Symptoms of mental abuse in marriage

What is emotional abuse? | The National Domestic Violence Hotline

“I don’t want you going out with them. I trust you; I just don’t trust them.”

“You know you can’t get anyone better than me. You are lucky to be with me.”

“Are you sure you want to eat that? I’m just attracted to someone who takes care of themselves.”

“You’re so dumb. I knew this would be over your head.”

Do any of these sentences sound familiar? If so, you might be in an emotionally abusive relationship.

Many people hear the word “abuse” and think of physical violence. Physical abuse is one type of abuse, but it is certainly not the only one.

According to  The Hotline’s 2020 Data, 95% of contacts stated they were experiencing emotional abuse. Emotional abuse may not be what most people think about when they picture abuse, but that does not make it any less real or less serious. Because of its subtleties, emotional abuse can be quite difficult to detect when it is being experienced. Emotional abuse is also a foundation for other forms of abuse. Often, it is used erode a person’s self-esteem and self-worth and create a psychological dependency on the abusive partner. Let’s look at what emotional abuse is and how to know if emotional abuse is present in your relationship.

Emotional abuse includes non-physical behaviors that are meant to control, isolate, or frighten you. This may present in romantic relationships as threats, insults, constant monitoring, excessive jealousy, manipulation, humiliation, intimidation, dismissiveness, among others. Sometimes emotional abuse is more obvious, like a partner yelling at you or calling you names. Other times it can be more subtle, like your partner acting jealous of your friends or not wanting you to hang out with someone of another gender. While these emotionally abusive behaviors do not leave physical marks, they do hurt, disempower, and traumatize the partner who is experiencing the abuse.

Over time, emotional abuse can wear down a person’s self-worth, confidence, and their mental and emotional strength.

It’s difficult to feel sure of yourself when a partner is demeaning, dismissing, and second-guessing you constantly. Additionally, when you care about someone and have invested time in the relationship with them, you want to believe the best of them, and you may convince yourself that you were overreacting in how you interpreted their hurtful actions or words. An emotionally abusive partner may try to gaslight you by telling you outright that you are overreacting, being dramatic, being too emotional, or that you can’t take a joke.

For these reasons and more, it can be tough to detect emotional abuse and see it as a dangerous concern. Even then, survivors of emotional abuse are often hesitant to seek help or tell friends and family about their relationship concerns because they fear they will not be believed or taken seriously. Nonetheless, emotional abuse is serious, and it is not uncommon for emotional abuse to escalate to physical violence. In some relationships this escalation to physical abuse is slow, and in others it can happen rapidly.

So how do you know if you are in an emotionally abusive relationship?

Here are some red flags:
  • Your partner name calls you or demeans you.
  • Your partner tries to control you, your time, and your actions.
  • Your partner tells you what to do and what to wear.
  • Your partner often makes you feel silly or dumb.
  • Your partner questions your reality and says that things that you know happened didn’t happen. This is called gaslighting.
  • Your partner is critical of your appearance.
  • Your partner is jealous of time spent with your friends or family.
  • Your partner punishes you by withholding attention or affection.
  • Your partner doesn’t want you hanging out with someone of another gender.
  • Your partner makes threats to hurt you or others to get what they want.
  • Your partner wants you to ask for permission before doing something or spending time with other people.
  • Your partner monitors where you go and stalks your whereabouts.
  • Your partner doesn’t want you to work.
  • Your partner embarrasses you in public.
  • Your partner does not trust you and acts possessive.
  • Your partner threatens breaking up or divorce to manipulate an argument.
  • Your partner wants access to your phone, your passwords, or your social media.
  • Your partner threatens suicide during arguments.
  • Your partner is constantly accusing you of cheating.
  • Your partner blames you for their unhealthy/abusive behaviors.
  • Your partner makes you feel guilty or immature for not wanting to have sex.
  • Your partner overloads you with compliments and gifts, and then uses that to manipulate you later (love bombing).

If any of these red flags feel familiar to you, know that you do not deserve to be treated that way and that you are not alone. It can be hard to decide what your next step should be, after learning that your relationship is not healthy. You might consider reaching out to a trusted friend or family member to talk about what you have been going through. You can also reach out to our Hotline advocates to talk about next steps and options available to you.

We are here 24/7 via phone, online chat, and text to provide you with education, support, and safety planning. The Hotline is completely free and confidential.

Answers shouldn’t be hard to find.

We're here to help!

