Emotional abuse it is a common phenomenon in relationships. When someone fragile enough pairs with someone with sociopathic or narcissistic tendencies, they may soon find themselves under the manipulation of an abuser.

The victim may not understand what is happening and believe that they are the problem, going out of their way to prove and validate themselves.

Emotional abuse is something that both men and women are capable of, usually stemming from unresolved patterns in behavior resulting from past traumas.

Many of us think that abuse is only physical, especially those who are emotionally abused and accept it. It is not as easy to notice when emotional and sexual abuse are happening, compared to the physical.

The different types of abuse

Violence is examined in three different categories: emotional, physical and sexual

Physical abuse, the most common type of abuse, is the intentional use of physical force against another.

Sexual abuse is any sexual act or attempt to obtain a sexual act by abuse or coercion, acts to traffic a person or acts directed against a person’s sexuality, regardless of the relationship to the victim.

Emotional abuse includes both emotional neglect and emotional abuse. When you experience emotional neglect, you experience deprivation of love, attention, being noticed, validation and of feeling valued. The love offered to you is not real: merely a simulation whereby the person you live with meets their needs through you.

Here are the eight signs that you may be with an emotionally abusive partner:

1 — They always put their own wishes and needs ahead of yours

Yours are always secondary unless you threaten to leave. Then all of a sudden you’re their most important person in the world.

2 — You are rarely complimented and easily criticized

The abuser preys on your insecurities to make you feel less deserving and less confident. They do this whenever they sense you exercising your personal power and strength, or when they feel like you’re acting too confident for their taste.

3 — They compare you to other relationships they have had in the past

There is flirting with others and even cheating. They humiliate you. They do not take responsibility. When they are with friends they behave almost like a completely different person. When the two of you are alone, it’s business as usual.

emotional abuse

4 — You are always apologizing for things you may or may not have one

They blame you for the problems in your relationship. They say that what happened is only your fault. By using emotional manipulation techniques, you’re made to believe that you have a mental problem, making you doubt yourself and placing you in an increasingly helpless position.

5 — They gaslight to maintain control by keeping you questioning yourself

Gaslighting is a kind of psychological manipulation whereby an individual or group is fed constant—and at times progressive—doubt and lies, leading them to question their own recollection, views and/or judgments. The abuser decides what you feel and how you should behave. It is controlling and dominant.

6 — You are always extremely careful not to upset or disappoint them

You receive constant criticism and it makes you feel grossly inadequate and also embarrasses you. They strive for you to remain a victim by suppressing your strengths.

7 — They regularly check in to know what you’re doing, where you are and who you’re with

They’re often jealous. They make you feel lonely. You’re prevented from meeting with others and you’re kept away from family and friends, making it difficult for you to get help.

8 — You feel you cannot leave as long as he wants you to stay

When you try to leave them, they threaten to hurt themself or you—or worse. They begin to behave like a victim or like a very loving and caring person, temporarily. They make big promises and gestures. Once they manage to get you back, they quickly revert to their original form, this time with a bigger show of strength and more emotional pressure. It’s always an upward spiral. 

Take back control from emotional abuse

You must learn what true love and respect is if you’re to see when what you’re being offered is fake. If you have a good relationship with your family and close friends, it can be a good to spend more time with them and to spend less time (or a break) from your relationship.

Check out our podcast episode with Ria Gamboa where we dive into conversation around the topics of trauma, abuse, narcissism and sociopathy.