Abuse can take many different forms, and it can be difficult to recognise when it’s happening to you. Emotional abuse is one form of abuse that can be just as damaging as physical abuse, and it often goes unnoticed. If you suspect that you may be in an abusive relationship, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate the situation.
One of the first signs of emotional abuse is when your partner tries to dominate and control you. This can take many different forms, such as constantly checking up on you, telling you who you can and can’t spend time with, or dictating what you can and can’t wear. If you feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells around your partner, it’s possible that you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship.
Another common sign of emotional abuse is criticism and blame. If your partner is constantly putting you down, telling you that you’re not good enough, or blaming you for things that aren’t your fault, it’s a sign that something isn’t right. Similarly, if your partner regularly humiliates you, shames you, or insults you, it’s a clear indication of emotional abuse.
Manipulation and threats are also common signs of emotional abuse. Your partner may try to manipulate you into doing things you don’t want to do, or threaten you with consequences if you don’t comply with their demands. This can be incredibly scary, and it’s not something that should be taken lightly.
Physical abuse is also a form of abuse, and it can be just as damaging as emotional abuse. If your partner is shouting at you, throwing things at you, or pushing and shoving you, it’s a sign that something is seriously wrong. If your partner is hitting you, there’s no question that you’re in an abusive relationship.
If any of these behaviours sound familiar, it’s important to take action to protect yourself. Start by practising self-care. This means making sure that you’re getting enough sleep, eating regular meals, and engaging in activities that make you feel good about yourself. Try to set boundaries and take space for yourself. Acknowledge your vulnerabilities, and honour and respect yourself. Focus on your own needs, not your partner’s demands.
It’s also important to seek support from friends and family. Talk to someone you trust about what’s going on, and ask for their help and advice. If you feel like you need more support, consider therapy. A therapist can help you work through your feelings and develop strategies for coping with the situation.
Finally, ask yourself why you’re staying in this relationship. If nothing seems to be working, it may be time to disengage and end the relationship. It’s important to remember that you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness, and you don’t have to put up with abusive behaviour.
Abuse can take many different forms, and it’s not always easy to recognize when it’s happening to you. If you suspect that you’re in an abusive relationship, it’s important to take action to protect yourself. Start by practising self-care, seeking support from friends and family, and considering therapy. And remember, you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness, and you don’t have to put up with abusive behaviour. It’s better to be a survivor than a victim.
Carol Martin-Sperry is a sex therapist and the author of three books about couples and sex. Carol is a fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.