50 signs of Emotional Abuse: Meaning & Causes

In This Article

The two subtlest forms of abuse in relationships are emotional abuse and mental abuse. Contrary to physical abuse, which is more easily seen and defined, signs of emotional abuse and mental abuse in marriage or relationships can be hard to recognize for both the victim and those around them. 

Read on if you think you are suffering from mental and emotional abuse in your relationship but aren’t quite sure.

What is emotional abuse?

According to Healthdirect, emotional abuse definition is as follows:

Emotional abuse is a common form of abuse that occurs in close relationships. It is also known as psychological abuse and includes verbal abuse. 

Emotional abuse is about one person maintaining power or control over another person. It usually takes place between intimate partners or comes from a parent to a child. It can also happen in situations such as schools or workplaces.

Related Reading: 8 Signs for Recognizing Emotional Abuse

What is mental abuse?

Mental abuse definition in the general sense, can be characterized as exposure to behavior that may cause psychological trauma, including severe anxiety, chronic depression, or PTSD. In relationships, emotional or mental abuse includes confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, and intimidation.

To understand more about how emotional abuse from a spouse can affect you, watch this video:

Causes of emotional and mental abuse

Emotional or mental abuse can be caused by a wide variety of factors- both external and internal. Here are some of the common causes:

  • Power and control
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor self-image
  • Financial and material gains from controlling someone
  • Addiction to drugs and alcohol

50 signs of emotional and mental abuse

How to recognize emotional abuse? 

If you think you are being emotionally, or mentally abused by your partner, here are 50 emotional abuse signs.

1. Your partner humiliates you every chance they get

Abusers tend to offend and insult their partners by making mean jokes and judging negatively.

Mental abuse signs include being talked down to, receiving back-handed compliments, and blurred lines between insults and compliments.  

One of the signs of a mentally abusive relationship is that the abusive partner would also refuse to acknowledge your strengths and belittle your accomplishments.

They don’t care if it is done in private or in a group of people. They will do it in the hopes of crushing your self-esteem so that you are more dependent upon them.

It is also commonly seen that when called out for such behavior, they will claim it to be mere ‘jokes’ and tell you that you are simply too sensitive or don’t have a sense of humor.

Related Reading: Tips On Dealing With Domestic Violence & Abuse

2. They require constant check-ins and invade personal space

One of the most confusing traits about abusive partners is that they shut you down in person but want to keep a close check on you when you are away.

Verbal and mental abuse is often confused with care or jealousy driven by care. They are constantly texting you to know about your whereabouts or who you are with and tend to get upset when you don’t answer.

When you are mentally abused, the abusive partner wants constant updates and tries to limit who you hang out with or where you go.

Such people even keep an eye on what you do on your phone or computer, never leaving any hint of privacy in your life. They may be triggered by seeing you talk to others, particularly the opposite sex, and make you feel guilty for doing something as simple as interacting with others.

3. You are always in a state of guilt, doubt, or anxiety

This is one of the most significant signs of mental abuse.

If going through emotional abuse, you will eventually begin to be always in a state of anxiety, discomfort, and afraid of doing anything that may offend, upset, or disappoint your partner solely for fear of being criticized and yelled at.

One of the signs of an abusive relationship is that you will feel like you are ‘walking on eggshells, ’ which means always being careful about trivial matters. The abuser will always make you feel guilty for their wrong behavior and blame you for whatever they do.

Related Reading: 3 Ways How Emotional Abuse in a Relationship Is Destroying You

4. They manipulate and gaslight you

Gaslighting is a psychological sign of an emotionally abusive partner that leads you to mistrust and doubt your interpretations and experiences of reality.

You may get the feeling that their statements contradict their previous ones, or they may deny something that you clearly remember, but they do it with such confidence that you begin to question yourself. 

This form of lying, arguing, or confusing will eventually lead you to a destabilized sense of solidity and competence until you no longer trust what you know is the truth.

They may use this to manipulate you into getting their way. They may also threaten you to further manipulate you, such as hurting themselves, telling you that they will leave, and blaming you as the cause of their pain.

Spousal mental abuse is all about gaining control in the relationship.

The abuser will want to keep you on a leash that will get shorter and shorter as long as you allow it.

Constant psychological or emotional abuse in a marriage raises insecurity and self-doubt in the partner.

5. Your abuser has a confusing behavior

Your abuser may have moments of being loving and kind to you, confusing you when he is abusive, so you may tend to forgive the abusive behavior because “other than that, he is a great guy!”

Confusion and lack of clarity are one of the most common emotionally abusive signs.

6. Most mental and emotional abuse takes place in the home

Your friends and family aren’t there to validate that you are experiencing abusive treatment from your partner. 

