30 Signs Of Emotional Abuse In A Relationship

30 signs of emotional abuse


Nothing is more damaging to your confidence and self-esteem than being in an emotionally abusive relationship.

Unlike physical abuse which rears its ugly head in dramatic outbursts, emotional abuse can be more insidious and elusive. In some cases, neither the abuser nor the victim are fully aware it’s happening.

The most obvious scenario for emotional abuse is in an intimate relationship in which a man is the abuser and the woman is the victim. However, a variety of studies show that men and women abuse each other at equal rates.* In fact, emotional abuse can occur in any relationship — between parent and child, in friendships, and with relatives.

So what is emotional abuse? It involves a regular pattern of verbal offense, threatening, bullying, and constant criticism, as well as more subtle tactics like intimidation, shaming and manipulation. Emotional abuse is used to control and subjugate the other person, and quite often it occurs because the abuser has childhood wounds and insecurities they haven’t dealt with — perhaps as a result of being abused themselves. They didn’t learn healthy coping mechanisms or how to have positive, healthy relationships. Instead, they feel angry, hurt, fearful and powerless.

Male and female abusers tend to have high rates of personality disorders including borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. Although emotional abuse doesn’t always lead to physical abuse, physical abuse is almost always preceded and accompanied by emotional abuse.*

The victim of the abuse quite often doesn’t see the mistreatment as abusive. They develop coping mechanisms of denial and minimizing in order to deal with the stress. But the effects of long-term emotional abuse can cause severe emotional trauma in the victim, including depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder.

If you aren’t sure what constitutes this damaging behavior, here are 30 signs of emotional abuse.

1. They humiliate you, put you down, or make fun of you in front of other people.

2. They regularly demean or disregard your opinions, ideas, suggestions, or needs.

3. They use sarcasm or “teasing” to put you down or make you feel bad about yourself.

4. They accuse you of being “too sensitive” in order to deflect their abusive remarks.

5. They try to control you and treat you like a child.

6. They correct or chastise you for your behavior.

7. You feel like you need permission to make decisions or go out somewhere.

8. They try to control the finances and how you spend money.

Have you suffered with emotional or verbal abuse? Click here to get your free Emotional Abuse Test.Find out your emotional abuse score.

9. They belittle and trivialize you, your accomplishments, or your hopes and dreams.

10. They try to make you feel as though they are always right, and you are wrong.

11. They give you disapproving or contemptuous looks or body language.

12. They regularly point out your flaws, mistakes, or shortcomings.

13. They accuse or blame you of things you know aren’t true.

14. They have an inability to laugh at themselves and can’t tolerate others laughing at them.

15. They are intolerant of any seeming lack of respect.

16. They make excuses for their behavior, try to blame others, and have difficulty apologizing.

17. The repeatedly cross your boundaries and ignore your requests.

18. They blame you for their problems, life difficulties, or unhappiness.

19. They call you names, give you unpleasant labels, or make cutting remarks under their breath.

20. They are emotionally distant or emotionally unavailable most of the time.

21. They resort to pouting or withdrawal to get attention or attain what they want.

22. They don’t show you empathy or compassion.

23. They play the victim and try to deflect blame to you rather than taking personal responsibility.

24. They disengage or use neglect or abandonment to punish or frighten you.

25. They don’t seem to notice or care about your feelings.

26. They view you as an extension of themselves rather than as an individual.

27. They withhold sex as a way to manipulate and control.

28. They share personal information about you with others.

29. They invalidate or deny their emotionally abusive behavior when confronted.

30. They make subtle threats or negative remarks with the intent to frighten or control you.

The first step for those being emotionally abused is recognizing it’s happening. If you recognize any of the signs of emotional abuse in your relationship, you need to be honest with yourself so you can regain power over your own life, stop the abuse, and begin to heal. For those who’ve been minimizing, denying, and hiding the abuse, this can be a painful and frightening first step.

The stress of emotional abuse will eventually catch up with you in the form of illness, emotional trauma, depression, or anxiety. You simply can’t allow it to continue, even if it means ending the relationship. A licensed counselor who is trained in abusive relationships can help you navigate the pain and fears of leaving the relationship and work with you to rebuild your self-esteem.

Can an emotional abuser change? It is possible if the abuser deeply desires to change and recognizes his or her abusive patterns and the damage caused by them. However, the learned behaviors and feelings of entitlement and privilege are very difficult to change. The abusers tend to enjoy the power they feel from emotional abuse, and as a result, a very low percentage of abusers can turn themselves around.

 

According to Lundy Bancroft, author of the book Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, here are some of the changes an abuser (either man or woman) needs to make to begin recovery:

  • Admit fully to what they have done.
  • Stop making excuses and blaming.
  • Make amends.
  • Accept responsibility and recognize that abuse is a choice.
  • Identify the patterns of controlling behavior they use.
  • Identify the attitudes that drive their abuse.
  • Accept that overcoming abusiveness is a decades-long process — not declaring themselves “cured.”
  • Not demanding credit for improvements they’ve made.
  • Not treating improvements as vouchers to be spent on occasional acts of abuse (ex. “I haven’t done anything like this in a long time, so it’s not a big deal).
  • Develop respectful, kind, supportive behaviors.
  • Carry their weight and sharing power.
  • Change how they respond to their partner’s (or former partner’s) anger and grievances.
  • Change how they act in heated conflicts.
  • Accept the consequences of their actions (including not feeling sorry for themselves about the consequences, and not blaming their partner or children for them).

If the emotional abuser in your relationship isn’t interested in changing, and you aren’t in a position to leave the relationship immediately, here are some strategies for reclaiming your power and self-esteem for the short term:

Have you suffered with emotional or verbal abuse? Click here to get your free Emotional Abuse Test.Find out your emotional abuse score.

Put your own needs first. Stop worrying about pleasing or protecting the abuser. Take care of yourself and your needs, and let the other person worry about themselves — even when they pout or try to manipulate you and control your behavior.

Set some firm boundaries. Tell your abuser he or she may no longer yell at you, call you names, be rude to you, etc. If the bad behavior occurs, let them know you will not tolerate it and leave the room or get in the car and drive to a friend’s house.

Don’t engage. If the abuser tries to pick a fight or win an argument, don’t engage with anger, over-explaining yourself, or apologies to try to sooth him/her. Just keep quiet and walk away.

Realize you can’t “fix” them. You can’t make this person change or reason your way into their hearts and minds. They must want to change and recognize the destructive quality of their behavior and words. You’ll only feel worse about yourself and the situation by repeated “interventions.”

You are not to blame. If you’ve been entrenched in an abusive relationship for a while, it can be crazy-making. You start to feel like something must be wrong with you since this other person treats you so poorly. Begin to acknowledge to yourself that it is NOT you. This is the first step toward rebuilding your self-esteem.

Seek support. Talk to trusted friends and family or a counselor about what you are going through. Get away from the abusive person as often as possible, and spend time with those who love and support you. This support system will help you feel less alone and isolated while you still contend with the abuser.

Develop an exit plan. You can’t remain in an emotionally abusive relationship forever. If finances or children or some other valid reason prevents you from leaving now, develop a plan for leaving as soon as possible. Begin saving money, looking for a place to live, or planning for divorce if necessary so you can feel more in control and empowered.

Emotional abuse is a form of brain-washing that slowly erodes the victim’s sense of self-worth, security, and trust in themselves and others. In many ways, it is more detrimental than physical abuse because it slowly disintegrates one’s sense of self and personal value. It cuts to the core of your essential being, which can create lifelong psychological scars and emotional pain.

 

*Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_abuse

Leave Your Facebook Comment Below

comments

Comments

  1. Marinda de Gersigny says:

    Relationship abuse does not take place only in partner relationships. Children can abuse their parents and manipulate them to get what they want. I am a Granny and my daughter and her partner abuse me and when I try to stand up to them they blackmail me by threatening to deny me access to my grandchild, knowing how much she means to me. My daughter’s partner has serious abuse issues and constantly threatens me with physical harm. He physically and mentally abuses my daughter and conforms to most of the 30 signs of emotional abuse against her as well as me.

    I am constantly giving -everything I am and own – to them. Financially they owe me thousands and thousands. I know that the relationship is unhealthy and often I have managed to break away, but not for long before their financial chaotic lives compel me to help them out once again. This inevitably means that in order to pay their rent and their car payments I have to move in with them. As soon as this happens and the crisis is averted, I am once again verbally and emotionally abused. I am told that I try to control their lives and exercise my power over them because they owe me money.

    As soon as I threaten to leave and let them get on with it, suddenly they become all humble again and apologize for their bad behavior. I know that this is only because they need me to stay in order to pay the bills and I also know that blackmail involves “paying” for access to my granddaughter, which of course they will never admit to.

    During my last escape I managed to set myself up nicely in a very comfortable sharing situation with a friend. I managed to save some money and felt more secure. When my daughter visited me there, she stole some of my friend’s jewelry and pawned it. Unfortunately she left evidence and my friend laid a charge of theft. When she realized she may go to jail (she is 8 months pregnant at the moment) she confessed. To keep her out of jail I had to give them all my savings to reclaim the pawned jewelry. Because of this I was unable to pay rent for the following month and once again landed up moving in with them. Needless to say I had to pay their rent as well as buy food.

    The sad thing is that my whole life is affected while nothing changes in theirs. Not only did I lose my lodgings, my freedom, my money, the trust and friendship of my friend, but the whole family will be shamed and torn apart – and I will be blamed

    So now I am back to square one again, having to work harder than ever to keep paying their bills as well as earn enough to save so that I can leave again.

    Hoping to find a permanent way out of this.
    Marinda

    • I feel touched by your story, I can feel the powerlessness you may feel by the situation yet at the same token you are not powerless at all. In fact you are very powerful.

      This is a situation in which you are being abused emotionally and psychologically. Your daughter and partner are using you like an animal. They have no regard or respect for you and i dare say love.

      My advise-let go. Detach. Even if it means letting go of your grandchildren. Put yourself first and just let go. My mother tries to manipulate me in a similar manner. Yet I never succumb. In fact, growing up she emotionally abused me to such an extent that I still bear the marks today. But by looking for the strength within I let go. Good riddens, I hardened my heart and moved on.

      • Max I understand how a mother can be that manipulative….mine was that way also…it still messes me up a lot and effects my marriage and life everyday….good luck brother.

    • Here it goes. 10 years ago i married the love of my life. Four years in, we were divorced after trying couseling. She said I talked down to her which I didnt see. I come from a family who is loud and very abusive at times and it seems to work for most of them.

      I never accepted the divorce three years ago, I was going to so everything to win her back. I went to counseling, stopped when i ddint like what i heard, and we had a treacherous three years.

      around xmas, we tried again. she gave what she could, she really did but I wasnt happy with it. i berated her and was worse than EVER before, It was constant. When she told me she was doing what she could and I had to back off, I texted her 20 times aday asking for sex etc..as a “compromise”. The unreal part is that I really just wanted to be with her. i asked to spend time with her to do things and pushed pushed pushed…i wanted HER to tell me not to take a job and move. I was/am so hurt that she didnt have those feelings for me It got nasty. She told me i made her cry and I said so have you. pure resentment.

      three weeks ago i found out she has aboyfriend who treats her well. Of course I lost it..now I have to fight to see my child.

      I went back and reread all the texts—I justified it being in trxts and not to her face—and I cant believe it. Im such a horrendeous person. Thats Love? thats what I think is love i asked myself?

      I need help, not for a day not for a minute but for along time. I have seen a psychologist five times in the last three weeks. Ive lost her for good and I deserve that–she deserves to have that smile on her face. I was to narcistic to think that only I could do it, only I knew wjhat was best for her. In my mind I thought I was doing right. Im a teacher and justified it by wanting “whats best for her”

      I am not a child. I am 45 years old. I am making counseling etc a priority to not be this person. It is a long journey. I want to be happy for her but it hurts to see her with him. I know this is a forever process . I dont want to be like that to anybody else or my children.
      Why if anyone knows did i do this over and over and over again to her? she told me over and over the way i am and i didnt listen.
      She has every right to not want to speak to me, be with me, one day id like to say Im sorry but right now I want to get better for me. I see so many sites about the victums but not about an abuser who wants to change…so I vented.

      • Megan Underwood says:

        I am grateful for your post. I agree that you only read about the victims point of view and not the other way around. What was the one final factor that made you decide to change? I have been in an abusive relationship for 14 years. I have suffered from anxiety, deep depression. and more.I don’t even brush my teeth or take a shower. I can’t seem to figure out how to change any of it, so I hide and slip farther into this black hole I’m in. I love my husband, for some screwed up reason, and hate not being able to be happy with him. When going through the 30 point check list, I answered yes to all of them, which gives me some sense of hope that I’m not crazy, mooching, lazy, incapable person he says I am. I can sometimes look in on my relationship from the outside and for a brief moment see light, but it’s quickly gone with the abusive manipulative words & actions from my abuser. I wonder why I am so stuck on someone who hates me? Why me, and why can’t I be stronger?

        • Megan, take a moment and listen to “Stronger” by Sarah Evans. I’m in the process of getting out of an emotionally abusive relationship as we speak. I continue to ask myself how did I even get here. I know that I’m a good person and someone that says horrible things to someone they “love”, is not someone to have in your life. Life is too short. There are so many people in this world who’d love to just see a smile on your face. Don’t let him take that from you. My heart breaks for you. Know you’re not alone. Also know that you CAN get through this..

          • I’d rather listen to “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor. This way she gathers the strength to push forward to the time when she’s over him and happy and healthy once again.

      • ashton says:

        Andy my fiance is 14 years older than me and treats me the same way. (he’s 40) I would give anything to hear him come to the same conclusion, but it eases my mind to know that people are capable of being better when they choose to.

      • very true to yourself

      • It makes me happy to see that some people are capable of change. Im 26 years old and my boyfriend is 29 and we’ve been together for about 10 1/2 years. We have 3 beautiful kids together and I thought we had a pretty good life. I’ve been a stay at home mom for the whole time, had a few part time jobs but they never lasted simply because my partner is just too jealous. At the beginning I thought OK its understandable that he doesn’t want any other guys talking to me cause he doesn’t wanna lose me so I respected his wishes and stood home with my kids. Now my youngest is gonna be starting school so I finally have an opportunity to get my life back on track. Last year I took about a month and a half and took some GED classes. This wasn’t easy because he had a problem with me taking these classes because there was a chance that other men would talk to me. But I put my foot down and said that I was gonna do it no matter what he said because its for my future. I was able to take the classes and get my GED. So now a year later my youngest will be starting school and all three of my kids will be enrolled in school so I have some time to do something for myself. I let my partner know what I was thinking and that I wanted to do something for me and right away he a problem with the idea. I suggested maybe getting job but that was not a good idea according to him. He says that I don’t need to work because he has a good job and he can take of us without my help. He doesn’t understand that after ten years I need to get out of my house. I feel like a prisoner in my own home. If I want to go anywhere I have to make sure I let him know and that he approves of my plans. I don’t really have any friends just because I could never hang out with them so they really don’t include me in anything because they know I won’t be able to be a part of it. My best friend is my mother. If it wasn’t for her I think I would’ve lost it a long time ago. She hates the situation I’m in but I try not to let her know when he argue because I don’t want her to hate him. I really don’t know what to do. I ask to go to my moms house but he has a problem because he assumes that there is a motive for me to go to her house. Like I’m gonna go to talk to some other guys. He has a problem when I wanna do my makeup because he thinks I want to look pretty for someone else. My own neighbors call me a prisoner because they hardly ever see me leave my house. Its embarrassing and I don’t know what to do. I’ve been with him for so long that I don’t know what to expect without him. He is really good to put out what I do wrong but never what is done right. I cook dinner and he goes and orders some takeout. I really don’t know what I’m here for. I think that may be its because of my kids but I know that it can’t be good for them to constantly see us fighting. My youngest even tells me that he is not gonna let daddy yell at me anymore, he says he’s gonna protect me. That hurts to have my kids think like that. I have two little girls that I’m really hope that they know better than to end up in a relationship like this. I don’t wanna show them that their dads behavior is acceptable. I try to talk to him about it but he says that we don’t need to talk. He is always right and its his way or no way. I am stuck I think I know what’s best but I really don’t know why I’m still here. And I ask myself that all the time. We do have some good times but the bad outweighs the good. I guess what I wanna know is if he can change like you were able to realize what you were doing wrong, or is it too late and should I get out???? I need help please!!! I feel like I’m too young to be living like this!

