Interpersonal Relationships: 10 Things That Count as Emotional Abuse

A good relationship is built on boundaries. When your partner continuously crosses the line, then it can cause you serious mental fatigue. What may seem like harmless behavior is actually a form of emotional abuse. Here are 10 things that are considered emotional abuse.

man with hand over woman's mouth

1. Control

A controlling partner is a classic tell of mental abuse. To cement the end of the relationship, a sexual crimes attorney-at-law becomes a necessary priority. No matter the situation, you should never feel like a prisoner in your own home. 

2. Neglect

Neglect is more sinister since it is a slow burn when it comes to emotional abuse. Abusers wear down your psyche by neglecting your needs to get what they want. Neglect can start out as simple immaturity but quickly turn into something much more dangerous. 

two boys verbally abusing girl

3. Humiliation

Private and public humiliation is another form of control. Constantly being put down is a way to keep you in line. All insults are not created the same, so they should never be treated as playful joking. 

4. Physical Threats

Physical threats are unacceptable in any situation. They lead to actual physical abuse, which crosses a completely different threat threshold. Whether out of anger or a mistake, physical threats should not be tolerated. 

wife spying on husband's texts

5. Spying

Mistrust is not the only reason a partner spies. When someone wants to control you, they watch your every move. This is a dangerous mindset that forces you to always walk on eggshells. 

6. Ultimatums

Ultimatums are usually harmless and act more as a final step to resolving relationship differences. When ultimatums become your partner’s default resolution tactic, then they are clearly exerting control. Before reaching the point of no return, you should notice when an ultimatum is out of bounds. 

The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing

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06/14/2022 12:05 am GMT

7. Being Accusatory

Accusations should always be backed up by facts. When arguments are always accusatory in tone but lack facts, then it has a chance to wear the other person out. Daily accusations are the building blocks to an unstable emotional prison. 

8. Guilt Trips

Everyone makes mistakes throughout their life. But a reminder of those mistakes should never be used as a tool of manipulation. There is a line with guilt trips that go from joking to constant harassment. 

9. Defensiveness

When you can’t communicate with a partner, it leads to a downward spiral of problems. It is emotionally draining if they are always on the defensive during a conversation. They will always put up a wall and repeatedly smash you over the head with it. 

10. Codependence

Codependence is an interesting term when applied to an emotionally abusive relationship. It describes a relationship that feeds off of dysfunction. Instead of becoming a better person, your partner is always dragging you down in the mud with drama. 

10 signs of emotional abuse

Protect Yourself

An attack on your mental state is just as serious as a physical assault. There are limits to what a person can take, and you never want to find out your own. Protect yourself from a dangerous spouse, and get back to being the person you need to be.

If you need assistance, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.799.7233 or text “START” to 88788. You can also visit their website at and chat live with someone who can help you plan a way out.

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  1. Unfortunately every one of these signs is 100% correct! And it can and will lead to physical abuse really fast! Thankfully my son and I have been free of that for over 30 years. Thank you for this article!!!

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