What Emotional Abuse Looks Like

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What Emotional Abuse Looks Like

Unlike physical abuse, emotional abuse can be difficult to recognize

Emotional abuse can go unrecognized. Unlike physical abuse, where the sufferer may be left with bruises, broken bones or black eyes, victims of emotional abuse may not even know it’s happening.

In fact, experts say emotional abuse may be more harmful than physical abuse because it can undermine our self-esteem and allow us to define ourselves by something untrue. Emotional abuse can take many forms, some subtle, such as damaging words uttered from one spouse to another, while others are overt, such as dominating shouts—sometimes paired with physical abuse.

Ask these questions to see if you are being abused:

Does your partner make fun of you or put you down in front of others?
Does your partner tease you, use sarcasm as a way to put you down or degrade you?
When you complain does your partner try to brush their words off with “it was just a joke” or say you are too sensitive?
Does your partner ridicule, dismiss, disregard your opinions, thoughts, suggestions and feelings?
Does your partner correct or chastise you, saying your behavior is inappropriate?
Do you feel you must get permission before going somewhere or before making decisions?
Does your partner control your spending?
Does your partner treat you as though you are inferior?
Does your partner belittle your accomplishments, your aspirations or your plans?
Does your partner give disapproving, dismissive, contemptuous, or condescending looks, comments, and behavior?
Does your partner accuse you of something when you know it isn’t true?
Does your partner call you names or label you?
Does your partner blame you for his problems or unhappiness?
Does your partner pout, withdraw or withhold attention or affection?
Does your partner threaten you or threaten to take away something important to you?
Does your partner not want to meet the basic needs or use neglect or abandonment as punishment?
Does your partner not notice or care how you feel?
Does your partner not protect your personal boundaries or share information you have not approved?
Does your disrespect your requests and do what they think is best for you?
Does your partner require continual contact and haven’t developed a healthy support network among their own peers?
Does your partner manipulate you into sexual activities you don’t like?
Does your partner slowly isolate you from everyone important to you?
Has your partner ever stolen from you, or run up debts for you to handle?
Photo: Rocket Clips/Depositphotos

BHM Edit Staff