Are You Being Abused: Top Signs of Emotional Abuse

emotional abuse


While there's usually no doubt when physical abuse has taken place, it's often more difficult to determine when emotional abuse is occurring. This is compounded by the fact that emotional abuse can take place without either the abuser or the person being abused realizing it's happening at the time. People in general are much more likely to tolerate emotional abuse than they are physical abuse because many of them don't see it's taking place until they take a step back and ask themselves if they're being abused.

The reality is emotional abuse can be every bit as damaging as physical abuse. Words can slice right through a person, leaving them battered and beaten emotionally. An emotionally abused person often suffers deep damage to their psyche and feels worthless and unable to cope with life.

Here are some of the top signs of emotional abuse. If any of these items are taking place in your daily life, there's a pretty good chance you're being emotionally battered.

Made to Feel Less than Human

An emotional abuser often feels insecure and seeks to make those he or she is abusing feel lower than them. They believe they can maintain control over the people in their lives by making them feel worthless. They'll insult their loved ones, both in private and in front of others and will often resort to degradation anytime there's a disagreement. If you're constantly told you're stupid and are made to feel lower than low, you're being emotionally abused.


Controlling Behavior

This form of emotional abuse occurs when the abuser attempts to dictate every aspect of a loved one's life. The abuser refuses to allow the abused individual to live their life and insists on making decisions for them. If you find yourself feeling like your personal boundaries have been invaded and are having trouble living your life because it feels like someone's living it for you, there's a good chance you're being emotionally abused.


This is the opposite of controlling. This type of abuse takes place when a person is ignored or neglected. Emotional abandonment can be every bit as damaging as controlling behavior. An abusive person who engages in isolation will often withdraw from the abused person to the point where they feel completely alone. The "silent treatment" is a form of isolation and there's no place for it in a healthy relationship.

The Blame Game

If everything that happens is always your fault, you may be suffering emotional abuse. Abusers will make unreasonable accusations and will point out all a person's shortcomings while refusing to accept any blame, even when they're clearly the person in the wrong. Abusers tend to be unhappy people and are looking for someone to blame for their unhappiness.


This one's a common tactic used by pathological liars to convince people they're right. An abuser who engages in denial will continue denying having said or did something until they've either convinced everyone around them it's true or everyone gives in because they don't want to argue anymore. The abuser will refuse to acknowledge reality and will argue about anything and everything just to prove their right.


Certain things in a relationship will evoke a strong emotional response. Catching a person lying, cheating, stealing or otherwise acting in an unmoral or dishonest manner will result in an angry response from the person who was victimized. Abusers may attempt to minimize this response by telling the abused they're overreacting and trying to make it seem like it wasn't that big of a deal.