If they do abuse you in public, such as making a derogatory remark about you in front of friends, they’ll always say they were “just kidding” or tell everyone that you have “no sense of humor” when you voice that you are hurt by what they said.

They may even follow that with a quick hug or kiss in front of everyone so people don’t realize how abusive the behavior is.

Related Reading: 4 Types of Domestic Violence & How to Recognize Them

7. Your abuser blames you for being the source of their abuse

They have shaped your mental state to believe that what they are saying is true, and he blames you as a reason for their angry bouts. The abuser blames the victim for emotional abuse. This is one of the primary signs you’re being abused.

8. Abusers seek to control and dominate their partners

Another sign of emotional and mental abuse is taking all control away from the victim and dominating their decisions. One of the critical emotional abuse behaviors is not letting someone make even the tiniest decisions of their life – such as what they want to eat or wear.

9. The mental and emotional abuser is a narcissist

The world revolves around them. They have no patience, make unreasonable demands, are insensitive, and always seek to blame others even when they are the ones who is at fault.

They lack empathy and cannot imagine, nor do they care, what another person may be feeling. 

10. They want to shape your mental state to become dependable

They will attempt to isolate you from your friends and family, convincing you that these “outsiders” do not have your best interests at heart.

In reality, they are jealous of your love for anyone but themselves and do not want outsiders to notice that you are being abused, lest they try and get you to break off the relationship.

11. Your partner is excessively moody

They have vast mood swings that go from excited highs, with outpourings of love and affection for you, to deep lows that include anger, yelling, giving you the silent treatment, and verbal abuse (name-calling, vulgar language).

You will begin to sense these moods and recognize when it is going to be a “good day” (when they are laughing, outgoing, and manic in their love for you and the world) and a “bad day” (when all you want to do is stay out of their way. )

You will try and keep them “up,” distracting them in an attempt to mitigate the bad mood that you know is on the horizon.

Related Reading: On-and-off Relationship: What Is It, Causes & How to Fix It

12. Passive aggression

People with abusive behavior love the passive-aggressive game. When a person is passive-aggressive, it means that you will never get a confrontation. No constructive arguments and you will never fight, but, at the same time, you will always have trouble getting things done. 

If it is about work, some papers will always be missing, and you will be responsible for losing them when the boss calls the meeting, and at home, your favorite activity will never be possible for some reason.

13. Jealousy

Jealousy shouldn’t be taken just as a couple’s problem. It is one of the very common signs of mental abuse in work, offices, schools, family members, and in a mentally abusive relationship.  

When people feel jealous, they can portray their feelings in many ways. Looking down upon your work, acting possessively, humiliating you, and similar behavior can be expected.

Feeling some jealousy now and then is not something to be concerned about. But when it gets out of hand and the person feeling it does something too extreme to sabotage the person they are jealous of, it’s a sign to be concerned about. 

Extreme jealousy is a severe mental and emotional abuse symptom.

14. Control

If you have a problem with a person who is always trying to control you, these are the signs of a mentally abusive relationship. They will always try to tell you what to do, which doesn’t even make sense sometimes, and this is one of the symptoms of mental abuse symptoms.

Things must be done the way they want, and all your actions must be by their needs and plans. Being controlled is exhausting and should be stopped right away, as controlling is one of the signs of mental abuse.

Related Reading: How to Identify and Respond to Emotional and Mental Abuse

15. Bad temper

Some people are very hard to please. We say they are bad-tempered when they get angry very fast, and it’s tough to find a way to make them feel satisfied. 

If you live with such a person or have to spend a lot of time during the day, you will become frustrated and exhausted from constantly trying to meet their never-ending demands. 

If the behavior is accompanied by arguing, yelling, and an obsessive need to make things right even though nothing’s wrong, these are the signs of mental abuse.

16. Unpredictability

Sometimes, people have an unpredictable way of acting and communicating with you. Once they are sweet, kind, and friendly, they can quickly turn demanding, hostile, and unreasonable. 

For people you meet for the first time, but if you have to live with this kind of person, then it’s a real hell.

Acting out of character very frequently is a characteristic trait of a mental abuser or an abusive relationship. If your partner is unpredictable to a great extent, this can be called one of the signs of mental abuse.

17. Verbal abuse

Maybe the most common signs of emotional abuse, and the worst of them all, would be verbal abuse.

Verbal abuse is something no person should tolerate, whether it’s marriage or any kind of relationship in question. 

