Abuse and Self Care, Encouragement, Health

Emotional Abuse: Recognize the Early Signs

Last week, I touched on emotional abuse and pointed you to an article for more information. As I mentioned, verbal and emotional abuse are often erroneously categorized as “not real abuse.” Friends, it’s real.  The words are real. The pain from being the target of lies, manipulation, and verbal battering is real. 

It’s usually quite subtle at first. It might be a backhanded comment. You know the kind: “Those jeans don’t make you look too fat” or “at least dinner isn’t burnt this time.” Thanks? You’re left a little confused: was that a compliment or an insult? There’s usually a dig in every comment, a veiled threat or insult. The self doubt starts to set in…If you don’t initially recognize these types of remark for what they are, they will continue and worsen until they’re outwardly cruel and not even mildly veiled. If you’re in a non-marital relationship with the ability to end it easily and you see these things in your partner, this relationship is not for you. Note: (If you’re married, it is more difficult to leave and we will discuss a safe plan in an upcoming post. Seek immediate help if you are in danger). If the person isn’t respecting you now, the disrespect will just worsen.

Inch by inch, your would-be abuser will cross the healthy boundaries of your relationship. You say “no” to something, big or small. They’ll keep at you, persisting to try to change your mind. There’s encouragement: “Come on, you should go back to school; you’d make a great teacher!” And then there’s someone being disrespectful of your boundaries and working to change your mind: “Come on, baby. Let’s have sex. You know you want to.” Someone trying to change a firm, healthy decision you’ve made for yourself is disrespectful of you and your boundaries. Once someone like this gets a toe over the line of your boundaries, it’s much easier for them to get their whole foot across and before you realize it, your boundary has been wiped away completely by their words and actions.

Abuse can start slow and like a lobster, you don’t know you’re in hot water until it’s too late.

Treatment like this wears away the layers of who you are until you become unrecognizable to yourself. You feel insignificant, invisible. Stand your ground now.  It will be easier to end a a new relationship than to try to leave a well-established one that’s steeped in abuse and control.  

I found this article at Psych Central helpful in identifying an abuser and a toxic relationship.  Be honest with yourself as you read it.

Speaking of control…please return for my next post where I’ll discuss the control and manipulation aspect of abuse.  And please remember, you are not alone. If you see yourself or a loved one, coworker, or friend in these words, this doesn’t have to be your (or their) life. I almost didn’t survive to tell my abuse story. Don’t let that you be.

As always, visit the links below for immediate help:


No More

National Domestic Violence Hotline

Be Encouraged,


Sharing is caring!Pin on Pinterest1Share on Facebook80Tweet about this on TwitterGoogle+0Share on StumbleUpon4Email to someone
Previous Post Next Post


  • Reply Karen June 30, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Great encouragement to help people in this situation see the subtle warning signs before it’s too late.
    Karen recently posted…America & The Book of JobMy Profile

    • Reply melaniespickett@gmail.com July 1, 2015 at 7:41 pm

      Thank you, Karen. I want people to know the signs, recognize them, and get out before they’re in too deep.

  • Reply Kelly June 30, 2015 at 9:57 am

    This is vital for everyone to read and understand. Unfortunately, emotional abuse can be very hard to recognize since it often starts off slowly.
    Kelly recently posted…Credit Guide: Everything You Need To Know About Credit {sponsored}My Profile

    • Reply melaniespickett@gmail.com July 1, 2015 at 7:40 pm

      Kelly, it definitely can start slowly. That’s how we often marry abusers before we realize that’s what they are. Thank you for reading and commenting!!

  • Reply Clare Speer June 30, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Such reality – great information and awareness!

  • Reply Cathi June 30, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Very thoughtful and informative post on such a difficult subject. Nicely done!
    Cathi recently posted…Lose It! Are you losing weight with it?My Profile

  • Reply Daria June 30, 2015 at 11:06 am

    This is much needed advice. Thanks for spreading awareness!
    Daria recently posted…Never Say “NO” if it’s a Challenge and Creative, DO ITMy Profile

  • Reply Dayne June 30, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    I won’t go into detail, but yes, I do know that it’s very real. Thank you for the encouragement and advice. This is a serious subject that needs attention.
    Dayne recently posted…New Tracks Tuesday – June 30, 2015My Profile

  • Reply Walter Kahler July 1, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Recognizing the verbal and mental abuse is the key to freedom from internalizing negative feelings. Before action can be taken there has to be awareness. Your post is excellent. Too often this topic is swept underneath the rug and discarded. I’m glad to stop by and about your concerns with others about mental and emotional abuse. Another thing it robs a person from is spirituality. Thanks Melanie.

    • Reply melaniespickett@gmail.com July 3, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      Thank you for coming over, Walter. It’s an issue near to my heart. There’s one more element of this type of abuse I’ll address next week. There’s a pattern of how it starts and progresses. It’s very scary to see now that I’m outside of the situation. I don’t want anyone to be oppressed and abused like I was.

  • Reply Amy Bovaird July 2, 2015 at 10:23 am

    Great article! Being vision-impaired, I find that it’s easy for others to try to control me to some degree and their words impacted me, especially those of my long-distance boyfriend. I felt scattered, disorganized and unproductive because that’s what he told me I was like and to keep changing myself. But I am changing myself in my own way, taking back my own confidence. It’s vision-related not laziness or disorganization. With 5% vision, it’s a challenge to keep track of things. 🙂 It doesn’t have to define me.
    I’m still accomplishing my goals. And I’m no longer with my boyfriend.
    Amy Bovaird recently posted…These Noodles are Not for DinnerMy Profile

    • Reply melaniespickett@gmail.com July 3, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      Amy, I’m sure that’s a huge challenge! Good for you for taking back your power and not letting it define you. 🙂

  • Reply Tisha Berg | Biz Mommy July 2, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    This is such an important issue for people to be aware of Melanie. Especially for those who suffer silently, doing all they can to make an undeserving person happy. As the mother of two young girls, I tell my daughters often that the first and most important place we need to look for happiness is within ourselves. I wish more young girls had a deep understanding of this. Thanks for sharing this piece.

    • Reply melaniespickett@gmail.com July 3, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      Tisha, it is so important to me to bring awareness and education to those who’ve been there and those who ARE there. I see young girls, like you said, thinking that possessiveness, jealousy, control are all signs of flattery and demonstrative of love. They’re not and they need to know this.

  • Reply Chari July 2, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    Thanks for sharing! This is a topic many people don’t want to talk about whether it is physical, emotional abuse or both. God bless!
    Chari recently posted…Why I Love Working with Women of God!My Profile

    • Reply melaniespickett@gmail.com July 3, 2015 at 2:13 pm

      Hi Chari! It is a tough thing to talk about and difficult to write about my experience but people need to know they’re not alone. Thank you for reading and commenting!

    Leave a Reply

    CommentLuv badge