Narcissistic abuse (aka emotional abuse) is extremely hard to detect. Most of the time, there’s no physical harm so subtle toxic behaviors are easily dismissed or rationalized. Many survivors will keep telling themselves, “It’s not that bad,” and allow the abuse to continue for months or years until they start to feel physical pain. If you’re questioning your relationship, below are 10 Ways to know if you’re in an abusive relationship.
1. Constant criticism and belittling: Healthy relationships don’t constantly put you down and criticize you. If you feel worthless and inadequate in your relationship, no matter how hard you try to please the other person, you may be in an abusive relationship. It’s not going to get better.
2. Manipulation and control: You feel like you’re losing your mind or going crazy around your partner or a certain person, it’s because your thoughts, feelings, and actions are being manipulated. Abusers tend to love making victims feel guilty, threaten, or intimidated to maintain control.
3. Isolation: Haven’t seen your friends and family in a while? Abusers like to keep victims away from their support systems to make them dependent on the abuser for validation and support.
4. Gaslighting: Going crazy? Abuser manipulates the victim’s perception of reality, making them doubt their memory, perception, and sanity.
5. Verbal aggression: Do you feel degraded by your partner or a particular person? Harsh and hurtful language, yelling, and screaming are ways abusers like to use to intimidate and make victims feel insignificant.
6. Emotional blackmail: The abuser uses emotional manipulation to get what they want, often by threatening to withhold love, affection, or support.
7. Constant monitoring and surveillance: The abuser invades the victim’s privacy, constantly checking their phone, emails, or social media accounts without permission.
8. Withholding affection and love: The abuser withholds affection, love, and emotional support as a means of control and punishment.
9. Blaming and shifting responsibility: The abuser refuses to take responsibility for their actions and instead blames the victim for their own behavior.
10. Intimidation and threats: The abuser uses threats of physical violence, harm to loved ones, or destruction of property to control and intimidate the victim.
Emotional abuse is just as harmful as physical abuse. It has long-lasting effects on a person’s mental and emotional well-being. If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional abuse, it is important to seek immediate help and support from a trusted friend, family member, or professional. Stop waiting for things to get better. There’s no such thing.