The abuse might be blatant when a person swears, makes threats, orders, judges, or criticizes, but it can also be in a more subtle form, such as sarcasm, joking, or playing abusive games. 

This is why some people are not even aware that this is one of the signs of mental abuse. 

Related Reading: How to Recognize Verbal Abuse in Your Relationship

18. Love and acceptance appear to be based on performance

No matter how hard you work at doing everything right, it is never enough or done right or done at the right time, etc.   Then you begin to feel that you don’t measure up and cannot possibly be loved by your spouse or even be acceptable to them.  

19. Withholding affection, especially sexual intimacy

Why should your spouse be affectionate toward someone who doesn’t measure up to his standards? He may state that his expectations are not being met and that you are not worthy of his affection unless you shape up.

20. Criticism

You are too fat, too skinny, too ugly, and on and on.  Your spouse may say you don’t have anything worthwhile to say, so you need to keep your mouth shut.  Your spouse may say you don’t take care of them the way they want you to. This is a sign of mentally abusive partners.

Also Try: Am I in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship Quiz

21. Your spouse calls you all kinds of names

You are called degrading names such as stupid, brainless, ignorant, loser, and much worse names. They may even indicate that you are the selfish one who doesn’t care about their needs.

22. In arguments, your spouse is always right

They always have to have the last word.  You never have anything worth saying, and you are always wrong.  Your spouse will let you know that they know best. This is one of the signs of emotional abuse.

23. Your spouse gives you the silent treatment

They give you the silent treatment, making you guess what is wrong and try to fix it. This makes you second-guess yourself.  It is almost impossible to fix something that you don’t know is broken.

24. They are disrespectful

The way your spouse addresses you in conversation is disrespectful most of the time. They are sarcastic and demeaning whenever they talk to you.

25. They say you are lucky they chose you

Your spouse reminds you frequently how fortunate you are to be in this relationship because “look how well he provides for you, and no one else would ever want you!” Making someone feel like they are unworthy of love can be mental and emotional abuse.

Related Reading: Physical Abuse And Emotional Abuse- How Are They Different?

26. Their language is manipulative

Your spouse uses keywords or phrases to manipulate you and your behavior, such as the “D” word (divorce).  They may threaten you repeatedly with divorce or a breakup if you don’t do what they want.  Manipulative language is one of emotional abuse examples. 

27. Your partner denigrates your self-improvement efforts

If you attempt self-care, such as a new exercise program or a healthy diet, they will tell you that you will never succeed, saying things like “Why to bother?  You’ll only gain the weight back”, or “You give it one month, and you’ll quit the gym like you always do.”  

The mental abuser never offers encouragement to you or others but insists on your complete devotion and belief in them.

Related Reading: What Is a Toxic Relationship and Major Types of Toxic Partners

28. Your partner is threatened by outside support systems

A mentally abusive person doesn’t like their victim to have outside friends and family support.  In a mentally abusive relationship, they might tell you that they are a liability and try to get you to leave them.  

A mentally abusive husband or wife will find something wrong with your friends, saying they are only using you or that they don’t like you. As for your family, they think they are toxic, and you should cut them out of your life.

One of the signs of a mentally abusive relationship is that if you tell your abuser that you are going to therapy, they will tell you that all therapists are quacks and a waste of money.  Only they know what you need.

29. You feel a constant sense of anxiety

Just the idea of even talking to your mentally abusive partner makes you anxious, as you know they are going to find a reason to say something terrible to you or control you.  

One of the abusive relationship signs is that you live your days in a state of fear and apprehensiveness, as they have made you think you need their approval for every move you make.  

30. Your partner has no sense of humor

You will never see your mentally abusive boyfriend or girlfriend laugh off a mistake they might make. Instead, they are quick to get angry. If they think anyone is laughing at them, even in a light-hearted way, they will become enraged.

You have just a few moments of fun in your relationship, if any at all.  

Related Reading: Fun Things Couples Should Do Together

31. Your partner never takes responsibility for any mistakes

One of the signs of an abusive spouse is that it is always your or someone else’s fault.  

  • They never apologize.  
  • Did they forget to pick you up from work?  It was your fault for not reminding them.  
  • If they yell at you during an argument, they won’t say they are sorry once they calm down.  

You made them “so” angry that they lost control.  

32. Degradation

As part of the abuse, degradation is when someone puts their partner down, constantly belittling and making jokes at the other’s expense. This can occur in public or private and can encompass the assignation of vague traits such as telling the victim, “you smell,” “you are stupid,” or “you are ugly.” 

This can make the abused second-guess their feelings, experience, and reality.

