Abuse and Self Care, Healthy Relationships

10 Aspects of Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is psychological abuse used to manipulate and control someone. I’ve been a victim of such mistreatment and maybe you have too. Maybe you’ll recognize a relationship one of your friends is in, or your daughter, mother, or sister. Maybe it’s your own relationship. It was mine and now, I want you to get a glimpse of the red flags that might indicate early on that a relationship could turn even more abusive. This list isn’t meant to be exhaustive. Of course, there can be other aspects of emotional abuse not included here. This is my personal experience…

Here are 10 aspects of emotional abuse:

Belitting…Little digs that are almost undetectable like “dinner isn’t too burned” or “those jeans don’t make you look too fat” are great examples of belittling. Of course, more obvious signs such as outright insults fall into this category too.

Lying…We all know what a lie is. Pathological lying about anything and everything is emotionally abusive to the person being lied to. They may lie about where they’ve been or who they’ve been with or about the fact that they ate the last cookie. Seriously, it can get that bad.

No personal accountability…This goes hand-in-hand with lying. The person doesn’t accept responsibility for any of their words or actions. None. Nothing is ever their fault, which leads to…

Always blaming others…Since they lie and they take no accountability for themselves, they naturally aren’t ever to blame for anything (in their eyes anyhow). They blame everyone else for everything. And the likely recipient of the lion’s share of the blame is…their mate. From inclement weather that spoils their plans to the dinner they’re cooking burning, their mate is to blame. This is no exaggeration. If you’re the mate, you can be states away from whatever the thing is happening and you’ll still get blamed for it.

Gaslighting…This is designed to make the abused person question their own sanity. The abuser will try to twist things every which-way, and say things and then deny them, or do things and pretend they never happened. They will be so committed to these lies, that they can sometimes convince themselves. But this is a cruel type of manipulation designed to mess terribly with their mate. If the mate doesn’t know up from down, they’re putty in the hands of a master manipulator which leads to…

Manipulation…Manipulating someone is a means of control. It’s a clever way of using situations to their advantage to gain control over their mate.

Control…The abuser wants to control their mate. They want to know where they are at all times, what they’re doing, who they’re on the phone with. They want to dictate what they wear, what they eat, how they wear their hair, who they see.

Isolation…The control often leads to isolation. Their desire to control everything about their mate can lead them to want to choose your friends for you–or choose that you have none. They may try to turn you against family members. They want you all to themselves and they don’t want any “outsiders” speaking wisdom into your life when they discover how you’re being mistreated.

Disrespect…Things like letting a door close in your face, walking in front of you, not respecting your time, degrading your interests and dreams…are all disrespect. Your feelings, views, and desires are important and anyone who is worthy of your love and time should treat you like the gold that you are.

Not respecting boundaries…We should all have boundaries. All of the above don’t respect your boundaries. More specifically, if even early on, you tell the person that you don’t want to have a drink, a smoke, drugs, sex. They don’t accept that and persist in trying to convince you to do what they want you to do, that you do not. If they don’t accept and respect your wishes and try to talk you into something, they’re not observing your boundaries. Bad, bad sign.



Don’t settle for less than amazing. If you see even one of these signs in your relationship, please really step back and a take a look at it, and make sure it’s the relationship of your dreams, and that you are being treated well and with respect, always.

signature Melanie in aqua color

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  • Reply Sally Cottrell February 23, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    Thank you. I hope my niece will gain the same insight.

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