    • Jill E. says:

      At the risk of sounding harsh, you are part of this equation. Learn what the signs are, get some counseling and stop being a reluctant enabler. You can’t and don’t HAVE to rescue anyone but yourself , but you have established yourself as a doormat that they will never respect. Manipulation like this has been going on for a long time, often since childhood. I work with addicts every day, and the theft, the disrespect, and the crazy-making I see you describe sounds just like our client’s stories. We don’t know what we don’t know, so please look into what addiction and codependency looks like. I learned the hard way, but I learned. We can be addicted to work, shopping, sex, people pleasing, drama, and almost anything. The result is the same…misery thru the generations. Your grandkids will suffer the most and probably end up n jail without an intervention. Knowledge is power.

    • I def agree that emotional abuse doesn’t always happen in partner
      It could be child abusing the parent.

      I’m have a history of alcohol abuse and raise my son with his father in his life. But been sober for over 15 years and been a positive role model since.
      My son witness some negative experiences. I’ve made several amends
      to him. Try to get him some help through therapy even family therapy.
      But no success. It’s been a painful journery to see my son in so much pain and can help him. He is 23 years of age. And blames me for everything bad that has happen to him. He works but constantly press
      me for money. And demands me to fix his problems … Accuse me of things that are not true. He always putting down. And sabotages my goals. Tells me that I’ll never find someone to truly care for me. That when I’m old and needing
      That he will not be there to help me .. He my only son and I love his dearly. but I ready to let go and let God deal with him.

      • I recently became a single mother and have a 16 year old son we have both been though years of emotional abuse. I feel so guilty and stupid for letting it go on for so long. I can already see some of his resentments coming to light and some anger issues . I always tell him he’s not his father because that’s his worse fear to be like him. Don’t give up on your son he’s your family.

  2. A very informative post. Emotional abuse happens to people without them even knowing it, they feel that it is still a normal situation, being aware is the best thing we should do, learning to stand up for our rights and speak up. This article can help open up minds and reach out to others for a better life. Thanks so much for sharing. Great Post!

    • For anyone reading this 🙁 do you deserve for this to happen if it was because something you did in the past. I left him in the past because he used to be mean and he cheated on me and hurt me really bad. And we got back together. But then he again has always been like this… but it has gotten worse. We are finnaly dating again for 4 months now and he has yelled at me over either made up stuff his mind makes up, it is normally about my ex I hate or my sexual relationships I have had in the past. But he has done this 5 times in the 4 months and I know it is gonna happen more. We are a long distant relationship right now.

      • I just wanted to add. He took my virginity and we have been dating a total of 4 years. He has said horrible things to me.. and acts like a totally different person. In the past he used to do pills and he just got out of an alcoholic program because he used to drink everyday when I left him. Neither of us are innocent or the bad guys. It isn’t fair because I am never mean to him. He also naturally has a temper and he is very smart and good with his words. He says he loves me always has and when he is mad he tells me I am lieing when I am telling the truth about my ex and he says the total opposite of what he normally tells me. I love him I feel like he is my soul mate he took my virinigty I loved him at first site I don’t know what to do. He needs help I’m scared he is going to do something stupid. He scares me he said he wouldn’t yell at he lied. He said it was guidance so I had to listen to his voice messages. He said I had to block all the people I had ..had relations with when me and him weren’t together. I did and he acts like he doesn’t trust me. He has said horrible things. 🙁 I’m sorry I have to go somewhere in a rush with typing. I hope someone reads this.

        • Honey, please leave him. It’s just not worth it. I finally left a horribly abusive relationship after 10 years and him and I have a small child together. It’s never too late.

        • Heather C says:

          Please get out of this relationship! I have been married for 16 years and have just realized I have endured emotional abuse the entire relationship. He was my first love and the one I lost my virginity to as well…but no relationship is worth losing yourself over…your dreams, goals, self-respect etc. I only came to this realization because I have 3 kids with him and have been Journaling the last 9 years of our marriage and recently looked back on my feelings that I wrote down. They are the same today as they were 9 years ago. That was mind blowing. I’m currently in counseling and separated until I can figure out what I want out of my life.

          • I completely understand. Being with my first love together 18 yrs, father of my two daughters and husband of 9 yrs. Abuse never crossed my mind. I chalked it up to immature behavior convincing myself that he would grow out of it. Yeah after he turned 30 I was still making that excuse. I was only lying to myself. Once I saw it affecting my daughters I had to go. I refused to allow my kids to think this is how a man suppose to treat you. I saved and played nice as best as I could. After moving in with other family members twice, going to the city shelter three times. I look back sometimes and say “What took me so long?” but I know everything happens in divine order and I am where I am suppose to be. Divorced over a year now. New beautiful apt in an completely different borough and a new love of my life. I refuse to look back! He is still trying to work his way back in. I wish he would just understand it will NEVER HAPPEN! but that is another forum!

        • I think I am an emotional abuser towards my husband of 13 years. We were childhood sweet hearts, who broke up several times before getting married at age 21. During one of our teenage break ups I met someone else and had a relationship for about a year, my virginity was forceful taken by that person, who had another girl friend. I was the chick on the side without even knowing it. I still have problems calling the experience rape because I blame myself. My now husband who was my childhood sweet heart will kiss and touch me but when I said stop he immediately stopped but during my experience with this other dude when I said stopped he never did. I was at an all time low and he called the next day and said he was so sorry and that he loved me. I continued on with the relationship for some months but realized he already had a girlfriend and was using me. I ended the relationship but he will not leave me alone. I made back up with my childhood sweetheart but I was different after that experience and did not even notice it at that time. We got married but I did not trust my childhood sweetheart because I viewed all men as untrustworthy because of my bad experience. At first he tried to be patient with me but I accused him of having affairs, I will smell his shirt of presumed female perfume and “fly of the handler” I had a problem with him be in contact with every female friend he had. He stopped communicating with them, then I made sure I controlled all the finances, I work for more money than him most of the time but he still will hand over all of his for the sooth running of the home. Last year on this same date I discovered he had a secret female friend. I was devastated prior to this I called him at least two times daily. We have two children and now he is so frustrated he ended it yesterday our a misunderstanding concerning money. He said he is fed up. I am not saying he is a saint but I know I heavily contributed to this happening. He still comes home to sleep but we have not touch each other, we no longer communicate, he got up and goes to work, he come home late, if I call him he will answer but I am afraid I have lost him for good. I am seeking help.

    • I have been with my fiance for almost four years, I have read several posts, and still can’t decide /pinpoint or be sure he is emotionally abusive even though at least 15/30 signs r there. The worst we just had a kid and live with his parents. It’s hard to say if I’m just emotionaly over reacting because he told me to my face he doesn’t feel guilty for wanting other people. Which makes me worry who he saw tonight while out with guys from work. I’ve found messages on fb to girls that r very sexual and some picture exchanges that he claims he was hacked yet still talks to all of these girls and I’m pretty sure never told them he was hacked. he tells me I’m immature, emotional and sensitive. I try to tell him I’m upset and we end up fighting and it ends up all my fault and I feel more emotionally drained. I was loosing sleep between how hurt I felt crying at night and caring for our child. He barely looks at our child, has changed maybe 20 diapers in 4 months, has fed him maybe 10 and doesn’t think it’s important right now cuz he needs to relax on video games from the time he’s home from work to bedtime. his idea of cuddles or being together is me sitting beside him while he’s playing video games watching YouTube and listening to music. If I can convince him to put a movie on he’s still on YouTube or barely watching. he is mad when I don’t do fold and put away laundry, forget to pick up my hair from the shower, don’t change the garbage, or let our child cry yet he won’t get up for our kid. He’s threatened to take our son away if I leave. Refuses to see my family at all and against his wishes I bring our child to see my family but his smoking aunt 8 hours away is ok.my mom feels my kid is being used as a tool because she is not allowed to babysit him because my fiance hates her. He thinks she’s controlling and immature and unable to look after our child.

  3. I stayed in a toxic relationship for two years before I realized that enough was enough. I started dating Jamie* (obviously not his real name) when I was 17. At the time, I had just gotten out of another relationship, and quit being friends with two girls I had known since I was very young. So I guess my self-esteem was hurting, and Jamie had this way of making me laugh all the time. At first.

    There were red flags that I didn’t realize were red flags, or just ignored. I cared about Jamie. I ignored the fact that he didn’t get along with his family, and he fought with my family. It was bad enough that my parents actually tried breaking us up before I was old enough to move out. Meanwhile, Jamie would tell me to turn my back on my family because “they hate me, so they don’t care about you either”, and pressured me to move in with him. He pressured me to do a lot of things I didn’t want to do, because he’d threaten to break up with me if I didn’t comply.

    Fast forward about a year and a half. If he got in a fight with a family member or coworker (which happened often), I always had to side with him, even if I knew he was at fault, because I’d get the “lecture”. He would lecture me a lot. He’d talk for literally hours about what a bad girlfriend I was, how I wasn’t doing anything with my life, how I was hindering his music career – he’s a terrible singer anyway – and how all of his personal problems were always someone else’s fault.

    He also had terrible mood swings. He would almost always get angry when he was drunk, and he’d always embarrass himself and me somehow. I would get nervous whenever we went to parties together. And that’s not even the tip of the iceberg.

    The breaking point was just a few days ago actually. We got fighting over something little, but he was treating me incredibly rudely, considering the only thing I did wrong was turn the wrong direction in the car. I told him to stop talking down to me, and he exploded into this “Want me to talk down to you? You’re a stupid f***ing b**ch! You have no soul, you’re abusive, you have no personal skills, you’re this-and-that-and-the-other-thing” rant. Anyways, when we finally got home, I grabbed my own keys and took off for my mom’s house to cool down. He yelled out the door that it was over, yet another attempt to get me to cry and apologize and crawl back, but this time, I just kept walking away.

    • Good for you!!! Don’t look back.

    • Patrice says:

      Hi, I am currently working on a domestic violence book and the book will contain stories from survivors, poems and facts on abuse. I am looking for more women and men to share their story. Would anyone be willing to share their story? The book is set to be released this October for DV awareness month. Also the proceeds would go to National Domestic Violence Hotline.

      * I would like to tell your story, with your permission.

  4. Emotional abuse is devastating, my advise to anyone is please get out! after i had the guts to finish the abusive relationship, i was emotionally scarred. I went out and needed a friend, this so-called friend over a period of two months reeled me in, playing on my vulnarability and drug raped me. I thought if only i had of stayed with kim then i would not have been raped, now i think, if kim had not emotionally abused me then i would not have been raped. emotional abuse is serious, it gets worse not better, get out! otherwise you will be emotionally scarred, and there are pleney of preditors out there. trust me, i know!

    • moirasul says:

      I just wanted to tell you I’m very sorry this happened to you! I hope you end up ok.

  5. I am so lucky to not have gone through emotional abuse but I am sure that it is one of the worst things one can live through. Thank you for opening our eyes to this type of abuse and showing us what to do when it is experienced.

  6. I was emotionally abused by a sister in law for 10 years without realising it.I struggled to have kids and she would constantly torment me about it and made fun of me in front of friends and relatives and when my husband was there she would like act lovey dovey unti one day I told myself it is enough i m not going to tolerate the behavior anymore.I severed ties with her and meet occasionally when there are family gatherings and I have never felt so happy.Thanx very much for opening my eyes

  7. My wife recently told me that a friends mother who is a therapist told her I was mentally abusive because of some ongoing issues in our marriage.I did look at the signs posted on this site,and it seems I fall into a few of the mentioned things. I also realized that she does just as many of these things as well. We have been married for 27 years and two weeks after we got married she tells me of a family member that had sexually molested her for years….so I did the rite thing and told her that when she was ready for sexual activity I would be there for her..I changed my cologne and adjusted my way of trying to initiate sex…for years…it created a major insecure for me…as I was mentally and physically abused most of my childhood…we have had problems with these issues for a while now…and she doesn’t seem to realize that the early on years of our marriage effected how I have become..I am not making excuses..I know that some of my behavior has been unacceptable, but she doesn’t believe any of this is on her. When we fight I can truthfully say I never name call or hit her or even get physically aggressive….but she will get terribly nasty (name calling .pointing out all of my problems)..I am not sure where we are headed..but the words mentally abusive are a hard thing to accuse someone of without knowing how both people get to the that misdiagnosed accusation..which many of the people I know says is not true about me being abusive…but I have started seeing a therapist anyway because we all can improve ourselves for our spouses…

    • Hi
      Do you think I’m being emotionaly abused. I’ve been Married in a relationship for over 25 years. He isolates me gives Me the silent treatment, withholds effection and love . Never kisses or makes love to me , blames me , says he loves me but , every time I try to speak to him to resolve a problem he says I’m just looking for an argument. I get irritable because of his treatment towards me and he says it’s me I’m the abusive one but I only get angry because of his behaviour I feel physically with it now . I am starting to think I am the abuser . What can I do . I feel comet lonely and have no self esteem

      • desperate says:

        Hi
        Please don’t feel it’s you. .my partner is the same. .silent treatment to punish me if i try to tell him his behaviour is unacceptable, he never cuddles me or shows any affection. .he witholds sex unless he wants it and tells me i am starting a row. .today was a typical example. ..I suffer with my blood pressure and stress is a major factor. ..I wait on him hand and foot and make his cigarettes for him he does nothing to help out in the house just demands from me. ..I had gotten up as normal today done the house work put the wash on etc and sorted my 3 kids out. .I was getting the silent treatment from yesterday for not doing what I was told. ..I took a bit of a funny spell as my bp was very high and came into the lounge and asked him if he would mind making me a drink while I peeled the potatoes and got dinner on. ..my legs were wobbly and sweat was pouring from me. ..he looked up at me in discust and told me i was starting a row and was i for real. ..just for asking for a drink. ..I then got the my behaviour is unacceptable lecture and im mental and if i don’t keep quiet he’s leaving me. ..this has been for over 2 years. ..when I seem like im done and stop bothering with him he panics, starts being nice to me but it only lasts a few days and the cycle repeats. ..I know he’s abusive and im not mental or stupid or the other things he calls me but i feel I can’t get out. ..he has wore me down but I know it’s wrong. ..please find the strength to stop this for yourself. ..it isn’t you it’s him

