10 Signs of an Emotionally-Abusive Relationship

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Your partner may seem overly-invested in your social life, or police your day-to-day routines without acknowledging your desires. You don't have the freedom to make your own choices (either overtly or subtly).

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Control

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It's normal for partners to raise their voice occasionally, but it may not be healthy when disagreements regularly escalate into shouting. It's especially concerning if you feel afraid. Not only does yelling make a productive conversation nearly impossible,

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Yelling

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When one partner feels contempt for the other, it's not easy for either person to express their feelings. Benton notes that in healthy relationships, there's an expectation that your partner will listen and be respectful (even if they can't give you what you need).

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Contempt

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When you constantly feel like you have to defend yourself, there's less room for positive communication. It's important that both parties are able to talk openly—and honestly—with each other to resolve issues.

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Excessive Defensiveness

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If your partner is threatening you in any way, you may feel like you're in danger. Coercive "if, then" statements can include blackmail, threats of physical harm or suicide, or other intimidating remarks, but they often share the same intent

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Threats

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Benton notes that stonewalling takes place when one partner refuses to talk or communicate. If your partner shuts down uncomfortable conversations, it can feel like abandonment.

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Stonewalling

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Victims are often made to believe that they cause—and therefore deserve—their own abuse and unhappiness, making the cycle much harder to break. This can be exacerbated by the shame that many victims feel for letting their abuse continue.

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Blame

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A form of psychological manipulation, gaslighting causes victims to doubt their memories, judgment, and sanity.

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Gaslighting

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Emotional abuse is pervasive, affecting all areas of life. Most notably is the toll it takes on victims' relationships with friends and family. Abusers often convince their partners that no one cares.

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Isolation

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If a relationship is constantly interrupted by mood swings, it can signal abuse. Many people experience natural ups and downs, but it's a problem when it harms one's partner.

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Volatility

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