33. Domination

If you have to plan your whole day around what another person wants and desires, it may not be a completely healthy situation. Loving relationships work by give and take and mutual respect, not by one partner’s dominance and control.

If a partner comes home from work and demands obedience, particular behaviors (“have my drink and dinner ready”), and responds with anger to even simple situations (“Why isn’t there any toilet paper?”), they are exhibiting controlling behaviors.

Slated to this position, the submissive partner may be forced to act apologetic, sympathetic, and perhaps a little pathetic, especially if their struggle with their abusive partner has been going on for a long time.

Also Try: Dominant or Submissive Quiz

34. Assigning blame

An abusive partner will never be wrong. They blame any issues they have on everyone else in their life and find every reason to excuse something except their behavior.

They are also intensely sensitive to any personal criticism. This will leave the abused in a situation where they receive attacks and likely have no recourse to defend themselves. Acceptance of the blame for everything that goes wrong is a very heavy burden to bear.

35. Neglect

Neglect may involve withholding activity in the bedroom and other relatively passive behaviors that keep the abused walking on eggshells. This could be a sign of spousal emotional abuse.

36. Isolation

Usually, a product of longer-term abuse, isolation is a powerful means for the abuser to control the abused. 

Separation from family, friends and even isolation within the home (“Go watch your TV program in the bedroom [or office]”) can make the abused more strongly emotionally dependent on the abuser, even if that emotional dependence is not very pleasant.  

Emotional isolation from family and friends is also one of the signs of emotional abuse.

Related Reading: Intimacy vs. Isolation – Different Stages of Psychological Development

37. Propagation of fear

The ability to cultivate fear is empowering for the abusive partner. Fear can come in various flavors, from the abusive partner threatening harm to themselves and/or others. The abusive person will use this as a means of manipulation, often to keep the abused in the tumultuous relationship.

38. Denial

Another sign of emotional or mental abuse can be denied from the side of the abuser. If you ever recognize signs of abuse and confront them, they can completely deny the possibility of it and make you question your sanity. Denial is one of the most common signs of emotional abuse.

39. Codependence

Codependence is when all your actions are a reaction to your abuser. This also helps the abuser gain confidence and gives them an ego boost. If you find yourself highly dependent on your partner for your emotional and mental needs, it could be a sign of abuse.

40. You find yourself apologizing all the time

When you are emotionally or mentally abused, you may find yourself apologizing to your partner all the time and even feel the need to. However, the chances are that it isn’t even your fault, and you have been made to believe so. 

41. Your partner is hot and cold

Mixed signals, acting absolutely normal one day and distant and cold the other, can be a sign of mental or emotional abuse. It keeps you on your toes and can trigger insecurities about whether your partner wants you or not.

42. Your partner withholds necessities

If you rely on your partner for any necessities, they might withhold them to control you. For instance, if you depend on them for finances, they may not give you money. 

If they are the ones who is responsible for the cooking between the two of you, they may not make food for you. If they start holding back on necessities to manipulate you, it is a sign of emotional abuse.

Related Reading: The Anatomy of Mental and Emotional Abuse

43. You feel sorry for them

Even when you know they did you wrong and are abusing you mentally or emotionally, you feel sorry for them and sympathize with them. This is because they have made you look at the situation in a way where it isn’t their fault, but that of circumstances, or even you. 

Making you feel bad for them while they abuse you is a sign of emotional abuse.

44. You seem to have lost any sexual desire for them

Physical intimacy is often a by-product of emotional intimacy. When your partner constantly hurts you emotionally or mentally, you may not feel open and safe around them. When you do not trust them, you may feel like you have lost all sexual desire for them.

45. Contempt

Contempt is the feeling that the other person does not deserve value or respect. If your partner treats you with contempt, they will neglect everything you say and even disrespect you with their actions.

46. Defensiveness

If your partner gets defensive at almost anything and everything and makes you feel like you are blaming them, even when you are just trying to have a regular conversation, it could be a sign of abuse.

Related Reading: How to Deal With Domestic Violence

47. Threat

If your partner threatens to harm you in any way, if you do not let them have control over your actions, it could be a sign of emotional and mental abuse.

48. Stonewalling

Stonewalling is when a partner refuses to listen or communicate with you. Stonewalling leaves the person stonewalled, feeling lonely and lost.

49. Volatility

Suppose your relationship and your partner’s behavior are immediately affected by any actions or words, to the point where it interrupts even the good times. In that case, it could be a sign of emotional and mental abuse.

