5 Signs You Are in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

When does emotional become abusive?

Posted Dec 16, 2015

Let’s face it: Emotions are part of any relationship. A critical factor, however, is controlling the expression and use of strong emotions. Many relationships begin with passion and intense emotion, but can evolve into emotionally abusive relationships. Here are the five key warning signs of an emotionally abusive relationship.

1. You Walk on Eggshells. In order to avoid upsetting your partner, you are vigilantly careful not to do anything that will trigger a negative emotional reaction. Living in an abusive relationship means that you never know when something that you do, no matter how seemingly trivial, may set off an emotional backlash.

2. Your Partner Can Express Emotions (and Opinions), But You Can’t.  Emotionally abusive relationships are imbalanced. It’s OK for your partner to rant and rave, but if you express negative emotions, perhaps even mild ones, you are subject to criticism, or, even worse, a strong emotional backlash.

3. Your Partner Mistrusts You (and Your Emotions). Often, emotionally abusive individuals have low self-esteem, which leads to a lack of trust in the partner, as well as a belief that your expression of displeasure are designed to hurt. Any expression of emotion on your part becomes an attack.

4. You Can’t Discuss Relationship Problems and Issues. Any criticism is viewed as an assault on the emotionally abusive person, and you avoid discussing problems in order to maintain a calm emotional environment.

5. You Feel Constantly Confused and Trapped. Being a victim of an emotionally abusive relationship can leave you constantly emotionally confused and feeling trapped. The emotionally abusive partner may use emotional appeals to keep you in the relationship (“I need you to help me!” “You can’t leave me alone!”). Often, as a victim, you feel helpless to do anything about the situation.

What to Do About It?

There really are two choices: Seek counseling, both joint and individual; Get out of the abusive relationship. No one should have to endure psychological or physical abuse.

To find a therapist, please visit the Psychology Today Therapy Directory

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