  8. I’ve never done this before. But I feel like if I can admit here on this site, it would be the first step in taking back my life. After reading several sites and signs, I can now see that I am in an emotionally abusive relationship. We have been together for almost two years. And from the beginning there have been major red flags.
    At first I thought “he is just a perfectionist”, or he probably has mild OCD when he would tell me to do things a certain way. And he was very polite about it in the beginning. Please and thank you, you did it perfect, and so on. Now no matter what I do it is not right or good enough. Simple things like loading the dishwasher, cleaning the bathroom, and it is the worst if I happen to drop a crumb of food and not search for it, pick it up, and throw it away.
    I work two jobs, in college full time, and manage to do almost all of the cooking and cleaning. I even stay up for most of the day (i usually sleep 3-4 hours a day) just to be able to spend more time with him. But it’s never a big deal to him. Its not that hard to him, or he didn’t tell me to clean or didn’t tell me to make dinner. But that’s not true at all.
    He doesn’t ever demand that I do something, but he loves to guilt trip me. He calls them “jokes”. He constantly says something that I find very rude or sarcastic, and ends it with “just kidding, it was a joke”. It has gone on for so long that we both refer to these types of jokes as “bad jokes”. So when he says something that hurts my feelings he will say bad joke don’t get mad. But now he is starting to tell me that I’m too sensitive and I can’t take a joke. He threatens that he just won’t joke with me anymore because I don’t know him well enough to understand he is just kidding. And it makes me feel awful, so I always say I’m sorry I just wasn’t sure if you were being serious or not.
    I am constantly trying to do nice things for him, or anything that will make him happy. Because those are the only times he will praise me, compliment me, or give me affection. Every now and then we have our amazing moments when we are super happy and laughing and cuddling and kissing, but aside from those moments I feel like I’m his roommate or something.
    He ignores me most of the time by being on his phone, but if I’m on mine it’s because I am “cheating”.
    There is this constant remarks and “bad jokes” that I am cheating on him or that I will leave him for someone better. Even though I tell him constantly how much I love him and how much I want to be with him, these comments are never ending.
    There is so much more to write, but I will leave it there. My biggest fear in life is to be alone, and I know I need to work on that. But a huge fear I have been developing is that I will become like him. All my friends and family despise him, and recently have been telling me that I am so different than I used to be. And even saying I am acting like him. It breaks my heart because I am a very laid back, kind person and I do not want anyone to feel the way I do. Hopeless. My self hatred is so extreme that I can’t look myself in the eyes in the mirror anymore. I had a lot of emotional issues before I met him, and he asked me about them, and I always thought he did that out of love and compassion. Now I realize he has no compassion, and it was probably all a plan to gain my trust and to see if I would be vulnerable to his ways.

    • frostedflakes says:

      I know what you mean by the cell phone thing. They are always on their phone all the time, but if I answer mine or text, it’s immediately followed with “who was that?” “what do they want?” I’ve tried to set boundaries and say I don’t ask you, why do you always ask me, and usually ends up being a large scale full blown argument, that could spiral out of control. Just my personal opinion, but if you know you’re faithful, pure social transparency is not required for a good relationship. It’s called trust right?

    • Tolaloola says:

      I’ve never replied to anything on these forums before but I’ve been searching signs of emotional abuse a lot recently after I broke up with my now ex partner 6 months ago.
      Lola, your relationship sounds very similar to how mine was:
      I was with my ex for nearly 4 years and I have come to the conclusion that he was emotionally abusive. I should’ve seen it from the beginning when I was late home after a night out with friends, my phone had died and I was 20 mins later than what I’d originally said I was going to be (God forbid!). I came home to my front room completely trashed (at first I thought I’d been burgled) but no. He came charging out of the back of the house yelling and swearing at me about where I’d been and that I’d obviously been cheating on him. He went so mad (he had been drinking) that I had to phone the police as I was scared he was going to hurt me or do more damage to my house. The police came and the last thing the policewoman said to me before escorting him to the police car was “this is only the start of it I see it all the time – get out whilst u can”
      Did I take any notice? No of course I didn’t! I just put it down to the fact he’d had too much to drink.
      The next day he rang me and barely had the decency to apologise but, instead, blamed me for having to spend the night in a police cell and that id ‘over reacted’.
      He offered to pay for the damage he’d caused so I forgave him and everything was ‘fine’. He never did actually replace anything he damaged although did poly filler over the holes in the wall that he’d caused by punching it in anger (caused by me obviously!)
      Our relationship continued. Everyday he’d ask me or accuse me of cheating on him referring back to ‘that night when u were late home’. He’d check my phone constantly. If any man commented on a photo on my Facebook he would go into a rage and accuse me of sleeping with them.
      It got to the point where I had to show him who I was texting or who had txt me and then I’d get “erk why is SHE texting u?’
      I was never allowed anywhere near his phone. He’d constantly shield his phone from me when he was doing something on it and even demanded to know the passcode for my phone but I was never allowed to know his. When I asked the reason for this he’d respond with “ur a slut of course I’m going to have to know ur passcode u can’t be trusted”.
      Let me just point out that I never cheated on this man. For a start I would not of dared to! He used to tell me that if I ever cheated on him then he would have to kill me.
      He controlled everything I did and it got worse. It got to the point that i was worried and getting anxious about what mood he’d be in when he came home from work and how he would take this out on me (I may add, never psychical just abuse and being called names). If I ever argued back I’d be called a ‘fat ugly c*#t” and told “who’d want u look at the state of u your a skank” as well as many other things. I started to go on a diet so he couldn’t call me those names anymore but then he’d get angry and in a mood with me asking me “who are you trying to impress?” When I actually lost weight. It was a lose/lose situation.
      Our sex life suffered too. He started to not want to have sex with me “because your a slag and I don’t know what you’ve got”. Obviously I never had anything as I was faithful but he never believed this.
      I wasn’t allowed to speak to my male friends anymore (not that I had many) and it even got to the point that I couldn’t even glance at a guy in public otherwise I’d be accused of fancying them and, once again, “being a slag”.

      I could go on and on about the many more incidents that happened (I had to cal the police put a other 2 times due to his drunkern abuse and threats) and other ways in who he controlled me.
      I didn’t realise what I was in until I was too far in & it wasn’t until 6 months ago when the abuse got psychical that I ended the relationship. Even then I couldn’t face him to end it myself and had to get a family friend to be with me whilst I ended it as I was so scared of his reaction.
      I became a shell of a person, always looking over my shoulder when I wasn’t with him in case he was out and would spot me doing “something wrong” ie: look at another man in a completely innocent way etc.
      I still miss him to this day because I loved him so deeply.
      My friends and family can not phathom why I love him so much as they just see he as a “evil vile man”.
      However, I’m no longer walking on egg shells, no longer have to look over my shoulder, no longer have to report to him. I my own person and this is all you ever should be.
      Stay strong and take care of number 1 – you.

    • Thank you for writing that LOLA I literally could have written that same thing..It was eerily sad how close our stories are.

  9. frostedflakes says:

    Wow, what a great list, and finally some concrete steps to take to deal with this painful and stressful issue. Thank you for posting this. I’ve been in an abusive, manipulative, and controlling relationship for just over 2 years.

    The hardest part of all of this is realizing it is happening, and possibly facing the fact that you might need to leave someone you love and care about deeply. My partner has started counseling to deal with anger issues, although the root cause is severe childhood abuse and sexual assault. Sadly, I’m not seeing improvements, and even have been threatened multiple times with pseudo suicide attempts. I’m always put in the position of having to choose between my partner and my friends, and any time I’m out with friends or family, typically that’s when the texts and calls start.

    Sometimes I think I’m the one who is causing this, and I can’t help but think if I just did something differently my partner wouldn’t act this way, wouldn’t scream at me, wouldn’t throw and break things, wouldn’t criticize everything I do, put me down, embarrass me, insult me, or attempt to put their lives in immediate danger. My partner knows they’re mentally ill, but still believe I’m mostly the cause, and thinks couples counseling is the only way out. I’m definitely willing to try this, but ultimately the blame is still shifting on me. I just never can do right, and never can do enough. The bar is there, but keeps moving, and is ever changing. I’m lost, confused, and have a difficult time recognizing the situation or my own feelings about what to do. In my partner’s presence my adrenaline pumps, I basically keep quiet to avoid conflict, and purposefully try not to disagree, speak my mind, or do anything that might set off an episode.

    • Wow, that’s so uncanny how simular your situation seems to mine. I never know what will set my partner off , and Um constantly trying and feel like nothing I do is good enough. if the house is spotless, it’s “why wren’t u helping me in the yard?” If I’ve showered him with homecooked meals and back massages, it’s why don’t we have sex more? Things will seem to get better, then he’s off on an unexpected tangent again. Half the time he makes me feel I’m to blame for him cursing me out. He blames his unstable childhood, but thats no excuse to try to be different. He refuses counseling. I don’t have the finances to leave. Don’t know where to go from here…

  10. I’m afraid I may currently be dealing with this. I”ve been in this relationship for over two years, and it seems to be getting more prevalent. We’ve had countless talks about how it is NOT okay to curse and raise his voice when he gets angry, and he always tells me I should sense when he’s getting angry because that’s just the way he is and back off. Sometimes I feel like I’m walking on eggshells , not knowing when I’m doing something that’s going to set him off. He pouts and holds money over my head when I don’t feel like having sex. The mist recent fight was due to me not knowing that he wanted me helping outside when I was cleaning up inside, and that was selfish of me because I should gave asked him what I wanted, according to him. I’m getting so fed up and broken, but I can’t get him to see this is no way to communicate. I’ve got do much invested in this relationship, I don’t want to give up, but is it possible for him to change?

    • Girl, leave. My husband- who I am now separated from- would actually admit that he was trying to break me. You say you feel broken- that’s his aim. He wants you to feel like that.

      Once he gets you to one level of brokenness, he will aim for a state that’s worse. Put yourself first. No matter what he says or how he fakes displays of love when it suits his purposes, this man does not really love you. You have to show yourself the love and respect you deserve.

  11. Abusers are COWARDS!! I’ve allowed an immature alcoholic to emotionally abuse me for 2.5 years. Cursing in my face, putting holes in my walls, stalking my car, searching my emails and stripping away my self-worth until I reached the pits of depression as well as gained 40lbs! After praying for strength & guidance… I woke up! I realized I’m 10 times stronger than this moron! I announced, ‘You no longer have power over me! I’m taking my life back and you are NOT going to be in it!’ I ignore his relentless texts, phone calls & threats. He no longer exists in my mind and I’m feeling stronger everyday! It’s a shame to allow another human to steal years from your life. I’m now stronger and more aware of the signs. I’ve learned that NO OTHER PERSON will ever complete you. Inner peace and true happiness can only be found within. I pray for other women in abusive relationships, especially with children. Dear God please give them the strength & courage that is still alive within.

    • Oh yes… I forgot to mention being told over and over and over, ‘No one will EVER love you like I do!’ Well, yeah let’s hope not because I’ll never allow it again!! Abusers don’t know the meaning of love.

      • Same here with my ex boyfriend! That’s all he said to me and at one point I actually started to believe it because he lowered my self confidence so much. It’s been a week since I totally cut it off with him after he made my face bleed as he thought I was seeing someone else which was not the case. They get all these crazy ideas in their heads and actually believe it. I’m taking it day by day but he will not break me!

  12. I am a smart, successful lawyer who did not realise that her boyfriend was consistently emotionally abusing her. He was so charming to begin with that every time we fought, it was me who apologised. He made me feel like I was over reacting to each and every one of his failings. He would deny me affection and the only time he would be nice to me would be around the time I got paid. I tried to break up with him on several occasions but he would crawl his way back into my life by apologising or showering me with compliments and going back to his charming ways. He was always so perfect in front of people that no one knew what changed me from a social and confident woman into someone who was always cowering and waiting for something to explode. In my culture, it is very hard to explain the concept of physical abuse, let alone emotional abuse to family and friends. It all came down to one night when a bunch of us went out and he was behaving like a right gentleman until he invited some girl he used to work with to meet us. He flirted with her shamelessly in front of me and all our friends. I refused to indulge him and continued to chat to a friend when he asked me to come out and have a chat. I refused and he threatened that our relationship would be over if I did not oblige. I walked out with him where he shoved me and pushed me to the ground. When the bouncer of the place came around, he pretended to be helping me up from the ground. Even at at that point I walked away. The girl he was flirting with came out and started apologising to me and he came at me screaming asking me why I was talking to her. At that moment, I lost it and went at him with all my strength and frustration. I hit him and our friends had to hold me back.
    The next day he called me and said that I needed to pay him or he would report me to the cops. He still does not believe that he did something wrong. I changed my number, left the country for a few weeks and only returned when I knew for sure that he had left the country for a new job.

    I think emotional abuse is just as bad as physical abuse because it can shatter one’s self esteem and make one question everything about their personality. I ended up thinking that I must be doing something wrong. I am glad this relationship is over but I am finding it impossible to talk to anyone about it as no one seems to understand.

    • Brave woman God Bless you

    • Aicha,

      I understand. On April 19 something very similar happened to me. I, like you, am an educated professional (I have a master’s from an Ivy League university and work in a large metro area). I was with my boyfriend for just over a year. Over the past 6 months he has had me under the most dreadful spell of my life. Fights, which were always my fault, became very hostile and he would call me names like “cunt”; “slut”, “loser”, “trash” which would make me feel physically sick and I would immediately leave when these outbursts would happen. He would always follow me, begging me to come back, that he lost his temper.

      Running parallel to this verbal abuse were many instances of women “acquaintances” (as he called them) that he was constantly interacting with on Facebook and Instagram. Many of them lived far away, and he called them “fans” of his art (he was a self-proclaimed artist). One woman even sent him a gift in the mail with a hand-written letter, describing the connection they had online. He would tell me that I better get used to it, because he was going to be famous one day and there would be lots of women to deal with, and that he only wanted me. These interactions deeply troubled me, especially because he was so jealous of any male that I spoke to, even my own boss. He consistently warned me that men and women cant be friends. When we would fight, he would threaten to have another girl so fast, or worse…go to a Chinese massage parlor and see a prostitute. Sick right?

      Last weekend there were two straws in a bag from two drinks I bought, and I was berated that I had company over because of these two straws, that there was a male companion, and that I slept with him, and how these straws were going to “haunt him forever.” The next day, I was with him and his entire huge family at a religious event and he ignored me at the family party, left me alone at the table, and was taking jabs at me in front of his cousin. He left a couple of times to take calls, which left me very suspicious. Later that night, I was able to get a hold of his phone and put his password in—he changed it. I demanded he open it and he refused. My worst nightmares were coming true and I became so angry I started shoving him (I have never behaved like this in my life) and then he grabbed me and CHOKED me, with both hands around my neck, until I couldn’t breathe. He then left, re-entered my room, and I punched him in the face repeatedly, I think out of adrenaline. He then ripped swaths of my hair out of my head and threw me to the ground. My life didn’t feel like mine. Its been almost a week and I blocked him from every communication outlet.

      The point of my story: verbal and emotional abuse, in my case, escalated to violence. And it could have been a lot worse. I’m mad I didn’t leave the first time he called me a name. We will be ok, just stay strong. You deserve nothing less than real, pure, loving love.

