Emotional abuse is very hard to recognize unlike physical and verbal abuse.
When a person tries to manipulate, criticize, shame, blame, or embarrass someone using one's feelings as a tool, it is called emotional abuse. It can lead the victim to have mental health issues and low self-esteem, according to Very Well Mind.
Because of the subtle, slow, and insidious manipulations, emotional abuse is hard to recognize. Even though this form of abuse is more common within families or between a couple, it can occur in other relationships as well like those with friends or co-workers. The more subtle forms of abuse are tough to recognize. So here are a few tell-tale signs.
1. They always yell at you for the silliest things calling you derogatory names. It doesn't stop there; criticism and humiliation become a part of everyday life, which leads you to think you are not good enough for them. They may also embarrass you publicly. They might push your buttons once they understand something you, according to Healthline. If you feel your self-esteem has lowered since you met this person, it could be a sign of emotional abuse.
2. They always try to control you with subtle threats. They might monitor your expenditures and whereabouts. It may start with simple things like, "Do you know what time it is?" when you return home later than usual. Or, they might have sudden outbursts, which throws you off guard. The trick is to get you to think more about them and less about you. If you constantly worry about their reactions rather than your own needs, it could be a sign of emotional abuse.
3. Jealousy is another abusive tactic where the person blames their partner for flirting with others or being too social. They may also blame the victim for their own cheating or infidelity. They always try to play the victim by making the actions of their partners the reason for their own outrageous actions, according to Medical News Today.
4. Abusive people often have mood swings and emotional outbursts. They also make quite contradictory statements and always start baseless arguments, making them unpredictable. They are also someone who is two-faced. By that we mean, they are social butterflies and charming in public but the minute they're home they are another person. If the person acts very kind and puts up a facade to outsiders and behaves differently with you, that is a classic sign you need to be aware of.
5. The way they react to your accomplishments is also one way to understand if want to control you. In most cases, abusive people dismiss their partner's success either by ignoring it, downplaying it, or making a joke out of it. The reason is that they can't see others and especially those they manipulate to move ahead of them. This is also their tactic to make the victims doubt themselves and their potential, according to Huff Post.
6. Partners of abusive people usually lose interest in them. It's mostly seen in women because they prefer being intimate with people they trust. If they feel angry, afraid, or hurt because of them, they find it difficult to get sexually aroused. This leads to more emotional abuse. If you don't feel safe with someone and find yourself anxious and worried around this person instead of happy and relaxed, you need to consider your mental health and decide if it is worth being with this person.
7. They always project themselves as the superior ones by treating their victim as people who just cannot be good enough. They also make a point in making the victim know that they know what is best for them and use sarcasm as a tool of interaction with the victims, according to Very Well Mind. If their joke hurts or makes you feel bad instead of making you laugh, it is a classic sign they are being mean, not funny. They often also say things like, "Oh, I was just joking" or "You are too sensitive" to once again blame you for their cold behavior.
8. After enduring all the manipulation, the victims usually tend to feel sorry for the abusers even at times when they're at fault. Usually, the emotional manipulator may even bring their hurtful pasts and blame their actions on them to gain sympathy, according to Psych Central. But trauma cannot be a reason for them to abuse others and spread more pain in the world.
9. Through control and manipulation, they often alienate the victim not just from their friends but also from their family members. The abusers make the victim believe that they cannot trust anyone else. They restrain their partners from building healthy relationships with others. Ultimately, they ensure the victim loses everyone's support and may even spread lies or rumors to achieve this.
10. Sometimes they also shower the victims with gifts to disguise their wrongdoings and abuse. Their little magic tricks create the illusion that they care and love their partner but in reality, they just create a stage for themselves to blame the victims later. It helps distract and confuse their victim so that they feel guilty to see the abuse for what it really is.
Remember that there is no love without respect. And respect makes you feel seen, heard, and appreciated for who you are. If being with someone makes you doubt yourself and guilty for not being good enough, it could be that this person wants to manipulate and control you, not love you.