How to Spot an Emotional Abuser

Physical abuse is easy to identify, but what about emotional? Emotional abusers often act out due to their own psychological issues. If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, the best thing to do is to leave. It doesn’t matter how much time or effort you have put in the relationship, you can’t change someone else’s emotional issues if they haven’t dealt with it themselves. It is not worth your time or your soul to be with someone who will mistreat you in any way.

Abuse is genderless. Basically, cultural norms tell us men are always the aggressors – not females – but the reality isn’t always so. Abuse comes in all different forms and can happen to anyone.

Comic Girls Say.. "You're the sort of man who needs a girl he can put down to build up his own ego.. But that girls is NOT going to be me! " #comic #popart #vintage:


Below are signs of emotional abuse

Hypercriticism – Who doesn’t love a little sarcasm in a relationship? This type of humor can add fire and spunk to any relationship, but be wary when innocent ball-busting turns into humiliation. If your partner is hypercritical about everything you do and makes a habit out of putting you down, it’s time for a change.

Disregarding your opinions – Do you feel like your partner is constantly disregarding your opinions? A relationship consists of two people with differing thoughts and opinions. That’s what makes them interesting!

Lack of empathy or compassion – A lack of compassion for you, your friends and family, and your problems is a definite sign that your mate is a total jerk who needs some therapy. This lack of empathy shows that they do not respect your life and the things going on within it. This is a form of emotional abuse.

Constant affairs –  Abusers are selfish in nature, and what is more selfish than infidelity? Affairs or threats of affairs are done with a disregard for your feelings and desires. Affairs also show a level of power from your abuser and may even be done specifically to hurt you. While not all cheaters are abusers, cheating is by definition a form of emotional abuse to a faithful partner. 

They control finances. Control is a large part played in psychological abuse, and one way they can physically control you is by being the only one with access to your finances. This ensures you literally can’t survive without them. Bills, groceries, car payments – all of them are done by your abuser. This is one way in which you will be treated like a child who they feel like they can control.

Family and friends alienation – One of the major emotional abuse signs is isolating their victims. An abuser wants their victim to feel alienated from friends and family so that all they have to rely on is their partner.

Take note: there’s a huge difference between your boyfriend being bored at your grandma’s annual turkey dinner and him telling you, in no uncertain terms, that you will not be hanging out with your mom tonight. If he doesn’t have a good reason for you not to see your friends or family, it may be a sign of emotional abuse. This is where subtlety can come in. Phrases like, “Why don’t you stay here and hang out with me, instead? I miss you when you’re gone,” seem sweet at first, but this may be a subtle tactic to draw you away from your loved ones.

Threats of suicide – One tactic of emotional abusers is to threaten suicide if you leave. This is a major scare tactic and an outright form of manipulation. If you feel like their threats have merit behind them, then inform their close family or friends, but don’t stay in this relationship.

Guilt trips – Car won’t start? He/she’s unhappy with their life? Hasn’t rained in a while? Must be your fault. Emotional abusers are going to blame you for basically everything they can, even when it doesn’t make sense. What’s more, if you constantly feel guilty when you are around your partner, that’s a sign it’s time to call it quits.

Unrelenting jealousy – A healthy jealousy is normal in most relationships. This is a simple sign that you are attached to your partner and don’t appreciate when the hot waitress hits on your man. That being said, when jealousy goes from an annoyed eye roll to your partner outright blaming you for the outside attention you receive, emotional abuse is definitely not far behind.

They withhold sex for control – If your mate is looking to hurt you on an emotional and physical level, they may try and use sex as a weapon. Withholding sex is a powerful way to get your partner’s attention. This is also a passive-aggressive way to hurt you or express anger. Withholding other forms of physical contact and affection is another way abusers try and control you. Their lack of affection can create a spiral of self-doubt in their victim that can degrade their self-worth.

Constant calling and texting – Even though your partner is painting you as worthless, you’d best believe they’ll be blowing up your phone the minute you spend a night away from them. Texting your partner when they’re gone is usually a cute sign that you miss each other. But emotional abusers are going to take it that extra mile. Either they will force you to be in a constant conversation with them via text, or they will try to pick a fight with you/guilt you, and try to get you to come home.

If these emotional abuse signs have made you realize your relationship isn’t as magical as you thought, there’s help available. If you want to know the proper channels for leaving an abusive partner, call (800) 799-SAFE or visit the National Domestic Hotline



  1. Great article and an important one! I used to be with someone like that and I’m glad when the relationship ended because I was overwhelmed and tired of his antics and blackmails.

    • Wow! Thank you, Kally – I am sorry to hear you encountered that type of behavior, but I am happy to know you were smart to get out of it. You know what they say “Love is blind” and I so desperately, want to help others especially women to feel good and love themselves. I am honored that you enjoyed that post, because it is a very important one. To be honest, I was a little hesitant about posting it, but then I thought to hell with it, someone needs this. So, thank you, and thank you for sharing what you went through. I am so glad you got out and are now in a loving and real relationship. Blessings!

      • You’re most welcome, Cheryl. You did the right thing to share your article out and I believe your words and advice may have help someone out there to realize that they are harming themselves by staying in an abusive relationship. Too many women (and men) think that abusive relationships means physical beatings which is not always true. Emotional blackmail is abuse as well. Thank you so much for your courage and wisdom to say those words from your heart.

      • Thank you, Kally! I appreciate your comments.

  2. tmezpoetry

    Cheryl this is a great article! You are right on target in everything you said.

    • Hi, Tammy – Thank you, for your comment. Have a great week ahead!

      • tmezpoetry

        Thanks, you too!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: