for signs that indicate that your partner or family member enjoys or has a habit of putting you down.

If you have complained or called them out on this behaviour and they have dismissed your observations as over-sensitivity or not having a sense of humour, it does not mean you are wrong. Teasing is common in relationships but it is abusive for loved ones to refuse to desist from behaviour that hurts you.

If you find that your opinions, thoughts and feelings are being constantly mocked as stupid, wrong or not good enough, this is a sign of emotional abuse.

Constant Blaming

Everything is somehow your fault; from how they treat you , to how they treat others or what mood they are in. If you are being held responsible for their personal behaviour, problems, happiness and unhappiness, then you’re most likely a victim of emotional abuse. While everyone has their share of problems and bad days which may cause them to lash out to those closest to them, it should be an occasional thing not constant. If this is the consistent behaviour, it is emotional abuse.

Refusing to take personal responsibility for any behaviour is toxic and irrational and often a major sign of emotional abuse in relationships.


Infidelity or threat of infidelity inflicts emotional wounds in a relationship. It is abusive but can be forgiven when it is a mistake that is not intended to be repeated.

However, when a partner cheats serially without regard for the other’s feelings or continuously threatens to cheat as a way to control or scare his/her partner, it is definitely emotional abuse which can destroy the victim’s well-being.

Consistent breaking of trust and inappropriate behaviour that violates the boundaries of a committed relationship in order to exert control or punishment in a relationship is an indication of emotional abuse.

Jealousy and Control

Unreasonable and violent jealous outbursts are not a signs of love neither are they normal. it is abnormal behaviour that often indicates emotional abuse.

Constant guilt-tripping is also a sign of emotional abuse. If you cannot spend time with others, take personal decisions  without being made to feel guilty, there is a problem. If you always feel guilty without knowing why, it will be wise to take stock of your closest relationships; you might in an emotionally abusive one.

If your partner or loved-one keeps constant tabs on you when you are not with them via calls or text, especially if they ignore you when you are with them, it could be a sign of abusiveness.

You also need to be wary of attempts to control, rather than communicate or reason with you in the areas of spending, associations, dressing, bedroom activities and preferences among others.

When you notice that your partner out-rightly refuses to communicate with you without explanation or withholds communication as a form of punishment, know that it is an emotional abusive behaviour. If it is frequent or is the norm in your relationship, it is unacceptable.

Threat To Harm Themselves

If they threaten to harm themselves or threaten that they will die or be destroyed if you ever leave the relationship, it is a form of control and emotional abuse. Emotional abusers like to threaten suicide and other forms of tragedy if they sense that the other person is about to exit the relationship.

They may suddenly feign illness or threaten suicide when other forms of control do not work but if you are concerned that they may make good on such threat, you may have to tell others that are close to them or seek professional help.It is not enough to stay in the relationship.

signs of emotional abuse
signs of emotional abuse

Whenever you see or experience inappropriate or hurtful behaviour in your partner or loved ones, you must confront it. The reactions you get can go a long way to determine if they are emotionally abusive or not. Even when you are uncertain, do not silently endure hurtful behaviour from your loved ones; if they refuse to acknowledge it or work on themselves, you must seek help for yourself because emotional abuse is highly debilitating, to mental and physical health. It is not to be quietly endured as it will ultimately destroy your relationship and may also ruin lives