50. Cruelty

If you find your partner being cruel to you, with absolutely no regard for your well-being, it could be a sign of emotional and mental abuse.

How to identify and respond to emotional and mental abuse

Abusers can use any form of control to gain power over the victim. Usually, the victim should look for a pattern where they feel too dominated by the abuser. Point it out to the person to let them know what their approach should be instead. 

Know more about it here: How to Identify and Respond to Emotional and Mental Abuse

How do victims of emotional abuse behave? 

Victims of emotional or mental abuse tend to exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Fearful, angry, upset, or withdrawn symptoms
  • Not being able to concentrate or complete the chores
  • Difficuty in sleeping due to intrusive thoughts or nightmares
  • Being easily upset by the changes in the routine

Emotional abuse can devastate the person in so many ways. It is important for both the victim and the abuser to opt for relationship counseling to understand if the situation can be fixed.

Related Reading: Should You Really Deal with a Cruel Spouse?


Recognizing emotional abuse is not easy. If you recognize any of these signs in your relationship, you will be able to figure out if you are emotionally abusive or if you have been abused.

If you have been abused, you owe it to yourself to take steps to leave. It is rare for an emotional and mental abuser to change, and you shouldn’t believe that your influence will change them.

Get help by consulting a therapist, and begin to take your own precious life back. Good luck!

If the partner does not beat, but deprives the will. 7 Ways to Recognize Psychological Abuse

Moral abuse is an even more subtle topic than physical abuse. The partner does not drink, does not raise his hand to you, but deprives you of the will psychologically.

With the recognition of physical violence, modern people are more or less clear. Thanks to the educational work of psychologists, it is no longer a secret that violence is not necessarily sexual coercion or beatings. Keep a person at home when he wants to leave or, on the contrary, not let him in when he wants to go home; taking away keys, phone, documents or money to make it difficult for him to move around is also physical abuse. Yelling or hitting a wall/table to break your will during an outbreak of conflict is physical abuse, even if no one has even touched you (yet). An abusive partner intuitively argues very simply: rough physical actions in your presence, in front of your eyes, frighten you and paralyze your will.

But what about moral violence? There is no noise, no destruction. No punches, no slaps. No broken things, no other people's letters read without permission. How to recognize him? Let's look at the types of psychological abuse.

Let's start with the harmless. Hearing that you don't want to visit his parents again this weekend, your partner silently draws a face. The look was covered with frost, lips in a thread. He says OK. But his voice! It's like he just wrote you a ticket. Clearly, guests cannot be canceled (you guessed it).

2. Partial disregard. Filter questions according to your goals. If you cut a pancake cake, then it is striped on the cut. It also looks like "on the cut" communication with a moral abuser. Some answers are successful, others are not.

— How about Friday? I miss you.

— Yes, dear!

— And who is Masha Hibiscus, does she flirt with you on Facebook?

He does not answer.

— Honey, what do you want for dinner?

– Please bake my favorite sea bass with lemon and rosemary.

— Hey, why do you talk on the phone from the bathroom in the evenings with the shower on? Do you have someone?

He does not answer.

You can, of course, go for broke, wait for the meeting and ask: why do you skip uncomfortable questions? In such cases, moral rapists have other tricks.

3. Stare without comment. This is when he is the Kaa Boa, and you ... you yourself understand who.

- Dear, we could reschedule the trip out of town, I absolutely need to get to this conference for work.

In response, he looks at you without looking away.

- Did I ask something wrong?

Without blinking, he continues to pierce the bridge of your nose with his gaze.

You got scared and your question disappeared somewhere. Then, when you ask: “Are you not happy that I refused that conference, because you were so against it ...”, he will say with a yawn: “I was against it? Stop blaming me for your own mistakes." And he will be right. He didn't say he was against it. He just looked between your eyes. By the way, try to squeal that he somehow looked wrong. He will say: “Did I watch? I stood with my back to you and mixed Cointreau with a martini. Perhaps you drank too much that evening? And it's already called...

