Am I Emotionally Abusive?

By Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D.

Q: I’ve been looking up personality flaws online consistantly for the past month or so and I am afraid that I am emotionally abusive to those I care about the most. I have been critical/ motherly/ negative  attitude/ controlling/ nag/ b*tch/ overreat/ over analyze/ insecure/ introvert or or shy/ condescending/ scarcastic/ emotionally cold/  lack a filter between my mind and my mouth.

I’m not saying I’m like this 24/7 but either way these traits are horrible. I am currently enrolled at a consuling center but not often. How do I know if I’m emotionally abusive or just have personality  traits that need working on?

A: Hello and thank you for your question:

Here’s the thing about looking up things online; some of it is true and useful, some of it is not. It also sounds like you may have taken a psychology class or two. The problem with that is we often imagine bigger problems than exist when we start analyzing ourselves.  There’s a something called the “medical student syndrome”  where the student begins to imagine that he has every disease that he reads about. You may be emotional, you may even have mood swings, but please don’t try to self-diagnose.

If you have gone to the counseling center, you probably have a diagnosis. You can always ask your counselor if you have a personality disorder, and if he/she thinks that you do, then get some treatment for it. You can be helped if your fears are real, or if you’ve perhaps blown something out of proportion.  In any case, you should probably return and work through this with your counselor and not trust the Internet quite so much.

I hope this helps,

Dr. Diana Walcutt



Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 May 2009

APA Reference
Walcutt, D. (2009). Am I Emotionally Abusive?. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 28, 2015, from

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