Emotional abuse can sneak into a relationship. It’s a serious form of control and manipulation. Emotional abuse can be used by any intimate partner (male or female, a friend, parent, grown child, same-sex couple and so on). Here are some of the signs of verbal and emotional abuse: 

He/she puts you down in front of others.

He/she never hears your opinion or ideas or cares about your needs.

He/she teases you to make you feel bad (it’s not funny!).

He/she accuses you of being too sensitive.

He/she controls you—your money, finances, your social life.

He/she regularly corrects your behavior, often accusing you of things you didn’t do.

He/she puts down your dreams and hopes, points out flaws and mistakes.

He/she accuses you of things you know are not true.

He/she blames others for everything that goes wrong and never apologizes.

He/she plays “the victim” to get your attention. He/she might even threaten to commit suicide if you leave.

He/she threatens to share personal information about you with others or even with governmental officials.

He/she threatens to harm or take away your children.

He/she threatens to harm or take away your pets.

Emotional abusers rarely change. If you are a victim of emotional abuse, it’s up to you to get out of the relationship and protect yourself. Long-term emotional abuse can lead to health problems including post-traumatic stress syndrome. You deserve better. You will need counseling (and maybe even an escape plan and shelter) to recover from emotional abuse. Please do not minimize emotional abuse—it is a serious and hurtful form of abuse.