    • Thank you for sharing your story, especially your part in the violence.
      Everything I’ve read about emotional and verbal abuse portrays it as a one sided thing- abuser abuses victim.
      My experience is different and I hate myself so very much.

      I’ve been verbally abused for three years by the love of my life, who I really did believe I was going to live happily ever after with.
      To cut a very long and awful story short, he has accused me of sleeping with every person I come into contact with, ( I never even look at another guy, I love him so much) I don’t care about him, (doh!)I’m never there for him,( every single minute of my life revolves around him but it’s never enough) if ever I want to speak to another person it’s a betrayal of him… All the usual stuff.

      Hundreds of texts and phone calls and turning up in the middle of the night to check I’m in and not out on my usual prowling the streets to look for men to have sex with…I’ve lost more than 20kilos in weight in the past year because I can’t eat because I’m so anxious. I have no friends left because it was too hard to see them, because obviously I’m sleeping with them all or slagging him off if I do. My family barely recognises me.

      And I put up with it, and put up with it, and put up with it. Because I love him and I know his mum abused him and his ex wife had a string of affairs so he struggles with trust issues. And I thought if I could just prove myself enough I’d make it all ok, he’d realise I was honest and loyal and loved him.

      But then I couldn’t bear it. For the past six months I’ve kept saying it was intolerable and begged him and begged him please stop.

      But he wouldn’t. If anything, it’s got worse. And rather than leave, which is what I needed to do, I’ve got angry. Really angry.

      And so, in the past six months I’ve smashed up the bedroom, I’ve hit him four times, I’ve thrown a drink in his face and I’ve had my hands round his throat.
      Each time it was when he was saying yet another thing about me sleeping with someone else and I just saw red.

      But I am now a physical abuser and I hate myself.
      He has ended the relationship because I am a physical abuser and told everyone that I’ve been abusing him, which is true, I have.

      I know that I wouldn’t have hurt him if I wasn’t at the end of my tether but all abusers blame their victims.

      And all I want is for him to take me back and stop accusing me of sleeping with other men.

      • All you want is for him to take you back ? Why? You don’t mention children. You know he is abusive. He is not the love of your life if he constantly accuses you of cheating. Abusers accuse others of doing wht *they* are doing. In their mind if you are guilty then they are justified. Get help for your anger and physical abuse actions and get away from this negative person.

        • Emily, the thing you must realise about abusive relationships in order to understand why someone would want them back is that it is like a drug. You truly become addicted to the person and you go through withdrawals once out of the relationship. I was lost after I finally got out of an abusive relationship, because he had isolated me from every person I would have considered a potential support prior to meeting him. Even now I sometimes start to smile when I see him, just because that was how it always was. Regardless of how painful it was, I would grin and be ‘happy’ to see him. The addiction has left its mark in my brain, my heart, and my soul, and it has taken a long time for me to be able to say honestly that I never want to speak to him again. It is hard to be cut off when you have slowly built your life around a person and now are trying to rebuild without them.

    • I have been in an abusive relationship. He puts me down and embarrasses me in front of his busines colleagues, but never infront of his family or his close friends. He has yelled at me in private and in front of my adult children. My daughter does not want to me to be in relationship with him and worries that he is damaging my self-esteem, confidence and hurting me irreparably emotionally. She said, I have never seen you so rattled and I am worried about you.
      He took me to a black tie business dinner. A manager who works for him came with his wife, my fellow, sat and flirted with her, touching her shoulder while he had his hand on the back of her chair with his back turned to me. Her husband wouldn’t say anything because he has a good paying job and let his wife be abused. It was discusting.
      I decided last night that this is the end for me when he told me that I fabricated the whole thing. Unbelievable.

  13. Wow, what a wonderful insightful article and then personal stories! Thank You all. I have left a very emotionally abusive marriage at the age of 67…we were married for 9 years and at first as long as sex was an option he was somewhat loving, but then it all changed about 4 years in. I kept telling myself that I could not leave and live with my children and not have any way to pay the numerous credit cards that were run up to keep him happy. One day I said, I can’t do this anymore..I am being abused and I am getting out of here! I visited and talked to my son and they helped me see it all and that I could have a place with them. I took the plunge and left and for several weeks I did nothing but cry and look back to what I felt I didn’t have anymore…my independence. Then again, I would think of what all had gone on behind the closed doors of our home and say, you were being abused and didn’t even know it. I am getting stronger and better daily..the smile is coming back and joy in life. If you think you can’t do it…you can do it..I did and I do not regret it and just 5 months later I can say, Oh happy days are ahead!

  14. I have been married for years. The abuse started the day after we were married. At first it was physical, he drank a lot. Then when he had to deal with the police a few times, he switched to emotional abuse.
    I was molested by my stepfather when I was 17. I didn’t tell my husband about it for 5 years because I was afraid of his reaction. After a beating one night, I finally told him what he wanted to know. What a mistake! For the past 28 years, every argument involves him saying “At least I didn’t sleep with my daddy”. His sister was also molested by her father and he feels really bad for her and never blames her, but my behavior must have caused the abuse.
    According to him, I have slept with every man I have ever known, he believes I have been in a sexual relationship with all 3 of his brothers, and every man that talks to me is a potential sex partner for me.
    I know I am in an abusive relationship. What I don’t know is how to get out! The abuse has not been physical in a lot of years, but in the back of my mind the threat is always there. He has very explosive anger issues and I am seriously afraid of what will happen if I leave.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I’m between a rock and a hard place. I have several places to go, but I know he will never leave me alone and I do not want to subject those who are willing to help me to his violence.

  15. no person is worth you that is sacred whole and complete. when i started working on myself i realised this truth and my ex has been trying to break my spirit but he can’t, and he will not not now,not ever, he has been my teacher to get me to this place, i get it, he maybe will get it, maybe won’t. i can’t judge but he’s definitely not my problem anymore i have two beautiful children to raise and he will not abuse them like he’s been getting away with abusing me. its been tough accepting the truth but i would rather live in truth than a prison, i can start afresh and make my own journey for my children abuse free that is the beauty, we are survivors and can only share our truths, peace be x

  16. Long story of my short marriage. I have been accused of emotionally abusing my ex. She left me when I’d left to serve my country in the Falklands for 6 months. I am in the Royal Navy.

    We met at my cousins wedding and got chatting through social media (Facebook), exchanged numbers & skyped often.

    We fell in love and got married (October Wedding), prior to the marriage there were some ‘terms’ which I had to agree too. These terms were mentioned by her mother & her during the ‘negotiation’ (very cultural background)

    Dowry £2000
    Engagement & Wedding Ring (her pick)
    Furniture for one room (her pick)
    Her to live with her mother until we had our own place.

    Her and her had lived in that flat (London) for years and so it made sense for me to agree to these terms because my only objective was to save from my wages to afford our own place.

    1-2 months in I had to use all the ‘honeymoon’ money to help them pay if there debts (bills) £800 plus. Meaning the honeymoon was delayed until I’d save up again. (Honeymoon February)

    6 months in to marriage life and I was so happy but there was something off, something not right. I worked for a whole month then had about 10 days down time to rest (leave) so I treasured every day I got to spend with the love of my life.

    Something was off because I never had a penny to my name and it seemed we were broke every month. Somehow I thought it was okay because I was supporting my wife and this is what the man of the house does right? the bread winner provides? only she worked part time and her mother was on benefits so how I ended up giving her so much I really don’t know.

    We spoke and I made my feelings clear on the matter, that we may need another approach and I’m open to any ideas she may have.

    The Royal Navy offer accommodation for married couples, a nice 2 bedroom for starters. Only they come with bare minimum, all decent furniture/electronics and pretty much everything you need to move into an empty property we would have to provide, so my idea was simple, it took about 2-3 months to sort out everything to the point of being given the keys to property so my idea was simple, instead of her living with her mother she could move in with mine who owns her own home. there neither of us would have to pay bills for the stay of 3 months which would allow me to save enough to get us our own place. we agreed and she was excited, she worked at Argos so she’d try to get a transfer to another store (Birmingham).

    I left and went back to work and she mentioned this to her mother. It went well (at the beginning so she told me) a week before I came back however the Mrs had changed her mind, she’d been talking about the move with her mother over the month while I was at work. Reasons? didn’t want to be alone with people she doesn’t know (my mother and 11 year old sister in a 3 bedroom house), she’d miss her friends (knowing that her and her friends meet up about once every blue moon because they only ever talk over the phone) etc. I accepted this and decided to try something else when the idea came.

    During next month or 2 she wanted to redo the ‘TEFL’ course she failed to finish a few years ago and to surprise her I financially provided & emotionally supported her by making calls/emails whenever I could to encourage her and asked on progress etc.

    She had a deadline of 90 days to complete course and she gave up halfway because she’d lost her motivation (I wasn’t told until i came back from my month away) whenever I asked about it I was told it’s okay, going well.

    Fast forward another 3 months, we were still there in the same position. And I was becoming frustrated.

    What’s had happened? I had been made promises of things changing but none had been kept, I had been lectured separately by father in law (happiness of Mrs is more important than my own happiness because I am lucky to have her and should look to provide for her as a husband) & brother in law (moving is expensive, you need to be settled to start saving before you can think about moving). Both lectures took place on a day I got back from a month in the rough Irish seas… first time that had happen & took me by surprise.

    Coincidence right? I got back to the flat went upstairs where I found her phone, I checked her phone (messages) because it’s too fishy, behold she had asked them to come over because I was on my way back, man to man talk…

    I was so annoyed, it was hard enough trying to deal with being broke and listening to comments about how her married friends have this and that and live in there own place that she had to invite her family into our business. Second time in a few months. That evening I spoke to her when I was in bed and tried to play it cool saying how weird the day was with what had happened then blatantly asking her if she had anything to do with it. She lied to my face as if it meant nothing so I rolled over said good night and cried myself to sleep while considering a more drastic action (leaving and concentrating on me) 10 days later I told her everything apart from her phone thing. she was shocked I’d consider going my own way and promised again to change things.

    Few months later me and mother in law finally have it out, I figure out that anything me and Ex agreed to she shares and asks for advice from her mother & 10/10 times she’d side with her mothers ideas of mine? I never wanted anything for myself but for us to live as a married couple (moving into a military home would have help me be able to see my wife more often whenever the ship came into port) so during the month while at work it used to come in 3-4 times for 2 days at a time.

    But instead I had to talk to her mother about moving my wife out as if I’m 12 years old asking if I can take my bike out for a ride. I was being manipulated and emotionally controlled by both my wife and her mother but I was to stupid to realise it. She was dead against the idea of her only daughter moving out of the flat let alone the city.

    2 weeks after argument I had a course in Kent, and the best news a person could ever have but possibly at the worst time ever. I was so shocked, ecstatic, stressed, overjoyed… you name it I felt it, she was pregnant.

    My whole life I had done things in order, school, education, part time work, traveled, career job, first car, ‘skipped house’ marriage, I have always been the type of person who would work hard to pay my way for anything I needed/wanted.

    So what now, Nothing saved but her mother had saved enough money from somewhere afford to pay for a new TV every month (finance) plus to go on holiday to Kenya for 3 months.

    Ramadan time.. I come back from work and decided to treat my wife who I’ve missed, she was radiant and glowing (pregnancy thing I guess). Got my chef whites on and in the kitchen, baked some cakes, made some chicken & carrot soup, plus a main meal (can’t remember but I think it was coconut rice & spinach sauce). She made the salad.

    It hit me that apart from the omelette, sauces, noodles, beans on toast my ex had never made me a meal in 9 months (how odd) and before you say I am a sexist and women aren’t there to cook for you think twice, if I can go into the kitchen and come out with a meal from scratch then so could she. (She had the time since she worked part time 2-3 days a week nothing else). Anyway I hinted such thing to her and she though I was joking (this hinting happened no more than 5 times over the 2 year marriage, not once did I drag her to the kitchen and forced her to cook)

    That same month she quit her job after I had strongly advised her not to until she had gotten another job because of the economy, after the double recession there weren’t any jobs around but she wasn’t happy with fact that they only gave her a few hours and they weren’t the shifts she wanted.

    The financial burden on my shoulders increased but we had to somehow prepare for our bundle of joy that’s to come into this world which means finding money from somewhere and putting it aside for everything a newborn would need. at same time she was still sending her mother money in Kenya as she had nothing left while still paying off all their bills.

    I was stressed & on borderline of being depressed as all this would have been avoidable had she gone ahead with my 3 month plan. What’s worse is she always had a tendency to overspend what she had in her account or the shared account which only she used. Main reason I refused the banks option of having £300 overdraft is because I knew she would live in it. I was right as in 2 years she had over spent on at least 7 occasions from just the shared account let alone her own persons accounts. This meant that everyday that money wasn’t paid back we would have to pay a certain amount (fine).

    Whenever I mentioned this I would get that look and a lecture about how once I give her half my wages then it’s hers to do with as she pleases. (Only thing I ever asked/begged was to never over spend and to make sure it stretches the course of the month).

    We had agreed to keep the pregnancy to ourself and only immediate family for the first 3 months then we couldn’t hide it anymore (parents and siblings only) I came back from work and on that rare occasion her friend had paid her a visit, she congratulated me etc & I was shocked because as much as it was her idea to keep it quiet. I hadn’t told anyone who was a friend so what gave her the right to do that? It’s because she was excited and her friend is like a sister to her so she’s family.

    I kept my mouth shut until 3 months was up and then I told my friends because my word means more to me than others mean to them.

    We as a couple had agreed to let the gift that God gave us be a surprise on the day that he/she was born. It’s our right as a couple to come to that agreement or for one to find out but keep it from the other etc. She told all my side of the family when they asked if we were going to find out etc, ‘answer was no, we want to keep it as a surprise’, when her family asked the question the answer was ‘we haven’t made up our minds yet’ at which point I looked at her with shock written all over my face and the words tumbled out of my mouth saying ‘that we had decided to keep it as a surprise and that’s what we’ve told everyone else’

    That evening she mentioned to me that because of what happened with contradicting answers, members of her family think I’m forcing her not to find out the sex of the baby, that I am being controlling. She said that she’s been thinking about finding out because she curious & it had nothing to do with her family who had been asking the same question every time I came back from work. I gave her my blessing to go find out the sex of the baby so long as she did not mess it up for me. If it’s just for her and not because of peer pressure then surely she didn’t have to share it with anyone else and her curiously would been done with right? I left her to think about that when I went back to work. She later said she wasn’t going to find out.

    Baby was born following January ‘she’ was a bundle of joy, straight away I felt this urge to protect her when I heard her cry, mother was well & baby was great… all I wanted was for both to be healthy after everything. It’s was so amazing just experiencing seeing a new life coming into the world, at that point I loved my wife even more because I had just seen her go through the hardest task a woman could experience.

    I had a month off work, my 2 weeks plus 2 weeks paternity, best month of my life. The hostility had taken a back seat between me and the Mother in law, obviously my Mrs and daughter needed me to just be there and that’s what was important in life. I had a family I could call my own, I realised that this is all I ever wanted. A family who I could love and be loved by, a family to look after while they take care of me. Full picture that’s Me, Wife & our Daughter.

    I went back to work and my assignment order had come through while I was on paternity leave (in 6 months I was deploying for 6months)

    Over next 2-3 months a lot had happened and finally the Mrs had agreed to stay in Birmingham where we won’t have any bills and almost everything can go into a pot for our own place ‘our own family home’ I personally wanted to use the 6 months away to make sure I could save as much as I could because after everything that had happened I wanted to give both my Mrs & Baby everything they not only needed but wanted!

