Emotional Abuse – The Covert Killer

Woman looking out for emotional abuse

Most people are aware of how to detect physical or verbal abuse, however emotional abuse in relationships is not as easily detected.  Emotional abuse can be very covert or hidden.  Often, this type of abuse involves manipulation which can be difficult to identify, especially if you are in love with the culprit.  I have always compared emotionally abusive relationships to the story of “The Frog in the Water.”  If you put a frog into boiling hot water, it will jump out due to the intense heat.  If you put a frog into lukewarm water and slowly turn up the heat, the temperature change will go unnoticed and the frog will eventually boil to death.  The same goes with emotionally abusive relationships.  At first, those tendencies toward jealousy your partner has seem cute or endearing “He/She really cares about me.”  Over time, the heat is turned up with each behavior and manipulation and eventually you do not realize how hot or dangerous it has become.  Below is a list of things you may experience if you are in the throws of an emotionally abusive relationship.

  1. Your relationship moves quickly, and labels are discerned early
  2. Your partners jealousy, which you at first found ingratiating, has become concerning
  3. You begin to fear your spoken words, or you walk on eggshells
  4. You may experience feelings of anxiety when picking out an outfit to wear, going out with friends, or even getting ready for work.
  5. You begin to worry about past events and how they may be perceived by your partner
  6. You become anxious even when telling your partner, the truth for fear they will think you are lying
  7. You worry constantly if you have somehow offended your partner
  8. Responses from your partner become predictably unpredictable
  9. You feel unwarranted guilt for things that never bothered you before
  10. You begin to question yourself and your decisions
  11. You become overly honest about things that are unnecessary to disclose
  12. You believe you may be the one to blame and begin to take ownership for your partners issues
  13. You feel like you know the “true” person you first met, and the current reflection of your partner is not accurate
  14. You often feel backed into a corner – “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”
  15. You have slowly lost touch with friends or family
  16. You keep secrets from your friends and family regarding your relationship for fear of how they will perceive your partner “but they do not know him/her like I do.”
  17. You question if anyone will ever love you as deeply or as hard as this person does
  18. You begin to wonder if you are worthy of love at all “what’s wrong with me?”
  19. Your partner most often deems themselves the victim and you the perpetrator during conflicts
  20. You feel you have lost yourself and are confused how you got to this point

If you are questioning if you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, please talk to a trusted friend or family member so that you can seek professional help.  Sharing your fears and concerns with someone will empower and help you to regain your independence and sense of self.  The journey can be a difficult one, however extremely rewarding.