When people hear the word “abuse”, they often think of someone who has been physically beaten.
But life-changing abuse can come in many forms – verbal, emotional, mental, financial, and physical being the most common.
Just because someone doesn’t have bumps and bruises on them doesn’t mean that the abuse they are enduring isn’t devastating and life-changing.
Emotional abuse has serious consequences – anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and sometimes even suicide.
Whether the relationship is with a boyfriend, spouse, friend, or family member, it needs to be addressed!
Below are 7 warning signs of emotional abuse tactics to watch out for in your relationship.
1.) Using sarcasm to mock and ridicule
Sarcasm is a tricky sign of abuse because it is often masked as a joke.
If you feel hurt and demeaned by a sarcastic comment, it’s easy for the situation to be turned around on you.
“You’re crazy, I was just kidding!”
“Wow, someone is sensitive!”
“You need to learn how to take a joke!”
If someone makes fun of you in a way that makes you feel demeaned and hurt, it isn’t OK.
You shouldn’t have to get use to shielded belittling, name-calling, condescension, and mockery. It isn’t your job to learn to tolerate someone else’s demeaning behavior.
This isn’t how people who care and love each other act.
If you find yourself in a relationship where sarcasm is prevalent, you need to have a serious discussion about it.
Let them know that it hurts you and ask them to be more sensitive. Usually, if the person is kind and reasonable, they will apologize and change their ways.
If they make you feel like it is your problem, this is a sign of an emotional abusive person.
Do you feel a major sense of guilt and obligation in this relationship?
Guilt-tripping can leave someone in the unhealthy position of feeling like they are NEVER doing enough.
Are you made to feel like problems are your fault?
Do you feel guilty when you want things to go “your way” for once?
Are you made to feel like you aren’t doing enough or pressure to do something you don’t want to do?
A key sign that you are being guilt-tripped is if you are always hesitant to say, “No” to someone because of how they will make you feel.
Guilt-tripping is a “great tactic” to use on people who are kind and empathetic because it makes it easier to gain dominance over them.
If you feel a major sense of unnecessary guilt, it may be time to reevaluate whether the relationship should go on or not.
3.) Constantly Playing the Victim
When someone has a victim mentality or plays the victim to control someone else, it is quite easy to spot.
It is done by projecting an image of grief, disappointment, pain, loneliness, sickness, shock, and the list goes on.
At times, these feelings can be valid and understandable.
But does this person manipulate those around them by playing the victim when they get caught in their own web of lies, feel backed into a corner, or simply want to take advantage of a situation?
If you confront them about something or they feel criticized, they will turn the situation around on you and make you feel like YOU are the one with the problem.
The fault is never their own. It is always because of your selfishness, thoughtlessness, and dishonesty.
They, on the other hand, have always been loving, kind, generous, and selfless.
4.) Always Saying “But”
“I’m glad for your big accomplishment. But…”
“You look amazing. But…”
“Thank-you for the gift. But…”
When a statement is followed by a “but”, it undoes the kind sentiment that was stated before it!
If your relationship is full of hurtful “but” statement, its a bit indicator that you are being emotionally abused by someone.
Their ability to be “casually critical” about everything you say and do is exhausting. The overuse of the word “but” is to make you feel like you are never good enough.
Don’t allow someone to diminish your decisions, lifestyle, and daily life with backhanded compliments and mean little comments.
It’s their problem to deal with – not yours. Confronting it is a necessity – for your own sake!
Related Article: 10 Signs Your Relationship Has Communication Problems
5.) Withholding Affection
Withholding affection is a cruel and confusing form of abuse.
This is done through ignoring you, giving you the ‘Silent Treatment’, or giving excess attention to someone else.
If you do something they don’t like, they’ll “pay you back” with this abuse tactic.
The goal is to leave you feeling lonely, unloved, and regretful.
In the end, you are suppose to be the one to comes back and apologizes for what “you did wrong”.
If you can pinpoint the use of this tactic, it should be a wake-up call that the relationship you are in is toxic. Things need to mature!
6.) Treating You Like a Child
Does this person make decisions for you without consulting you? Do you get scolded and lectured like you aren’t an adult with your own mind?
This person isn’t your parent and you aren’t a child!
If you get scolded for your mistakes or chastised for thinking a certain way, it’s time to deal with the issue.
If you are dating someone who treats you this way, it isn’t his place to embarrass, scold you, or do things on your behalf without your permission.
In a healthy relationship with a solid foundation, differences will be discussed in a kind and respectful manner. Your opinion is valid and it shouldn’t be “run over” by someone who thinks they are right all the time.
This is a sign of major disrespect – something you cannot tolerate in a long-term relationship.
7.) Comparing You To Other People
Comparison is a cruel thing.
It lowers self-esteem, makes you doubt yourself, and makes you feel like you are never good enough!
Do you ever find yourself being compared to someone else – a previous relationship, friend, family member, or person on social media?
Comparison is a very hurtful form of emotional abuse because it makes you feel like you aren’t only NOT good enough, but that someone else is also BETTER than you.
Comparison makes you feel like you have to change who you are to make someone happy.
YOU aren’t good enough to hit the mark that someone else has already hit.
This form of emotional abuse is cruel and manipulative and should never be tolerated.
If you see even a mild form of comparison in your relationship, try to “squash it” before it becomes a larger issue. It can destroy the happiest of relationships if it is allowed to seep in little by little.
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