    Couldn’t get a military home because I was deploying, so this had to wait until my last 3 months of the deployment prior to applying, moved to Birmingham for 3 months but on the day of moving mother in law showed her true colours, she was verbally argumentative & abusive… I was surprised how calm I’d kept it as I never responded once until my Mrs came downstairs and for the first time in 18 months tried to stand up to her mom for me. Mother in law swore at her own daughter and that was when I lost it and protected my Mrs. Mrs fainted/collapsed… did quick first aid, called ambulance, called the father in law & brother. Ambulance came & took her to hospital, I went with father in law to hospital. Doctor saw that here iron levels were low, not eating well, given birth 3-4 months before, body still adjusting etc. she later told me not to worry as the same thing happened to her when her father and mother were arguing and going through a divorce. I was in bits as I blamed myself for not keeping my cool and biting on the bait that her mother had set!

    That night we left hospital at 1 am, I packed all my stuff while I told her to rest with our daughter who was asleep, I drove to Birmingham (crashed and damaged the hired van – not too badly, angry with what had happened (signed a damage waver thing of £300 thank god), I slept till midday following day, drove my car back to London to pick up my Mrs and Daughter. did not enter the flat and haven’t seen her mother for nearly a year now.

    In 3 months I took as much leave as I could and she travelled up to London for a week every month, the day I moved them out her mother had found a ticket to go to Kenya again for 3 months (returning 2-3 days before I left for 6 months), first time in under 2 years we saved large sums by our standard which told me and Mrs that perhaps she should have had more trust in me earlier on then we would be living in our own place.

    Surprised her by booking a stay in one of the military houses (similar to one we might one day live in) so she can see what they are like and have a look at the area Portsmouth. She loved the place, property etc. we were here for 4-5 days and on one of the days I had to go sort out some paper work at the base, she went sightseeing with the little one and decided to call her mother in Kenya to tell her about the area etc, that phone called ended up in tears as her mother and I quote my mrs ‘why do you want to move there and waste your life? I’m your mother and you’ll leave me alone over here, You have a degree and should be working in a place in London on your career while I look after baby’ etc etc… Mrs called me and I left work straight away as she sounded stressed & I though something may have happened to her or little one, met her in town on a bench facing the sea and her eyes were all puffy as she explained the emotional blackmail her mother had tried to use on her.

    Back to Birmingham & tried to take her mind of things so bought her an ‘offer deal’ of 10 driving lessons then gave her a total of £500.00 in cash to for the rest of her lessons, £250.00 for a new phone, went out shopping for new things (first time in months) £250.00 worth of clothes etc, that month we spent more money on ourselves than we had throughout our marriage. Plus I still obviously supported her and our daughter but we just never had to pay any bills & my mother was happy to be able to give us a helping hand if it meant us finally getting our own place and being happy. As she worked to support herself and my little sister. Even offering to contribute something she took it as a sly comment.

    The saving for our own place would start the moment I left for the deployment.

    I left and next day she had gone to London as its only normal since she hadn’t seen her own mother in 3 months. Not once did I ever tell her that she couldn’t see her etc. there relationship is important to etc other as mine is to my own mother and to my wife.

    About 10 days after I had been away the Mrs had a course ‘childcare course starting’ in Birmingham. We kept in touch through phone calls and emails, every few days etc. She returned to Birmingham & left our daughter in London with her mother. (Did not tell me until I called ‘skyped’ for the first time to see her and our daughter) it was late and she was in my bed so new she was in Birmingham, asked to see our baby because she should have been asleep by then but then she asked me if I’d read my emails. said it was best to read the emails then call her back but that would take to long and it cost £10 for 40mins of skyping, she explained that she had changed her mind and was going back to London, I was in shock and listened… when she finished I hung up and went to sleep without saying anything. Called next day to talk to her, talk some sense to her but she was adamant that this is the best thing for her and our baby. Things got heated and for the first time I’d lost it with her, shouted and swore at her (first and last time that happened). couldn’t believe what was happening and that is even been to a florist before I left to arrange for some roses, chocolate & teddy to be sent to her the weekend prior to her starting her ‘childcare course’

    Over next 2-3 weeks I tried to talk to her & to change her mind but it was no good, then when I asked her if this would have happened had in stayed in the UK on my old routine on 1 month at work 10 days off she said most likely not because we would see each other more often rather than just over Skype etc.

    3 weeks away, 8,500miles across the ocean she says I quote ‘if you love me and how can you emotionally abuse?’ Prior to asking for a divorce on the same email.

    I asked her to elaborate and explain herself in regards to ’emotionally abused’ first time I’d heard the word.

    I did plenty of research to understand what she’s was trying to say, she mentioned some examples:

    Forcing me to learn how to cook (not once did she actually cook me a meal in that time).
    Financially controlling.
    Stopped her from finding out sex of the baby.
    Forced her to do courses (childcare, driving) and tried to get her to work (her idea to help her mother out)
    Forced her to move to Birmingham from London.

    Prior to me getting married I weighed 12.5 stones, prior to me moving the mrs to Birmingham I weighed 16 stones. I was in no mood for it anymore, over the months nothing was going as we tried to plan, the whole idea of marriage was ‘stressfully challenging’, I’d wake up thinking I didn’t know who the woman next to me actually was. Everything was so different to how I had images it would have been. Living with the mother in law was suppose to help us in the long term but instead it was the opposite. The first 6 months were amazing with the hiccup of the debt ‘I helped them pay’ but after I always getting annoyed and quick to anger, I’m not the same composed calculated individual I was practically trained to be over years of harnessing myself and my abilities.

    I ask myself is what I did really emotional abuse towards the person I had promised to be with for the rest of my life, someone I tried to share my life with? or was it me who was the victim of the abuse?

    Currently going through a divorce and contact order to see my daughter as she’s stopped sending or updating me about her while I was abroad.

    Abuse comes from any direction, it’s not just Men who are the wrong dowers. It’s wrong on all levels and I’m glad that I am slowly getting my life back in order. Funny thing is I actually live in my own place now only I miss my daughter terribly as she doesn’t even know her father.

    I suffered it from both my Ex and her mother while temporarily living with them while supposedly planning for our future. Now all I see is how my Ex practically took me for a ride and I felt used the moment I realised what had happened.

    She believes I have done nothing but wronged her as she turns a blind eye in everything else!

    • Ash, to me it does not sound as though you were being abusive in this relationship, but it is possible that she was. I hope that somehow this will be able to be resolved to a point that you can help raise your daughter. I wish you the best of luck!

    • This is such an unfortunate situation especially when a child is involved, your wife clearly did not take care of her role as a wife should have. She came off as being indecisive and immature. Allowing her mother to dictate her paste as well as your own. I pray for especially the sake of the child you are afforded the opportunity to be a part of her life. I do not see you as being emotionally abusive at all, you seem to be a good man who wanted the best for your family. I am sorry things turned out this way for you all the best and I hope this experience does not scar you for the second time around.
      All the best

  17. I’m 69 and now ending a 26 year marriage. I feel so alone. Everyone sides with my husband and no one ever asks me why I left. It wouldn’t matter, no one would believe me. Not even my priest speaks to me. My husband is always so good, kind and wonderful to everyone else but me. In private, he is another person and can go for weeks without acknowledging my presence or speaking to me. I am invisible. I am like a speck of dust on the tip of pin. I am worthless.

    • You are NOT worthless. You are NEVER worthless. Regardless of how someone will make you feel, regardless of their actions, regardless of your own thoughts about yourself, you must realise that you are of infinite worth, that you bring something to this world that no one else has, that you are worth more than anyone can imagine. One day, I hope you will be able to believe this, because accepting the worthiness and love that you deny yourself over and over because of abusive people is one of the best feelings in the world. You are BRILLIANT.

  18. Hi all
    I have been in two abusive relationships, the first lasting 6 years and he was abusive physically as well. I felt powerless and worthless to the point where I didn’t have the strength to leave but waited until he was done with me.
    I am happy to say that I learned a lot from this. I dated another man for about six months- he never physically hurt me but he yelled a lot at the top of his lungs when I would raise a concern, ask a question or offer to help him with budgeting etc.. He called me names in front of other people and would say “he was joking”
    I broke up with him after I finally realized that this relationship was just a less intense version of my last. I was staring to feel horrible about myself.
    I just wanted to bring a point to this discussion board.
    The reason you only hear about the victims side is because the victims are more self aware and the abusers are not. They are unable to put their pride aside and face the reality in front of them.
    There’s two types of women in this world- goddesses and doormats.
    You choose.

  19. Can someone please help me?! I am sixteen years old and I am afraid that my mom and stepdad are in an emotionally abisive relationship where my stepdad is the abuser. He never helps with their child, an eleven month old boy. My mom always wakes up in the middle of the night to feed him but my stepdad says he can’t because he wakes up at 5am for work and that’s more important. Well my mom wakes up at 10:30, 12:00, 3:00, and 5:00! She is up all night with him! He seems to discredit that or blow it off. Because his job is more important apparently. Additionally she wanted to go on a ladies church retreat and he said no because she would be gone for two nights! Just two nights! He couldn’t take care of his own son for that short of time! My mom never gets time to do as she pleases. We never spend much time together anymore and it’s such a big deal when my stepdad watches my baby brother by himself. Heck, it’s a big deal when he bathes him! I am scared for my mom. She has not gone out with girlfriends for anything, not even lunch! He never lets her do anything for herself. She must always be with the baby. But never my stepdad alone with the baby. And when he is alone with him, all they do is watch tv. That’s it. No walks or just genuine playtime. This is a baby! They shouldn’t even be watching tv much at this age. Also whenever they get into fights or have any small disagreement, he never EVER apologizes even when it’s his fault. He will also yell at her when he’s mad and will make her cry. He will call her degrading things too. Still even after events such at that he won’t apologize. I am scared that the verbal and emotional abuse will turn into physical abuse. I am so scared for my mom. What should I do? Is there someone I can call? I don’t have anyone to talk to about this! Please please talk to me, respond to me I feel so alone and I just want to help my mom!

    • Hi Emily,
      Is there another adult relative, an aunt or grandparent, you could talk to about the situation? Have you had the conversation with your mom about your fears? If you can’t talk to a family member who might intervene, then ask your school counselor to help you or refer you to a private therapist who can support you and give you resources for help. Some therapists offer their services for greatly reduced prices or free for someone who can’t pay.

  20. Hi. I have been married for 20 years. In the beginning I thought things were great even though looking back now I can see that there was signs even then I just didn’t see them. I’m not sure anymore who the abuser is. I don’t trust my own judgement and am in counselling to help me. In the beginning I would watch porn with him and wasn’t jealous but that soon changed when I asked him who someone was that knew him and he said he didn’t know. I started catching him in lies and if he wasn’t cheating he made it seem like he was and then would blow up and call me nasty names. A woman he worked with was always being hateful to me and saying he wasn’t there when he was and instead of him saying anything about it told me to leave her alone and I was out to get her. Even when he had the proof of the things she was doing he said he couldn’t say anything cause she might say something that wasn’t true. From then own he said he didn’t mean it like it sounded. I stopped trusting him cause of his lies. During the first five years of our marriage I was the one that kept the job and he couldn’t seem to always in between jobs until we had our first child. Then he straighten up and I stayed home with the baby. Things started getting worse as I was always having to beg for his affection and love and attention. He always saying he didn’t feel like it, always some excuse. I felt neglected, unloved and unwanted. He would blame it on various thens going on with him but I started finding him watching porn instead of wanting to have anything to do with me. I became increasingly jealous and insecure of myself. It was a nightmare. During this time we would have bad fights and the hitting began when my daughter was still an infant. I was always called a bitch or some nasty name or another and he would tell me he didn’t love me and that he was miserable. But always apologize later and promise Not to anymore. I was falsely accused for stealing money from a job 4 years before and through the process of fighting for my innocence we got in a fight and I tried to leave, he told me he would call the law and tell them where I was. I was so crushed and I felt trapped. By the time it was over and I was found innocent I was pregnant again. He promised to never hit me again and he managed to do that for a few years. I tried to get us help several times but he never wanted to go. I got tired of him threatening to leave me and the last time he did. I was done. Emotionally, physically done. He was still in the home but we stopped having any thing to do with each other. I began talking to someone else. He moved out and I told him I was no longer in love with him all I felt was anger resentment and hurt. I didn’t tell him about the other guy and I saw him for 4 months. We ended things after my husband convinced me once again that he would change and I came back to him. I told him about the other guy and he blew up the name calling hitting threatening started all over again. We started conselling and trying to fix it but I am emotionally shut off from him and have built a wall up and don’t know how to let it down or that I even should. He wants me to go back to the way I was before but I don’t think I can. I don’t know what to do or if I should just take a stand and walk away for good. He acts like he is trying then goes back to being hateful and lying. My counselor says he is abusive and doesn’t seem ready to change but I haven’t worked in year’s and not sure that I can support them on my own. Just not sure what I should do.

  21. Hi everyone.
    First, I want to thank you for that article and also thanks to everyone who had the guts to tell their story in the comment section.

    I escaped an emotionally abusive relationship three months ago, and I still feel the after-effects. There are good and bad days, and it’s really helping me to read posts like that, to being told that it’s not my fault. Here it goes:

    We got together last year in Febuary. We were colleagues, but working in different departments. Him being Italian and me being German we both enjoyed talking English with each other. Everything started out fine, but the first time he got mad at me was when I told two colleagues, who are also my two closest friends, that we are together. He said that’s unprofessional and if they ever tell anyone else about us, I have to take full responsibility for what happens in effect. Me being an empathetic workaholic, I thought he was just afraid of his career (Funnily enough, I didn’t think my career was affected by the relationship at all.)

    Every few weeks he found something I did wrong and became paranoid about his working situation. When I freaked out at him after 3 months because I didn’t see any reason to take blame for his pride being hurt, he seemed very happy about my breakout.

    He meant so much to me. Despite his huge ego and pride he could be the sweetest guy on earth and he gave me unexpected presents, compliments etc. but he never seemed to realise that I’m not on this planet to fulfil his needs. He never understood what my job meant to me. He left work on time, I did several extra hours, went home, packed some stuff, went grocery shopping, went to his place, cooked and then he was angry at me because I didn’t to the dishes.

    We decided to go to Italy, to get a life there. I quit my job, left my apartment, left my home country. Once in Italy, I realised that I had to get back. He got mad at me, simply because I said his friend’s hair is curlier that his. He blamed me for breaking things, even though they were already broken. He told me he wanted at least 5 children (boys, actually) and he wanted me to give birth at home without medical supervision. When I told him I’m not a living uterus on legs, he replied that it’s my purpose to give him healthy children. He told me what I could buy and what not. He demanded money from my parents. When I was homesick, he still demanded sex. And this conversation actually happened the day I booked my flight ticket back to Germany:
    Me “Please, I’m really not in the mood.”
    Him “Come on, it will cheer you up.”
    Me “No, can you just hold me, please?”
    Him “And why should I do that? You know I have needs.”
    Me “I know, but I don’t want to.”
    Him “Oh, so now it’s YOU who decides if we have sex or not?”
    Me “It’s not one person who decides. We both need to want it.”
    Him “So you’re saying all the times we had sex it was you who decided?”
    Me “We both wanted it. And right now I don’t want to, so we’re not having sex.”
    Him “You are MY WOMAN and it’s YOUR PURPOSE to satisfy me if I want to.”