4. Gaslighting. Detective film "Gas Light" in 1948 about how a young wife became a hostage to her husband's criminal goals. He made her look crazy in the eyes of her relatives, and most importantly, made her doubt her own sanity. Gaslighting refers to the intentional "madness" of another person. The gaslighter deliberately asserts and even "proves" that the victim's psyche is flawed and cannot be relied upon. And the victim believes. Your friend does small things (like lying a little all the time) or even some big things (spending the general money on his personal climbing equipment, blackmailing you into having an abortion, or sleeping with your girlfriend). And then he says one of the phrases: “What is wrong with you?”, “Are you in a bad mood?”, “It’s not true, we agreed”, “You yourself wanted this”, “Oh, are you starting again?”, “I don’t meant it”, “You misunderstood me”, “It never happened”. In romantic relationships, gaslighters use the universal property of falling in love - regression. Are you in love and feel like a little child? So nice to submit to a wise and charismatic friend? Let him do as he sees fit, to dissolve in it - a pleasure? If your man is strong and mature, he will thank you for your trust and will only love you more. If you are dealing with a moral abuser, waking up from love, you will find yourself in a relationship where you decide nothing and where everything is against you if you do not agree with it. And to the question "why is everything so?" He will say: "You yourself wanted this." And he will be right.

5. Blackmail, shame or guilt and seduction. Your friend reports that because of a missed visit to the family nest, mom has a bad heart, dad tore his meniscus while running to the pharmacy, and he is now so upset that he doubts the prospects of your relationship. (as usual, he looks down the bridge of your nose). In this example, the whole “package” is visible: the manipulation of guilt, an attempt to shame / scare you, blackmail by breaking up a relationship. If you come to your senses and immediately promise everything that you refused yesterday, he will immediately become nice and make amends with affection, sex or a walk in your favorite park.

6. Ignoring, disappearing for the purpose of punishment. The once-famous pediatrician Benjamin Spock did not recommend going in at night to a crying baby so that he would "understand" that good babies sleep at night, and do not cry. At the same time, another doctor, John Bowlby, with numbers in his hands, proved that the baby, again and again experiencing the inability to call on his mother, plunges into "anaclitic depression", from which he can even die despite complete care. We also experience a weak solution of infantile horror-despair when a dear person disappears “from the radar” without any comments. Moral abusers intuitively use this tool to intimidate their partners: “Nice girls don’t ask their lover uncomfortable questions about flirting and phone calls from the bathroom. Twitch, sort out our quarrel on the personnel. Find the mistake, guess where you were wrong. And the day after tomorrow, perhaps, I will forgive you.”

7. In fact, he is the victim. Remember that Sunday when you didn't want to go to visit, and he heavily hinted that he would leave you? If one day you risk outplaying him and immediately react with blackmail for blackmail, you will be amazed at the enchanting metamorphosis. Say: “Darling, I get so upset when they put pressure on me that I don’t even know what the prospects for our relationship are ...” - here you need to look at him for a long time between the eyebrows. I know a story when yesterday's moral rapist cried for two weeks without a break and littered all the messengers of his girlfriend with pleas to forgive him. It turned out he was unaware of her discomfort. When blackmail stops working, and seduction is inappropriate, he presses on pity. You soften and everything starts again.

The core of any violence is the object manipulation of another person. Even wrapped in politeness, seduction or cunning, violence betrays itself according to the main feature - in a relationship you are an object, not a subject, not a person, not a person with his own feelings and will. And they treat you like an object: they manipulate you functionally, sorting through different techniques, looking for master keys. If you are malleable, use soft tricks. If soft ones are not effective, use pressure.

Very often a partner prone to psychological violence alternates aggression with seduction. As soon as you stop bending, he becomes charming and in a deep velvety voice asks you for reconciliation. And gives a ticket for a musical or a tour to Bali. You relax, and after a couple of days he again scolds you, drills his eyes and punishes you with silence. Against moral rapists there is only one remedy, but it is enough. You need to know exactly what you want (or do not want) and be able to say it out loud. I will talk about this in the next article.

Psychological violence and ways of coping

Zyuzkina Anastasia Andreevna, psychologist of the health care institution "City Clinical Psychiatric Dispensary"

Often domestic violence against women and children is not perceived as an act of violence.

The topic of psychological violence is broad, this issue is relevant not only in the field of the family system, but also in the sphere of work.

For example, in the scientific literature, psychological violence is called mobbing - the employer's disrespectful attitude towards employees in the context of labor relations. Situations where periodically (at least once a week) the employee is humiliated and harassed by the team or the manager, the purpose of which is to dismiss the employee during the period of employment. Mobbing is manifested in the oppression of a long period of time and includes negative statements, unfounded criticism, social isolation of an employee, dissemination of deliberately false information about a person, and more.

Psychological consequences for the object of mobbing are so serious that social significance is perceived as traumatic and compared with murder, rape and robbery. Some people even think about suicide.

Most often, psychological abuse occurs in the family. The main victims of domestic violence are women and children. The consequences of psychological violence include sleep and appetite disorders, alcoholism, reckless committing of traumatic actions, a change in the nature of the personality.

