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Signs of Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is elusive. Unlike physical abuse, the people doing it and receiving it may not even know it’s happening.

It can be more harmful than physical abuse because it can undermine what we think about ourselves. It can cripple all we are meant to be as we allow something untrue to define us. Emotional abuse can happen between parent and child, husband and wife, among relatives and between friends.

The abuser projects their words, attitudes or actions onto an unsuspecting victim usually because they themselves have not dealt with childhood wounds that are now causing them to harm others.

343 Comments to
Signs of Emotional Abuse

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  1. I read this article, and now I feel afraid that my mother has been emotionally abusing me and my siblings. It really may just be my weird teenage brain talking, but the thought has entered my mind numerous times, and I kept pushing it away as myself just being dramatic util I found this article. My mom does all of the things in the “Domination, control, and shame” section. I don’t really know what to do about it. My mom and I have a great relationship, but only if i meet grade requirements, chore requirements, or keep any political opinions not similar to hers a secret from her and the rest of my family. Today, she said that my siblings and I had acted like the most spoiled children she had ever met, because my sister refused to do her chore unless someone else wnt downstairs with her, and no one did. Usually, I do, as an automatic-oldest-child-helps-everybody thing, but I wanted someone else to do it for once so I could do my homework. My mother certainly hadn’t volunteered to help, despite pointing out how selfish we all acted multiple times. She sent everyone to bed, and only I remained awake to finish my homework. It occured to me to search for an article like this when i began to cry, muttering about moving out over and over, and my mother,upon noticing this, said to me,”You make it this way, too.”

  2. I’m in an abusive relationship. Leaving is scary because I am worn down and don’t feel worthy of anyone else. Its even harder because I don’t have a job and on disability due to a chronic illness. And most of all we have a small child together and it just tears me apart thinking about it.

    All I get is grief, dissaproval, anger, ridicule, neglect and blame. I need this to end. I need to take care of myself both physically and emotionally. Staying in this relationship is preventing me from doing this I know but its so hard and scary to make that move.

  3. Hi . I have been reading everyone’s posts for over 12 hours now. I am emotionally worn down. I am cried out , there is not much more my body can handle . Here is my story . …..I suffered years of abuse from my mom . I don’t blame her . My grandfather had done the same and much worse to her and her 10 siblings . I married at 19 . Had my baby girl .the day she was born I made a vow to her as she lay bundled in her receiving blanket at the hospital . I vowed to be the best mom I could possibly be . I vowed to not raise her the way I was raised . I know that the cycle of abuse passes from generation to generation , somehow I had to stop it. I stayed with her father for 15 years . Had a second child for him aswell (a boy) . After years of an unhappy marriage and control , I left with my two children . The only abuse they received was their father using them as a pawn to hold onto me. I found the love of my life whom I married just last fall . We have been together since 2006 . We have a son together . He loves my 2 children from my previous marriage as his own. Here is where my story takes a twist ….. My oldest , my daughter. Some how my vow has gone wrong . No I have never done physical harm to her . But I am very over protective of her . She is now 19 , the age I was when I married and gave birth to her . She is pregnant for her emotionally abusive boyfriend . She is a week over due right now . At the beginning of her pregnancy he wanted her to abort . She decided not to , so he told her I hope you miscarry . Her whole 9 months has been a living hell . Yesterday he made her walk to the mall with him . All the while walking as fast as he could . She found it hard to keep up. She has been in prelabor since last Sunday . She asked him to slow down , he wouldn’t , just got angry . When they got to the mall , he told her she is a worthless peice of shit and should go die somewhere . And then left her in the store . She messaged me upset and in a lot of pain . She didn’t know what to do . I asked her to get a taxi to the hospital , I would be on my way . I live 1and a half hour away . (Boy friend is in university , she is staying at his apartment unaware to the landlord ) she agreed , messaged me when she got to the hospital . But what I was unaware of is the fact the he had already gotten to her , done his thing and convinced her that she is blowing it out if proportion . He was at the hospital with her when I got there . I have done everything I can possibly think of to help her . She keeps taking him back . I have spoken to my family doc , RCMP ,child services aswell as her doctors at the hospital . Everyone knows she is being abused but no one knows what to do . I keep asking myself where I went wrong ? How did she become so unstable to allow such a man in her life ? Was it because she seen her father controlling me and now think that’s normal? I vowed to not abuse her I vowed to stop my families Cycle . I know have succeeded , but where did things go wrong ? I can’t fix this ,I don’t know how . Is it because iam over protective ? Does that make her feel like a child ? I allowed her to bring him in out home at 16 years old . I was trying to let her grow into a woman . All girls here age had bf come to their homes , how could I treat her like a child and refuse her to have him over. When he drove all her friends away I knew something was not right . I talked to her as any mom would have . I told her this is not right , you don’t choose a boy over your friends at the age of 16 . He kept telling her that I just want to tear them apart . There is so much I can say , so many nightmares has happened in this past few years . I don’t know if I have done anything wrong or not . Iam questioning everything because iam so confused , I don’t know how to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped . Even though she does admit that something is not right , she says she needs me . And she does just as much as I need her. Iam just so scared please send me your article . I am researching everything I can . No one here in a small community knows what to do . So as the loving mother with vows to keep , I will learn , educate and try to understand why and what I can do for my daughter .