    12 hours later I sat in the plane back to Berlin. His last words were “I bet you will soon find a man to marry and to get children with. You are so beautiful.” I replied with “I don’t need a man to be happy. I’m on this world to follow my own dreams.” By the way, all this happened within 5 days. Five days in Italy and I already had enough.

    I feel like frozen when I think about what would’ve happened if I had stayed. He told me I’m the love of his life, but he only needed me to push his ego. He told me I was weak for leaving him. He thought I simply couldn’t deal with his overwhelming personality.

    I’m getting better slowly. I’m unemployed and live with my parents. I have learned a life-lesson. And I will grow from it. I will never-ever let anyone decide for my life choices again. And even if I feel torn now, I’m pretty optimistic that I will grow back again and that the scars remind me of my choice.

    Please, to everyone who is in a similar situation I was in: Leave! Don’t give anyone the power to make you feel small. Get your own life and even if it’s hard and hurting to leave, you will be able to breathe again. Get support from friends and family. I believe in you.

    • You did so well. I’m happy to see what a proper education (knowing that a woman’s voice matters as much as a man’s) can do. Congratulations

  22. Hi

    I recently emailed you my story. You haven’t replied. I was wondering if you recieved it. It’s still happening to me atm. I’m so hurt with anger. I don’t know what to do. Please give me an advise.

  23. Yalls stories really touched me just now.i thought I was the only one who could ever feel like this.and speaking to friends or family it’s like they never really understand the extreme of it right?i met my husband when I was 15 I am 27 now in school I was referred to as obsessed with him,no matter what he did or how many times he left me for other girls and paraded them in front of me I just kept taking him back.he always made me feel like he thought he was doing me a favor by being with me..I never knew it was abuse..it felt normal.everyone wants to kill themselves after a breakup,everyone calls their ex repeatedly for hours on end because they won’t answer their calls except the occasional pick up and laugh or beg them to leave u alone ur pathetic…I was destroyed before I got out of high school..I just didn’t know it,countless cheating,he turned me crazy…I found sperm stains in his clothes all the time,hairs all over him,condom boxes in the trunk of his car,dirty condoms in the trash..all the time it was im crazy,I must be cheating,why am I searching through his stuff,if I didn’t go trying to find something I would t have found it,we’re just friends,if you don’t like it you can leave…he was something else!i was so oblivious to his mind games,he tortured me with ignoring me so much in school that now im so emotionally scarred I have severe abandonment issues I have seperation anxiety I panic when not near him…I will drive by his house still at night…im 27….grown,still doing crap I did in high school.i beg I plead I get suicidal..scary thing is I was always willing to do it to prove to him I was good enough.we had two beautiful children who are extremely attached to me.the pysical abuse was always choking he would choke me till I almost passed out then let go…he tells me he owns me that im never going anywhere even if we’re not together I belong to him and he will always love me.when we were split up we always still slept together.in my mind,if I sleep with him that means he won’t sleep with anyone else,and I don’t want anyone to steal him away from me so I have to sleep with him I have to prove im the best…now I have no identity it’s like me and him were one person mr and mrs…there’s no such thing as just mrs…she doesn’t exist.im his that’s who I am.i called him my soulmate lol I have no idea what a normal relationship is…I’ve never seen one…I have memories from the things he’s done and said that I remember little details…vividly.i never sleep,I’ll give up eating.i almost lost my mind with a crystal meth addiction,all I would do is use and sit for hours staring and thinking about all those memories from school and how pathetic he made me look.i sat outside his house one night for 6 hours with a pistol in my car begging him to come talk to me,I have a gun he said well shoot yourself already cuz I need to go to bed…then the next day I dropped a handmade Christmas stocking filled with exspensive cologne and jewelry and treats for him on his doorstep…he had left me for someone else just days before that…I was just so sad…I wanted to be loved so bad..I’ve loat who I am,the meth addiction he said I looked like a meth monster and he didn’t love me anymore(I was detoxing..it was my 3rd day sober and he tells me I look like a monster )lol I left his ass,packed up,went and got sober and came back and got abused some more he started ignoring me once again.i cried to him about wanting to die and he started laughing at something on tv he was watching.but in this breakup process i turned it around on him and started being emotionally abusive.except I was more full of rage,I challenged him,I’d shove him and threaten his life.i told him he deserved it and I can’t just sit around and let him ruin anyone else’s life…I would flip flop from one emotion to another in minutes to mess with his head..I’d tear him down then tell him he belongs to me and to come over here and give me sex,we started going back and forth using rah other for sex then he’s ignore me afterward and I would verbally attack him for no reason.im finally starting to let things go and accepted it was over.i still desperately seek his apology for the abuse but he said everytime he choked me it was because I hit him first and I need to not put my hands on him…I pushed him once…he’s choked me on over 10 occasions..the last time he did i had pushed him first and he came at me and I was smiling while he was grabbing at me and spit right in his face!and that’s love….we don’t fight anymore,we don’t argue in front of the kids anymore,we still sleep together…but I never thought it was possible but I don’t feel like I need him anymore..it’s just a want..more like he’s my property…also that I went thru years of all this bs I’ll be damned if someone take my place and get all the GLORY and I suffered the pain.i feel entitled sometimes lol yea…I got a lot of work to do i know!hope this post helps someone…

    • Omg! I’m in the same position as you. I know exactly, I mean exactly what you mean because I’m doing exactly the same stuff you did. I took what you’re taking to help me handle my emotions. He cheated on me and when I questioned him where he went? He always look at me with disgust and said ” are you’re taking shit again? You are so f**ked in the head. This drove me crazy.
      The very time I had a fight with my partner, some neighbour called out come outside! I’ve always being a scared person, who’d never argue with anyone especially when it becomes physical, but I was so angry at that moment that I had to let it out. It was her business anyways and it wasn’t late at night so what’s her problem? I was so vicious, never being so vicious before, I walked out of my house not caring how big she was. I’m a very small person when it comes to size but I was so angry from 10 years of torture and he statues that I deserved everything which I haven’t done anything beside getting angry. I felt so angry that felt that I could flick her with my fingers. When I walked out, I said ‘Come on, what’s your problem?’ There’s no one outside my house. My partner was so surprised to see how brave I was and how vicious I was, i can see him backing off. I didn’t want to waste this opportunity, so I approached him, punched him in the face and so said ‘don’t call me crazy! You made me crazy! How could you use and abuse me then accuse me of deserving everything? You tortured me for 10 years and it’s enough. I have nothing, you’ve made me lose it all, so what do I have to lose? Don’t play with me, or I’ll pull you down with me!”

      After that, it made me feel so good. So released of anger. I’ve never done anything like that before. This did scare him and he backed off a bit but he still wasn’t the person whom I thought he was which made me decide to have 2 beautiful kids with him.

    • Hi Brknwing

      You are not alone. I’m in the exact position as you and I’m doing and takin exactly the same stuff as you. My partner pulled me down so bad. He cheated on me and drove off without me in the middle of the night of front of that girl o busted him at the party with. I had no money, no wallet and no keys. Nothing. I was wearing a skirt too. He has being such a dog. When I started smoking from anger and emotion breakdown, he said to me ‘yeah take it and take more!’ then walked out on me. Who can cheat and reply “OF COURSE! That’s because you dont listen!” I didn’t listen as in he told me to not go out but I went out. He goes out nearly everyday so why would I listen to him if he doesn’t do it himself? I know I need to leave but I don’t know where to go or what to do to support both my beautiful sons of ours.

  24. Why is “the most obvious scenario” have to be a Man abusing a Woman?
    Such man bashing. We’re told to man up and take it. I’m not taking it. It’s wrong. Even if it is a man that wrote it. It’s still wrong. Stop the man hating on our society. Maybe our women would respect us more. Until then…MGTOW

  25. I’m working my way out of an emotionally abusive relationship with my father. I know what all the warning signs are, and what I’m supposed to do to overcome the pain caused by the abuse, but nothing seems to be helping. Thanks to his abuse, I don’t have a shred of self-esteem. This has left me isolated to the point that family and friends think it is my choice to spend a lot of time alone.
    I wish I could open up to someone who would understand, and perhaps show me a way forward. I’ve spoken to psychologists in the past, but it hasn’t helped any.
    The first one thought I was making everything up, and the extent of the second one’s advice was: “don’t kill yourself”. Nothing seems to be helping and frankly, I don’t know if I want to keep living, but I’m too afraid to commit suicide.

  26. I’m so glad this is being recognised and its quite hard to detect if you don’t know the signs. It doesn’t matter what gender you are it can still happen. When I was 16 I was in an emotional abusive relationship to the point I tried to commit suicide, after 3 attempts I finally left him. A few years later I was went to uni and a short relationship ended with a very public cheating on his behalf which left me very vulnerable. After that I went out with my best friend for 2 years. Which sadly ended up being another emotional abusive relationship. He once used a tracking device to see if I met my friend for coffee and when i did ignored me for 3 days, laugh if i wore something he didn’t like, constant put downs and when I made a dinner he liked said ‘ your turning into a great young women’ ( creepy) Every night out I went out he would get really moody and demand I go back to his. Said he didn’t like kissing, wouldn’t give me any public affection not even a cuddle when I was cold at a bus stop . He then moved home for a while to work on a motorbike and I refused to move in with him as i knew something wasn’t right. He then went off traveling on his bike and tried to make me move in on my own and wait for his return I refused. He text me once every few days if that because I wouldn’t bend. I had about half a year where I was still with him but mostly on my own, I slowly started getting my own life , did an art auction for charity, got a new job , and Im climbing a mountain this week for Macmillan. He told me I would never be able to raise the money and I did, He didn’t like this and broke it off with me, I agreed it wasn’t right and felt relieved. I wanted to be on my own and had done for about a year but always thought ‘ we were best friends he’s the one’ Now I’m out of that and struggling. My self confidence is destroyed and sometimes even when I’m with friends I’ve known for years struggle to find my voice which was once was very loud and vibrant. I’ve recently met a very lovely man but knows everything and appreciates I need my space to deal with whats going on, I see him once a week and keep the texting to a minimum so it keeps at a slow pace. Its hard as I over analyse every last detail of everything and struggle with anxiety if we go on day trips as these would always end up in disaster with my last partner but I will not be defeated and determined to beat it. If it works out with my current partner, great, if not I’l be ok on my own I’ve always been independant and hope to go traveling on my own this year. To anyone who is in an emotional abusive relationship. You will be ok, You are amazing and you need to leave and fall in love with yourself again.

    • Woman,thank you for sharing!You sound like a courageous woman who has a lot to offer to the world at large.Unfortunately weak men who suffer inferiority complex are those who are falling for you.There is really nothing wrong with you .God will give you a good man.Stop hunting and wait for the Lord’s provision of your slice of complete happiness!!!You are a strong and a challenge to weak men…

  27. silent tears says:

    I have been married 8yrs. He physically and emotionaly abuses me. I keep everything to myself. My family and friends really have no clue what i go through on a daily basis.
    I wake up at4:30am to go to work and leave by 5:45am to get to work which is about 25min away. As soon as i get to work i must call him right away. I do not dare to be a min late calling him for whatever reason. I call and he starts right away ” where you at? “What are you doing?” “What took you so long?” ” whats that noise in the background?”…i answer every question and i dont dare to answer with the wrong tone of voice. By 8am same questions. Then 10am…and so on until my day ends at 3pm. Then those questions begin. ” where you going?” “What are you doing?”..He drinks everyother night and not just a beer or two…its 10,11 ..15 beers. Thats when it gets really nasty with the name calling…your a bitch,your a whore,you do nothing but lie to me,im ugly,im stupid ….omg i can go on and on…he bashes my family and my friends…which im really not allowed to have any because they are everything that i am…a bitch, whore, no good for nothing. He accuses me of cheating and lying constantly. He accuses me of sleeping with everyone
    from my co-workers to my own family members.

    “what are you doing?” …everyday of m

    • silent tears says:

      I keep everything from my family and friends. My parents have no clue what goes on. Im so scared to tell them. Im afraid of what they will think. I go on everyday with a fake smile acting like everythings ok but really im about to break down. Iv thought about taking my own life many times. What have i done so wrong to deserve this. After reading this i really believe i need to seek help. But im scared for someone to tell me that this is true. Im deprssed or that everything iv put into this so called marriage means nothing. Iv came to think this is normal and thats
      how it goes.

      • Go get help, go to a women’s shelter, seek help, you are worthy of being helped. A wonderful beautiful individual who needs freedom and peace from this controling man.

        Be brave, plan to leave your job and him. Get a ticket somewhere, find a job on-line in another town or area of the city. Change your cell number and live, live and live well. Good luck.

  28. I’m thankful for everyone who has shared their stories here. I’ve been married for 17 years. I saw the signs before we got married. I felt bad for my husband because of his crappy childhood. I thought I’d love him, he’d be happy, and wouldn’t need his anger. I keep asking myself why I chose to do this. He has a lot of good qualities, but more often I wonder what’s real and what’s manipulation to get me to stay. I’m in therapy and setting boundaries. He doesn’t like it at all. We’ve started marriage counseling and he just lies and minimizes everything. I hate the thought of failure, breaking up my family, etc… I always said I’d never get divorced, but living with an emotional vampire is slowly killing me. I can’t imagine continuing like we’ve been doing for much longer.

  29. Is it love? Or is it abuse? I’ve been in a live-in relationship for the past 15 years to a nice guy who treats me fine. Seriously he have such a kind heart but for some years now I cry almost everyday because we dont seem to be compatible anymore.

    He doesnt like me hanging out with my friends, he doesnt trust me. It has been like 6 years now since we had sex and I miss it but he doesnt want to have sex with me. I try initiating it but he always turn me away. Many nights I’ve slept in other rooms crying myself to sleep. We dont have any children so it would seem like it is easy to leave but we have been through so much together and now that we have our own home now and not renting I would hate to leave, but I am unhappy.

    I work and he works. After work he hangs out with his friends but I cant do no such thing with my co-workers, if I make a mistake and come home an hour later he argues with me that I am sleeping around. He doesnt trust me. I also caught him lying to me for no reason. One day I came home early and called him on his cell, asking him where he was and he said he was home, simple lies that hurted so much.

    When he drinks he says really hurtful things to me that have me crying all night but next morning he acts normal like nothing is wrong. I know he must be hurting too and he only lashes out when he is intoxicated but then I dont know what to do because when he is sober he acts normal.

    When we hang out together we have nothing to talk about, all we do is look at other people, we have nothing to talk about; the only time the outings are nice is if we meet up with his friends and their spouses then we talk but otherwise the outings are boring when we are in each other company.

    I am so contemplating leaving, weighing the reasons for staying and for leaving and sadly my emotions have gone all haywire, I cant see myself living a life of mistrusts, accusations, no physical contact. Can a relationship sustain ‘room-mate’ mode indefinately?

