16 Sure Fire Signs Your Relationship is Emotionally Abusive

If this is happending, your relationship is emotionally abusive.

Emotionally Abused Man
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16 Powerful Signs Your Relationship Is Emotionally Abusive


I was having a conversation with a friend who is separated from her husband. She was telling me an interesting story when explaining how he was continuously dismissive of her feelings. My friend doesn’t like escargot. She tried it when she was 18, didn’t care for the taste and made the decision to not eat it again based on those facts.

Her husband, the man she is presently separated from, loves escargot and would pressure her into eating it with him. Here is where the conflict and emotional abuse comes into play. He was not satisfied with her explanation for not wanting to eat escargot. He had his own idea about what she should and shouldn’t like and in his mind, she should like escargot.

Maybe he thought eating it in his presence would magically change the taste? Or, maybe he sees himself as the enforcer of the right way and wrong way of doing things and couldn’t take no for an answer when he thought her eating escargot FOR him was the right thing to do.

If, like my friend’s husband, your spouse believes they have the right to control and dictate to you, you may be wondering what is behind that need. More than likely they believe with enough pushing and pressure they can make you “see the light.” And, basically, that means giving up your beliefs, feelings, and desires in favor of theirs.

And, make no mistake about it; they feel they are right and good for believing that you should take their point of view on everything. They are on a mission to set you straight, to help you “see the light,” and in their mind, it is a good mission. That is why they will balk at the idea that they are emotionally abusive.

What does all this mean for you, the spouse of the person who is always right and needs you to yield to their point of view?

Eventually, you will begin to doubt your own perceptions and beliefs. You begin to question whether or not your spouse is right, “maybe she does know what’s best for me.” Or, “maybe he is right; I should eat escargot since he loves it so much.”

In an emotionally abusive marriage, your self-esteem will become so weakened that you will stop questioning their authoritative nature and start doubting your own authority. You will give up on yourself and the power of your own perceptions about what you do and don’t want or feel.

That is why it is important that you listen to that inner voice telling you something is wrong. And there will be an inner voice, in the beginning. Learning to recognize emotional abuse for what it is, abuse can save you years of psychological damage that is difficult to recover from. Do you know that signs of emotional abuse and how to protect yourself by quickly realizing you are in such a situation?

16 Signs You Are Being Emotionally Abuse:

1. Your spouse shames you in public, or when you two are alone. They never miss the opportunity to put you down, make fun of you or call you out.

2. They use threats to get what they want. They will threaten to withhold something you need or, in some cases threaten divorce in an attempt to get you to acquiesce.

3. They insult your activities. You can’t swing a tennis racket properly; the mashed potatoes have lumps, that shade of lipstick looks terrible on you, nothing is too small for them to insult.

4. They belittle your ability to make decisions. Want to go back and finish your Master’s degree, he isn’t going to think you have the motivation needed. Want to take up Karate, she laughs it off and tells you, you are too skinny.

5. They look down on you; act like you are lucky to have them. You choose a new dress; he rolls his eyes as if you have no sartorial flare. Or, she insists on spending holidays with her large family in their big home instead of your small family in their small home.

6. They say unkind things about you to others in an attempt to make themselves look good. This one is hard to deal with when it gets back to you and it always gets back to you. “She is too self-focused” he tells her best friend. “He never picks up his underwear,” she tells his mother. You look bad; they look good for having to put up with you.  

7. They use the children against you during an argument; put them in middle of a conflict between the two of you. “Hey Carly, come here and listen to this. Your Mom wants to go to Grandma’s during vacation instead of the beach, how stupid is that?”

8. They distance themselves emotionally or give you the silent treatment, often referred to as “stonewalling.”

9. They don’t respect your boundaries or the very fact that you are a separate person apart from them and their needs. You are an object to be used for their pleasure.  

10. You fear sharing thoughts and opinions with them due to the possibility of retaliation by your spouse. You’ve been shut down often enough with criticism that you eventually totally shut down.

11. You are accused of being overly emotional or aggressive when trying to resolve conflict between you and your spouse.

12. You go out of your way to please your spouse because there are unpleasant repercussions of they are not happy with your actions. Boy is she bitchy when her morning coffee isn’t just the right temperature.

13. You begin to feel as if you are crazy, worthless and your self-esteem is in the gutter. It’s like living in a thick fog and no lighthouse to guide you.

14. If there is a problem in the relationship you get blamed. You are responsible for every negative aspect of life within the marriage. If he has to work late, you can bet it is somehow your fault.

15. You find yourself constantly defending your actions. And, you buy into their belief that you should defend your actions.

16. You begin to experience periods of depression and anxiety. Your body goes all wacky on you and you seem to cycle in and out of one illness after another. Your body is revolting due to the massive psychological damage being done.

Emotional abuse is a dehumanizing experience meant to make you afraid of being alone. That fear of being alone can interfere with you taking positive steps in regaining control of your life. If you doubt your ability to leave the marriage and be on your own it is time to start working on rebuilding your self-esteem so that you can soon extract yourself from the abusive marriage.

Your emotional well-being and quality of life depend on you gaining enough strength to say, “enough is enough.”

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