Psychological violence is a form of influence on the emotions or psyche of a partner through threats, intimidation, insults, criticism, condemnation, etc. That is, a constant verbal negative impact on another person. More often this type of violence is subjected to wives from their husbands, much less often vice versa.

Psychological abuse can escalate into physical abuse.

Domestic violence also spreads in cohabitation as cohabitation. Most often it is a form of psychological abuse. Psychological abuse is on a par with physical abuse, since the personality is violated by suppressing self-esteem. Under such conditions, the person who is targeted by the negative impact does not assess the situation as dangerous and sometimes it is necessary to convince them that they have become precisely the victims. Beliefs are formed as if she herself is to blame, misunderstood, did not tolerate, did not prove, provoked. As a result, personal characteristics are formed: self-restraint, alienation, negativism, refusal to express one's own position.

Insults, violence, mistreatment in psychology is called abuse. The person who forces to do something, offends, forces to perform actions that are unpleasant to another person, respectively, is an abuser.

The reasons why one partner affects the psyche of another are varied, the most common: the need for self-realization and self-affirmation at the expense of the other, difficulties in the inability to express one's desires and thoughts, past experience, financial dependence on one's partner, the perception of violence as a norm in family behavior, propaganda of violence in the media / movies / video games, psychological deviations in the form of a psychological trauma.

With constant criticism, the self-esteem of the victim decreases to a certain level and self-confidence is shaky, in this state it is easier for the tyrant to impose his opinion and desired behavior. The victim in such a state of mind doubts the correctness of his actions, a feeling of insignificance and guilt is instilled. By psychologically influencing such a person, another model of life is laid, the position of a tyrant is adopted and control is exercised on his part.

There are many signs of psychological violence and a combination of signs is used to determine it, and not each factor individually:

  • criticism - a rough assessment of shortcomings, comments about appearance, intelligence, taste preferences, such criticism may be followed by insults.
  • Humiliation - insults, rough treatment.
  • Accusation - conviction of guilt, for example, in family failures and shifting responsibility for everything that happens.
  • Despotism - commanding tone in communication, orders and instructions instead of requests.
  • Intimidation - Threats of physical violence to the victim and their loved ones, limiting prohibitions on contact with children and threats from the tyrant to commit suicide.
  • Prohibition to communicate with relatives, friends, colleagues, deprivation of means of communication.
  • Prohibited from visiting places outside the home and obtaining permission from a partner to leave the house.
  • Constant presence, partner rarely leaves alone.
  • Monitoring behavior and communication outside the home, checking private messages, checking call lists, checking email, installing software, hidden or open surveillance (video surveillance).

Emotional abuse also includes jealousy, which manifests itself in constant accusations of adultery.

A psychological abuser has such qualities as: disrespectful attitude towards a partner and his life principles; the imposition of help that was not asked for, generosity that puts you in an awkward position; total control; jealousy; threatening behavior; the presence of double standards “I can, but you can’t”; life credo "a man (woman) is never guilty of anything. "

There are several types of psychological abuse. Gaslighting is one of the most severe forms of psychological abuse. The gaslighter denies their partner or child adequateness using the phrases “it seemed to you”, “it didn’t happen”, “you just don’t understand it”. The victim is instilled that the perception of the environment is erroneous, therefore, the victim is convinced that she is going crazy. Neglect - ignoring any needs, arguing that a person does not need it, deliberate negligence. Sometimes the abuser pushes his partner to plastic surgery, refuses to deal with everyday life and children. In this situation, it is best to isolate yourself from the abuser. Visholding - refusal to discuss an exciting topic. Emotional blackmail - ignoring any action of the victim, emotional coldness, silence, blackmail with personal information. The purpose of such behavior is the subordination of another person, deprivation of one's own will, and only by limiting communication can one protect himself from this. Ignoring - emotional withdrawal. Isolation - prohibition of communication with everyone except the abuser himself, so the request for help is difficult to carry out. Control - tight control over any actions of the partner. Criticism - pointing out shortcomings and miscalculations, that in front of other people it looks like ridicule. The purpose of such behavior is to form an inferiority complex, after such an impact it is difficult to recover from such a relationship, faith in oneself, partnership is lost.

It is best for the victim to get out of the situation of violence (even run away, disappear from view). Victims of psychological abuse cannot avoid mental problems. Such people are in a state of psychological trauma and experience anxiety, fear, may become depressed, and suicidal attempts are not excluded. There is also emotional dependence, neglect of one's needs, various addictions may arise, for example, alcohol or drugs.

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