  30. i’ve been in a relationship with him for 3years. He comes home drunk every weekend, he shouts at me yelling and break some glasses treating me by beating me ….as a result everyday when he shouts i got scared and i cry……i can’t even sleep at night ,i sleep in the morning 2am

  31. Griffin Sailing says:

    I have emotionally abused my girlfriend for the entire 4 years of our relationship and come to think of it I’ve been doing the same thing to everybody else in my life as well. I guess I’ve always had an underlying idea that I might be doing that in way way back of my mind but honestly it never actually clicked in my head until reading this article and realizing that every single one of those 30 signs, are exactly what I’ve been doing. Well my girlfriend has realized it the entire time but she put up with it always because she loves me. Well now things are changing in that aspect, she’s grown very tired of it, she doesn’t trust me, she doesn’t believe a word I say, she practically hates me without actually hating me. Why could I not realize what I was doing until it was too late? Well I hope its not too late anyways but I don’t know. I’m legitimately trying to better myself now. I refuse to yell at her, I refuse to blame her for my problems, I take full responsibility of my actions, I know very well now that I’m the one who has been wrong towards her, not the other way around. She sees a change, sure. But she doesn’t believe that the change will last, and I don’t blame her in the slightest bit for not believing me. I’ve never given her a single reason to even think that I’m capable of becoming a better person. She’s tried to leave me several times now and each time I apologize and act sincere for a few days and then I go right back to being the terrible person that I’ve been. Not this time though. I WILL NOT allow myself to be that person anymore. I AM capable of change. I don’t care how long it takes to prove it to her, I’m not going to give up. I sincerely hope its not too late to save my relationship with her, but even if it is, I did this to myself and I fully understand and accept that. I just hope that one day I can kiss her again. I hope that one day she will trust me. I hope that I haven’t done any irreversible damage to her. I’ve been a terrible lover. Please, if anybody knows of any resources I could read into about how to continue bettering myself, please let me know. Either way, I WILL be a better person from here on out.

    • Hello, thank you for sharing your story. I am touched by your motivation and willingness to change. I wish you good luck and it honestly seems like you’re at a place to make some real changes. The question I have for you is how? How did you wake up to the reality? How did you come recognize and accept your pattern of behaviour as hurtful? I ask because I am with someone who is very much like you were but no matter what I do I can’t get through to him, I feel like he’s tied my hands and made me into an emotional punching bag. I really want to fix things, I love him and I don’t want to lose him. I would appreciate any advice at all
      You should be proud of yourself

  32. My abuser is my mother. I’m 60 and she’s in her 80s. She doesn’t care that she has emotionally and verbally abused me my entire life; she physically abused me the first 18 years of my life until I left home. I cut her out and she forces her way back into my life by wearing me down with constant phone calls, emails, and her friends contacting me. Mom thinks she has everyone fooled and she’s an expert at manipulating people. They think she’s so nice and they believe her lies. She’s borrowed thousands of dollars from her friends but never paid them back. They want me to pay them. I’ve told them all it’s not my responsibility. I beg them to stop enabling her gambling and drug habit but they believe her that I’m just lying about her. When she actually gets caught lying or stealing from her friends, she pretends to have a health crisis so they pity her. Nothing is physically wrong with her. Her doctors confirmed that. Her parents, her husbands, me, her co-workers — everyone is to blame for the choices she made and makes; she’s never at fault. Mom gossips and spreads rumors; she loves making trouble for others. When my husband was seriously ill, she called constantly to complain about someone or whine about some slight that she considered a crisis. She seldom asked about him. Hanging up doesn’t work. She calls and calls and calls. I cut her out 2 months ago — no contact. I had to change my phone numbers, email accounts, and all that’s left to change is to sell our home, which we love, and move with no forwarding address just to get away from her. She never lets anyone leave her; we all must be controlled. If my husband and pets didn’t need me, I’d check out. She lives within a couple hours of us and still drives. There is no hope and there is no peace. I have no physical proof of her abuse and the witnesses I had have all died off. No contact. I’m working hard to stick to it but I know one day she’ll show up and bang on my door until I confront her again. Telling her “no” never has worked, not by any of us who’ve tried to cut her out of our lives. I despise her. I feel like my life ended at birth; she made sure I knew just how worthless I was. I wish she’d just go away and leave me alone. For once, I’d like to be happy and never have to deal with her again.

  33. Laurie Yair says:

    I am 55 and have been married since 1993. The earliest sign of a strange sense of something wrong started before we got married. He kept pressing me to going on these long trips, often off the beaten track. I can’t stand long car rides and long walks…

    My husband made this speech when we got married: “I am no longer single and am stuck now with one woman forever”. Is that funny? Was that supposed to be funny?….

    I get pregnant and get kicked in the stomach..years later, I am thrown the floor and my wrist breaks, I get kicked another time in my stomach..
    My daughters were/are abused physically and emotionally as well. My eldest has a psychological disorder called, Tourettes and OCD. When she was in 2nd grade, she became very violent. I took her to a mental hospital against my husband’s wishes because she broke everything in the house and was physically viokent as well. She was able to come home when in 5th grade but my husband brain-washed her, calling me a bad mommy over the years. He would try to get her to stop the med which calms her down even tho my daugbter’s psych told us that my daughter could not go off the medicine. My husband went to psychiatrists with my daughter to get them to sign papers behind my back that my daughter doesn’t need any help. When she turned 17 my husband put and end to any and all and told her that at age 18 she will be independent. She not only stopped everythg, she became revengeful and violent again. Then, after 8 months of her horrifying OCD disorder, my husband tried to get my daughter back onto meds. It was way too late. In addition, my husband became violent with my daughter and the police and even court are involved. I moved out with my younger daughter yet I am having the hardest time removing my emotional feelings for my husband..what attracted me in the first place…this charismic behavior…because of the serious problems with my daughter who has the psychiatric problems, I have seen a social worker twice with my husband. It was terrible! It was a total mistake to be there with him. He tried to me feel guilty for leaving and guilty for everything. What does it take to be rid of the emotional feelings? I left in December 2014 with my younger daughter

  34. Michelle says:

    What happens if you left someone because of the emotional abuse and then start to act like that person with another person. Like starting to sort of be a emotional abuser?

  35. My wife was physically and verbally abused and raped by her ex husband and several guys before that. It was tough getting close to get cause she was told by her ex husband no one would ever want her.
    We got together 9 years ago. I should’ve known from the beginning it wasn’t going to work out. She was dating a married couple, a guy that was married, and a guy that had a girlfriend. Right after we started dating she went away for the weekend with the married couple saying the plans were made before we met. Several months later I found an email she had sent to them that was sexual in nature. I confronted her about it. She turned it against me because looked at her email. I begged her to stay. One we were married age wanted to control the money. So I direct deposited my check into her acct. She was the only person in the acct. She cheated on me with several people abd always blamed me for her not seeing her friends. The only people I said she couldn’t see were the ones she cheated with. She started modeling for fun couple years into our marriage. I was into photography and wanted to learn so at first she would take me on shoots. After a year she didn’t want me going so she wouldn’t tell me when her shoots were till it was tip late for me to ask off from work. She blamed me for her not morning anymore saying I would get moody when she had photo shoots.
    I have issues with headaches and blackouts that have gotten worse the past few years. Drs haven’t been able to find anything physical to cause it. She even told me maybe it’s in my head. She was diagnosed with fibromyalgia last year during my deep depression. She never told me what was going on with her. She just assumed I would snap out of it because she was sick. Towards the end of last year I started learning about it. When I would site her an article I read she would come back with things like “I tried telling you that before” “I’ve read that article” “that doesn’t work”. It was like I couldn’t be good enough.
    In Jan she said she wanted to leave because she found out I started smoking cigs again last year and lied to her about it. When I told her she cheated on me and I stayed she said me lying about smoking was the same as her cheating.
    We still live together till we sell our house. She still does things to mess with my head…asking for hugs, telling me she loves me, kissing my cheek our neck. And yet she had a boyfriend that she started dating a week after she told me she wanted to leave.
    I wish there was more information on men going through emotional abuse. Seems like everything you see is just about women.

  36. heather says:

    i was in an abusive relationship both physical and emotional for almost 2 years, i would get hit every day or so, kicked down stairs and everything, he would also say things like if i leave he will have men waiting to rape me, i took him to court and for around a year and 6 months of waiting crown court finally said there wasn’t enough evidence and didnt wish to proceed because of my past medical records of self harm, this was only a few months ago, i cried for days because the things he did to me he just got away with it and it didnt seem fair at all i will for the rest of my life carry around the scars physical and emotional, i havent got over the emotional trauma, i still wake up at night crying or screaming from bad dreams, im scared to be alone outside of my house, he would beat me while i was pregnant and i miscarried with all 3 so i try to deal with the loss of them, i dont want sympathy from anyone its not the reason as to why im writing this, if anyone has any advice on how to get over the trauma or atleast to start feeling better about myself its much appreciated, ive talked to people in the past witch helps most the time but not helping permanently

  37. This has been a very eye opening article, and the comments and stories people have written. I’ve been in a relationship for the past 7 months where he uses emotional warfare. It’s not “in your face” but it’s very subtle. Of the list he does about 10 things. I would have never called it emotional abuse but after looking at the list I now realize thats what it is. At first I thought I was just being a drama queen, but I realize I’m not. That is just another excuse I’m making for his behavior. Currently he’s not talking to me (which is one of his ways of upsetting me) and I’m not sure why. I normally make excuses for his behavior (he had a hard childhood, he’s been hurt in the past, etc…) and I end up apologizing and trying to make peace. But I’m tired of making excuses. Right now I’m hurt, sad, disappointed and mad as hell. I feel like I have allowed him to break my spirit and steal my joy. I’m having a hard time not calling him but I know I have to stop the craziness. I also know eventually he will call and I’m trying to figure out what to say or do I block his number so I will never talk to him again. This is such an emotional time but it has been eye opening. I’m doing a lot of soul searching.

  38. My ex gf was/is the most brain damaged person ive ever met and I was too stupid to listen not to my “inner voice”. Here is the story in short…
    I m 34 years old and knew my ex since 7 years before I did move into her country to live and work there. I did work these 7 years 18h a day 7 days a week to get the capital for an international move. in the past I had many talks to her, where i did mention that she never care if Iam maybe happy with her . Ive got only as answer” its up to you” the next day i got appologies and promises that she will never hurt me again. Ive tried7 years to talk to her in quiet, to elaborate my disappointments , my feelings…It came never any reply by her. As i wasin her country ive noted how lazy she also was. She was watching the whole time TV and let her apartment she did rent additional pay by any relatives from the US. As I did mention to her , that I feel like an ATM and thats not good for a love to make someone feel like that, did she answer ” Ok then I move out because Iam not welcome here” Thats all , in such a style i did receive her answers. Then she moved out after i got a bit louder to her , means she has left me alone in her country . I ve told her that at lastalittle bit consience would be great that she can help me to end that like adults and that i can return to my home country…She smiled dirty and said to me ” its your problem, i did not invite you here, i want to run away from all and forget all” that is what she did answer to me. So Iam stuck in a foreign country,andi try to manage it here to earn my income and food . I know very good that man and women have huge missunderstandings but I believe when there is not a little want or afraid that i will lost my partner because of a bad character then it makes no sense to live in such a relationship.

  39. Some of these signs remind me of my former best friend. She sometimes teased, belittled me or put me down. She also criticized my actions at times and acted as though she was right and I was wrong. Yet when I called her out on things she acted like it was no big deal. I built up anger and resentment toward her and started lashing out, yelling and throwing things (not at her), which led her to decide that I was “crazy.” I finally sent an email explaining how I felt, and she responded she was very hurt I saw her that way, and she never meant to insult me. I felt like she really still wouldn’t accept or understand what she had done. After I time I missed her and felt bad and apologized to her. I told her I have done many wrong things too and I need to change. She refused to accept my apology. That was a few years ago (we were friends for 17 years) and to this day she won’t see or talk to me on the phone. It still hurts and I miss her every day. The sad part is she was also a good friend in many ways. And I was also a jerk sometimes. It makes me wonder at times who the real “abuser” was.

  40. I have been married for 31 years now and have 3 grown up children. Two who are still at home. My husband has emotionally abused me all that time and did not realise it til I started seeing a therapist and stand up to hi,! He doesnt like it and some days are harder than others but I will work at my marriage and if, in years to come I do leave him I know I have tried my best!!

  41. I HAVE GONE THROUGH THIS WITH SOMEONE VERY CLOSE TO ME. SHE BLAMED ME IF SHE HAS NOT GOT MARRIED AND WHEN EVER SHE HAS PROBLEM.
    I LOST THAT PERSON TWO YEARS AGO. SOMETIMES I FEEL SHOULD I BE BLAMED FOR HER REACTION THEN AFTER READING YOUR SUGGESTION I WAS AMAZED. THANKS FOR GIVING SUCH LECTURE. IT REALLY HELP ME OVERCOME SUCH FEELING OF GUILT BECAUSE I REALLY LOVED THAT PERSON.

  42. My ex did all of these things. I was so relieved (a few days after) after he broke up with me. I remember waking up the morning after and just crying half an hour before waking up, out of happiness. I got my life back.
    And he sure tried to get me back, threathening to burn my belongings, telling everyone that my sexual assault never happened and therefore, causing many friends to turn their back on me while I was in therapy for the PSTD.
    He even told the I made up how his friend assaulted me, which díd happen and he was even there at the time, he heared the crying, he told me himself.

    So now I feel incredibly sad but relieved at the same time. Sad that it happened, glad that it’s over.

  43. I have been in 3 emotionally abusive relationships for some reason and am attracted to these types of men, which I am going to strongly work on resolving. I have been in therapy for over a year and that helped me realize that I grew up in an emotionally abusive family with both parents exhibiting these types of behaviors which were passed down to me. Throughout my life I have emotionally abused people at times and have let others emotionally abuse me. But since I have come to this realization I no longer engage in these negative activities and work really hard on making myself a much better person.

    First bf was when I was in my early 20’s, incredibly naive. Lasted 7 1/2 years. He is a sociopath and a narcissist which I think go hand and hand. Cheater, never knew what was a lie and what wasn’t. Of course it took me forever to figure all this out and once I did it blew up in my face and took countless years to heal. Next loser was just a straight up narcissist and very emotionally abusive. In the course of a year I probably broke up with him 7 times convincing myself I deserved better only to have him crawl back telling me he had changed and I’d go back, a month letter it’d be bad again and I’d leave. Both of these relationships reduced me to feeling like I was worthless and stupid and I deserved to be treated badly.

    So I decided to go back to college, got two Bachelor’s degrees in science but really didn’t do much with my life after that. I stayed away from people because the guys that were attracted to me were the creepy ones that wanted to crawl in and take over and destroy me, those sickos. So I just became a shell of a person I guess. Then 1 1/2 years ago I met a guy 10 years younger than me at a crappy job I was working. For some reason we hit it off, looking back now it was because he was a narcissist. At the time all the signs were there. Super inflated ego, believed he knew everything about everything, debated with me about anything just to listen to himself talk even if it was a subject I was well versed on. However I just kept seeing him. I do have a mental disorder which makes these sort of things much worse for me to handle because my mind immediately starts telling me that I am a giant piece of shit and stupid. So annoying.

