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  • Writer's pictureMonica Marrow

Recognizing Emotional Abuse: Signs You Should Never Ignore

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

Recognizing Emotional Abuse: Signs You Should Never Ignore

Emotional abuse can be incredibly subtle, often going unnoticed, which can leave us feeling confused and vulnerable. It's important to remember that abuse isn't limited to physical harm—it can also take a toll on your mental and emotional well-being. At What Makes You Feel Beautiful and our F.L.Y. First Love Yourself program, we want to ensure that you, as high school girls, understand what emotional abuse looks like, so you can protect yourself from it. Emotional abuse can come from various people in your life, including partners, boyfriends/girlfriends, friends, parents, and even managers.

Let's take a look at some examples that you can relate to:

Blame: When everything, including things beyond your control, is consistently blamed on you.

Example: You are blamed for running out of milk, even though it's the blamers responsibility to go grocery shopping. It's important to recognize that you're not always at fault for things that go wrong.

Buying Gifts: Using gifts to avoid addressing issues, instead of resolving conflicts.

Example: Your partner gives you flowers after an argument, expecting you to forgive and forget without addressing the underlying problem. Remember, gifts should never be a substitute for open and honest communication.

Constant Criticism: Being constantly criticized, which can lead to low self-esteem and self-doubt.

Example: Someone helps you but insults your competence, making you feel incapable. Remember, constructive feedback should be helpful and respectful, not belittling.

Distrust & Jealousy: Excessive jealousy and accusations of cheating or dishonesty.

Example: Your partner questions your interactions with others and demands access to your private conversations. Healthy relationships are built on trust, and constant jealousy can be a sign of emotional abuse.

Living in Fear: Constantly walking on eggshells around someone, fearing their reaction.

Example: You refrain from doing things you enjoy or withhold important decisions due to fear of their reaction. Your well-being should never be compromised by fear of someone's anger or disappointment.

Gaslighting: Manipulating your perception of reality, making you doubt your own sanity.

Example: Your partner denies saying or doing something, making you question your own memory. Trust your instincts and seek support from trusted friends or family members if you feel like your reality is being manipulated.

False Guilt: Pretending to feel guilty to divert attention from their actions and make you console them.

Example: Your friend apologizes for ruining an event but shifts the focus to their own self-pity. Remember, you are not responsible for someone else's actions, and genuine apologies should come with an effort to change their behavior.

Holding Grudges: Prolonged resentment and using past wrongs to justify mistreatment.

Example: You’re being withheld from affection as punishment for perceived emotional withdrawal. It's important to address conflicts and work towards resolution instead of using past mistakes as ammunition.

Isolation: Severing ties with friends or family and isolating you from social support.

Example: Your partner convinces you to stop seeing friends, claiming they can't be trusted. Maintaining healthy relationships outside of your “romantic” one is crucial for your well-being.

Keeping Score: Constantly reminding you of past mistakes to maintain a sense of superiority.

Example: They use previous wrongdoings to justify their current actions. Remember, a healthy relationship is built on forgiveness and growth, not on constantly bringing up the past.

Consistent Lies: Consistently lying about small and significant things, manipulating information flow.

Example: Your friend lies about their whereabouts or presents a false image of themselves. Honesty and trust are essential foundations in any relationship.

Manipulation: Convincing you to act against your values, boundaries, or beliefs.

Example: Your partner pressures you to end friendships or compromise your personal boundaries. Your values and beliefs should be respected and not compromised for someone else's sake.

Name Calling / Labeling: Insulting or demeaning you, using derogatory terms or falsely diagnosing mental disorders.

Example: Your partner calls you names during arguments or accuses you of having a mental disorder. It's important to be with someone who respects and uplifts you, rather than tearing you down.

Neglect: Withholding affection, giving the silent treatment, or denying access to basic necessities.

Example: Your partner ignores you for extended periods, refusing to communicate or show affection. Everyone deserves to be treated with love and respect.

Passive Aggression: Indirectly expressing anger or frustration to provoke a reaction.

Example: Instead of discussing their concerns, the person gives you the silent treatment to make you feel guilty. Open and honest communication is vital for resolving conflicts.

Rage & Remorse: Frequent cycles of anger, remorse, and promises to change that repeat and escalate.

Example: Your partner repeatedly loses their temper, apologizes profusely, but fails to address the underlying issues. It's essential to look for genuine efforts to change destructive patterns, rather than empty promises.

Responsibility for Emotions: Blaming you for their emotional state and demanding constant attention.

Example: Your friend expects you to make them happy and resents your positive mood. Remember, you are not responsible for someone else's emotions, and healthy relationships are built on mutual support.

Threats: Using threats of harm to control and manipulate your behavior.

Example: Your partner threatens physical harm or self-harm during arguments to intimidate and control you. Your safety and well-being should never be compromised or threatened.

Ultimatums: Imposing choices with negative consequences, forcing compliance.

Example: Your partner gives you an ultimatum to manipulate your actions or decisions. Your choices should be respected, and decisions should be made together, considering both partners' perspectives.

Remember, you deserve to be in healthy and nurturing relationships. If you recognize any of these signs of emotional abuse in your relationships, it's essential to seek support from trusted adults, friends, or professionals who can help you navigate the situation. You deserve to be treated with love, respect, and kindness.

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