    Anyway, within 6 months we are living together in a house that my parents rent. It was pretty rough at first. He plays video games non stop, watches super hero cartoons all the time, all of which seem pretty damn immature to me, and he rarely wants to spend time with me. He is a Jehovah Witness and his parents hate me because I am not (something he says I can’t possibly understand). I do understand, it’s called reverse racism. Up until then he attended the meetings 2-3 times a week. When we moved in together he stopped going because us living together is bad according to the people. He states he follows the bible 100%. I don’t believe there is a God. BTW I did not know he was a JH until after we slept together otherwhise I would not have dated him.
    This past year of living together has seen it’s struggles and I’m honestly not sure why I have continued to pursue it. I don’t love him, he does love me, my therapist met with us a month ago and she did say she could tell that. However, he is a sexist. He believes men are smarter than women because men’s brains are larger than women’s. He believes men are more logical than women. He believes that are only 3 very intelligent women that have ever existed on this planet. He believes the majority of the people on this planet are stupid. He has never once invited me to any of his family gatherings whether it be at there house or a restaurant. He does not come over to my parents house for gatherings nor does he hang out with any of my friends when I invite him, the couple times he has it was like pulling his teeth. He has no friends that he hangs out with because he has never met anyone on the same intellectual wave length as him, including me. He actually was invited to a party this evening and didn’t bother to invite me which is something couples always do, those things don’t even bother to cross his mind and you can talk to him about it til your blue in the face, you will always be wrong because he is always right.

    Up until 3 months ago when he would get mad at me he would just give me the silent treatment, one lasted a whole week. This would make me so mad because he literally looked right through me like I was invisible. I started doing real self destructive behaviors like drinking hard alcohol every night, not only to deal with being around him but to deal with these call center jobs I was working. One night I just couldn’t take it anymore. We got in the absolute stupidest fight. I began drinking before he came home, it was a Sunday night and I did not want to go to this job the next day. He came home, ignored me, then left to go to them gym. Without a thought I got up, downed 80 xanax, drank a glass of rum & took around 150 non buffered aspirin and passed out. Didn’t even give a shit. Unfortunately about two hours later he found me, all because I forgot to turn my bedroom light off (I have a separate bedroom I sleep in sometimes). He heard some tiny whimpering noises and decided to investigate. Well he rushed my ass to the ER (about 5 minutes away). was 3 times over the legal alcohol limit whatever that means. I was in the ICU chained to the bed with a stomach pump tube down my throat for 3 days getting all that aspirin out which of course I don’t remember cause I was so drugged up. Spent 5 days total in the hospital. Nearly 3 months ago that happened and my body still has not recovered. I have tendonitis in my arms from the arm restraints. Can’t work and had to file for disability which I’m sure I will be denied for (which is fine, I don’t deserve it anyway). But I finally realized, my mental mood swings that went so drastic to where I would physically harm myself and the suicide attempt were because of him pushing me overboard. So he just is not good for me.

    What makes it tough, and I think it’s like this for alot of people in emotionally abusive relationships, is that it isn’t always bad. We do have good times together when he isn’t being a pompous asshole. But he is who he is, which is the son of his farther who is identical. I mean in this day and age who honestly tells their wife “the man has the final say in all decisions.”? No way in hell. It is equal. So what to do. Well I am not one of those people who can sit down face to face and have a conversation with a person who turns things around and tries to manipulate me into saying that things are my fault, or who even will play the poor me card. I’m not going to point fingers, I just want to say we tried, it didn’t work out, get out. But I am not going to be mean about it. So I’m going to take a vacation in 4-6 weeks, go visit a friend in Florida. And while I’m there I’m gonna call him on the phone and end it, tell him to find a place and move his stuff out when he can, then let my mom know. I asked my therapist if this was a chicken way of doing it and she said absolutely not, sometimes that is just the way people have to handle things. So for now things are A-ok for 4-6 weeks and then I am done. I deserve to treat myself better.
    Well at least good luck for those 4-6 weeks I hope. I can pull it off, it isn’t that long. My therapist is going to help me work on getting enrolled into grad schools for a masters degree. If I can just get on the right track in that area and get my feet on the ground and start feeling more confident in myself then I know things can start going my way. I don’t mind being single forever, as long as I am happy with myself as a person.

  44. I never realized that what i was going through was emotional abuse. I would describe what my (soon-to-be-ex) husband was doing as ’emotional warfare’. It is sortof surreal to come to the realization that it has been emotional abuse. I am going through the divorce process now — I have a lawyer, an exit plan, and many variations of the exit plan worked out. My husband has been living in a dorm for the past week. We have a son who has also been a victim of emotional abuse from my husband – even more so than me.

    I have to censor what I say in fear of my husband screaming at me and then ignoring my son and I for days. He makes me feel like I am allowed a 5-15 minute allotment of conversation. When he feels that I have reached my daily max for conversation he will turn his back to me and walk away, even if I am in the middle of a sentence, even if it is about something important!

    His behavior toward my sweet almost 4-yr-old is SO much worse. It has started to negatively affect his behavior. My son has told me “mommy, I want you to get me a new daddy who doesn’t scream and yell at me.” Other than screaming, yelling, spanking, flicking in the face, or threatening to hurt him, my husband doesn’t interact much with out son due to having more interest in video games.

    Found out that every time I have gone out of town with our son (without the soon-to-be-ex) he has posted in Craigslist for one night stands in our home. Came back from a trip to find all family photos taken down and hidden away.

    All of my family and friends have been supportive of the split except for my brother and his wife. They mean well and are putting a lot of time and effort into talking to my soon-to-be-ex and myself to try to help us communicate better and I love them for their efforts BUT they (brother and his wife) are in counseling and it has been working for them and I feel that they may just want to use their tools to ‘fix’ another couple, not necessarily truly think that my husband and i can work it out.

    My husband never apologizes and blames everyone else for everything wrong in his life. Is never appreciative of things that I do. He always sees me negatively and is constantly saying crap about me under his breath.

    I know I need to get away from him and go through with the divorce but my brother is being relentless in pushing me to make it work. Feeling more confused now.

  45. Sherrie says:

    I am starting to realise that my partner is and emotional abuser and I would like to hear from anyone who has got through this how they did it ?

    I have been with my partner for 4 years and the first year was great, both of us were head over heels. He was never ever a touchy feely kind of guy and was always somewhat emotionally unavailable but after the first year he suddenly started to back off and withdraw from me, completely out of the blue he dumped me. After not even a couple of hours he was texting me to say he didn’t know why he did it and that he missed me. He kept me dangling for a few weeks, texting me to say he wanted to see me and then letting me down at the last minute. Acting like he was doing me a favour by seeing me. Eventually getting back together with me. Until the next time. This pattern goes on about every 6 months or so and so I’m never ever settled in the knowledge that everything’s ok. I always feel on edge and like I spend my life waiting for him. He has never told me he loves me, only in a drunken txt.

    This last time I felt brave enough to actually move out of the home we shared but when I saw his reaction to this news, proper tears, (he even took time off work which never happens). He told me he had spoke to his sister and told her that he had lost the best thing that ever happened to him and that he didn’t know what was wrong with him. I felt sorry for him and listened to his pleas and promised that we could still have a relationship.
    He was lovely and helpful for a while and then started to not stay over and not invite me to stay at his, not reply to my texts for hours telling me he’s been busy, promising to call and then not.

    At the beginning of the month I was hospitalised and he wasn’t there to support me and it really hurt me so I told him not to contact me again and that if he doesn’t want a proper relationship then he needs to let me go. No contact for a week and then he finds some excuse to wheedle his way back in, he knows how much I love him and that I will always cave in if he asks to see me. So I see him, have a lovely time, he pays for my car to be fixed, lends me his, have a really nice week and then …..NOTHING ???

    How do I make this the last time I put up with this ? I hate myself for putting up with this and being such a weak person. Anyone have a magic wand or tips on how they left their emotionally abusive relationship ?

    • Sherrie says:

      P. S just to add, after reading this back, I sound like a love sick teenager, I’m 39 and he’s 50.

  46. I really hope posting my situation can help me !
    I have been with my boyfriend for 3 yrs I never thought I would be lucky to find what I had always dreamt would happen! But it found us what an amazing feeling to love and be loved back for real,trusting that one person who knows every thing about my life good and bad first time I felt safe,lucky,grateful felt properly loved and loved being in love this man was apart of my life making my heart skip a beat everyday.
    In 2011-2012 my once full of life father tried to take his own life 3 times because of being tortured by 1 of his sons doing all the things to protect his wife but she let it all happen and hurt him in the process every time but didn’t care cause she loved that sort of weird attention,my father lost his voice felt very worthless and used and silently tortured and ended up in mental health,while in care suddenly his wife my mother died I had to go tell my dad this,her sons kept her devoted husband of 40 yrs from being by her side giving her 1 last kiss or even his own words of his last goodbye.two weeks later dad was being released but he didn’t want to go live in that house he was frightened of what that 1 son was going to do to him,I am 1 of their 5 kids,no1 wanted what they considered a problem,I fully enjoyed putting my life on hold getting a rented property becoming his full time carer hard at times cause I never thought I was gonna see him again through severe depression I missed his infectious smile,and him caring abt himself feeling unwanted and thinking he had lived long enough,2 1/2 yrs later wow my partner and I got him back I was so proud of dad he had a voice and felt safe and started to laugh,dec 24th Xmas eve we took him out he was no longer the grinch it was fantastic,danced at home laughed said e wanted to live till he was 90,god we were so happy,said our goodnights the best day was just hrs away,I stayed up preparing for a happy Xmas 1st in 7yrs,time came to take his breakfast and medication,I walked in screamed my father had passed away my family turned on me telling me it was my fault,I had been the best I could be for him without no help in those yrs never once complained.my partner was so amazing but with all the hurt shock and pain caused by others on top of a pain that was taking my breath away feeling like I killed him for not knowing or hearing anything and no1 telling me I hadn’t just blaming me for their lack of time or care with him,I was so glad I got a video of him just hrs before dancing,I was going to send it to all his children,my so amazing fella 12 weeks later smashed up my phone laptop accusing me of things every day rite up till now has no remorse for destroying my precious only last memory of my father because he said so y have it in ur head I’m sick of u not putting me first ur having an affair,the shock hurt insults so close to suicide he was the only person I had I was losing my rented house forced to pack my dads belongings as if he never matterd to anyone only me,I hated closing my eyes cause the vision will never leave me or the smell or the disbelief and the cruelty of others,I haven’t told anyone what he has done cause I don’t want anyone to think bad of him and from that day to this he still hurts me with lies says I deserve everyone to hate me cause I’m selfish and tells me y can’t have kids cause u don’t deserve to be a mam cause you would be a terrible mam,this is from the man who promised to always love me protect me watched me do things for other ppl and told me I had the kindest heart,and says ur dad wud be so disappointed in me,he spits on me hits me tells his best friend I’m trying to set him up and that I’m cheating and to get out,I have no friends no family and when e hurts me e says what are you doing I’m phoning the police your mental,I don’t open my mouth I beg him to stop and he just says what r y talking about I love you,I have no money anyone to turn to or a place to go,I don’t want to live anymore I’m 40 yrs old and I don’t recognise my self anymore all I see is the bad person he tells me I am,I wish I had done something anything to understand how he can hurt me like this

  47. I am too old to get out. I have never really been able to hold down a steady job for more than three years. I have been diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety disorder and I think they’ve always gotten in the way without me understanding how or recognizing that I perhaps act “differently” in some ways I cannot see but others do. I know that it is not because I’m not smart and don’t have any skills – I do. I’m also a college graduate. Now I’m female and old – and the best I could do is get a low wage job and the abuse that comes with it. I would simply be trading one form of abuse for another. I know – the last job I had I was told I must get “permission” to go to the bathroom. This to an older lady who graduated from college. I felt like I was in kindergarten. I would sooner sit on a corner and beg, or stay with this emotionally abusive person than to suffer THAT sort of indignity again.

  48. Hi…

    I have red all the above situasions and with sadness I uselly thought that I was the one being abused and just realized that I can relate to all the above mentioned points. I don’t know what to do, I uselly get so angry I avoid thinking before I say something. Afterwards I feel bad about everything, but it’s at a point where I don’t even care what I say to him or how he feels afterwards.

    Then again he also say hurtful stuff to me making me believe it at this point. I searched for something online to seek help from the emotional abuse from my husband and found this signs. Now I realise that maybe both of us have this problem or maybe I started with this long back and he just started doing the same. We have a one year old daughter and I want to make it work, but the problem is that the fighting occur and I’m afraid we will do more damage to her seeing us fight than staying together. He loves us and I know I’m pushing him to the point where he will give up even if I’m the one suggesting divorce everytime we fight (deep inside that is not what I want).

    I was never like this with him, we had some fights in the beginning where he once got physical and I was so shocked, his family knows about this and seen it but left it there. And since then 7 years back I had trouble making peace with that. Now we are just out of control being disrespectful and not listing to one another because both believe the other one is wrong and neither will say sorry or back of and I need help with this and don’t quite know what to do because I want my daughter to grow up in a stable home with both her parents. Please any advice??? Desperate at this moment!!

  49. Francesca says:

    So this is the story. I am with this man, 10 years my senior. Great relationship but 3 months into it he starts showing abusive behaviours. I remember the first one: we were in the city centre, surrounded by lots of strangers, we have an argument and he publicly raises his voice and repeats 3 times: you are delirious, and pulls away from me. I felt embarassed and humiliated. Imagine the looks of all the people around me.
    We start arguing regularly, and one day I try to go away, get into the bathroom to get my stuff but he blocks the door, and yells abuse at me and dones’t let me out. I phisically push him sideways to get out, and that’s when i realise he as abuse issues.
    the following months are a rollercoaster of joy and arguments. in the arguments he is totally incapable to face his responsibilities. If I tell him something he did hurt me, or was unappropriate, the only tipical response is this horrible mind game of saying: so do you in this and this and this other occasion.
    one day i realise the only way out of these arguments is to quit and leave. he tells me: if you get out now, for me it’s over.
    I manage to tell him that i had decided in the morning in the first place to spend the night out for other reasons (i wanted some time for myself and told him in advance) and that our argument would not change my plans, especially because if we keep discussing, the tone is so heated that we would not get anywere.
    I leave, and the day after he is humble and apologetic. from that day on, things get better. he starts counselling, not for this but he definitely is benefiting from it, and the arguments have subsided.
    every now and then, though, he gets angry, and is abusive, belittles me, scolds me in front of strangers or friends. I always give him the “shut door” treatment: i refuse to discuss if he keeps being so nasty. eventually he calms down.
    on another note: i feel like i often need to ask for permission or at least to give a good reason whenever i want to stay on my own (for exapmple, that night, when i just wanted to spend one night in a room i pay for in a houseshare).
    I need to explain why i want to stay alone with some friends, and he gets it if they are all females, but gets crossed if it’s a mixed group of my friends that i only want to meet alone everynow and then.
    in general, we always see his friends together, and I dont’ need it but he wants so, and doesn’t like that, to use his words, “you exclude me, you make me feel abandoned, you don’t want to share what you have”.
    I feel suffocated and don’t know if this will ever change…

Trackbacks

  1. […] I discovered that I have genital herpes. The doctor said I may have had it for years before …Dear Annie: I am a 68-year-old woman who has been divorced for more than 30 years. I haven't be…re […]

  2. […] 30 Signs Of Emotional Abuse In A Relationship. Davenport, B., Live Bold & Bloom (Nov. 2014). […]

  3. […] someone who has hurt you respond to your desire to be heard with essentially what was “not my problem, you have to deal with things on your own” can be triggering to say the […]