  4. Hi . I have been reading everyone’s posts for over 12 hours now. I am emotionally worn down. I am cried out , there is not much more my body can handle . Here is my story . …..I suffered years of abuse from my mom . I don’t blame her . My grandfather had done the same and much worse to her and her 10 siblings . I married at 19 . Had my baby girl .the day she was born I made a vow to her as she lay bundled in her receiving blanket at the hospital . I vowed to be the best mom I could possibly be . I vowed to not raise her the way I was raised . I know that the cycle of abuse passes from generation to generation , somehow I had to stop it. I stayed with her father for 15 years . Had a second child for him aswell (a boy) . After years of an unhappy marriage and control , I left with my two children . The only abuse they received was their father using them as a pawn to hold onto me. I found the love of my life whom I married just last fall . We have been together since 2006 . We have a son together . He loves my 2 children from my previous marriage as his own. Here is where my story takes a twist ….. My oldest , my daughter. Some how my vow has gone wrong . No I have never done physical harm to her . But I am very over protective of her . She is now 19 , the age I was when I married and gave birth to her . She is pregnant for her emotionally abusive boyfriend . She is a week over due right now . At the beginning of her pregnancy he wanted her to abort . She decided not to , so he told her I hope you miscarry . Her whole 9 months has been a living hell . Yesterday he made her walk to the mall with him . All the while walking as fast as he could . She found it hard to keep up. She has been in prelabor since last Sunday . She asked him to slow down , he wouldn’t , just got angry . When they got to the mall , he told her she is a worthless peice of shit and should go die somewhere . And then left her in the store . She messaged me upset and in a lot of pain . She didn’t know what to do . I asked her to get a taxi to the hospital , I would be on my way . I live 1and a half hour away . (Boy friend is in university , she is staying at his apartment unaware to the landlord ) she agreed , messaged me when she got to the hospital . But what I was unaware of is the fact the he had already gotten to her , done his thing and convinced her that she is blowing it out if proportion . He was at the hospital with her when I got there . I have done everything I can possibly think of to help her . She keeps taking him back . I have spoken to my family doc , RCMP ,child services aswell as her doctors at the hospital . Everyone knows she is being abused but no one knows what to do . I keep asking myself where I went wrong ? How did she become so unstable to allow such a man in her life ? Was it because she seen her father controlling me and now think that’s normal? I vowed to not abuse her I vowed to stop my families Cycle . I know have succeeded , but where did things go wrong ? I can’t fix this ,I don’t know how . Is it because iam over protective ? Does that make her feel like a child ? I allowed her to bring him in out home at 16 years old . I was trying to let her grow into a woman . All girls here age had bf come to their homes , how could I treat her like a child and refuse her to have him over. When he drove all her friends away I knew something was not right . I talked to her as any mom would have . I told her this is not right , you don’t choose a boy over your friends at the age of 16 . He kept telling her that I just want to tear them apart . There is so much I can say , so many nightmares has happened in this past few years . I don’t know if I have done anything wrong or not . Iam questioning everything because iam so confused , I don’t know how to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped . Even though she does admit that something is not right , she says she needs me . And she does just as much as I need her. Iam just so scared please send me your article . I am researching everything I can . No one here in a small community knows what to do . So as the loving mother with vows to keep , I will learn , educate and try to understand why and what I can do for my daughter .

  5. My dad does everything on the list minus 3 or 4 things. I’m almost fifteen tears old and i’ve tried to talk to my mother about it but she wont listen, and when i tried to talk to my dad about it when he was calm (doesnt happen often) he dismissed it and continued watching the big bang theory while i was standing ritght there.
    Its gotten to a poing where we fight everyday, and i cry everyday, at least once. What’s worse is that he puts so much pressure on my mom as well, that she is incorporating some of his actions. He doesnt let me go out, and when i say this he says he would let me if i asked. Every little thing i do i have to ask permission, even if it is just to study a different subject that he thought i would. He is constantly throwing my grades in my face, even though i worked hard on them , he uses sarcasm and immitates my voice when he’s angry at me and makes fun of me. I once tried to get a cab, leave and go to my grandmas house, something ive been thinking a lot about in the past two years. When the elevator got there, and he said hed beat me up and take away my phone if i left, i chickened out. There is a gym in my building, and im very lucky about that because then i can cry my heart out while
    Listening to let it go and running as fast as i can on the treadmill.
    He doent even recognize his actions , and thinks that when he does hit me, or get angry and scream at me, it was my fault for doing something wrong. He says he’s a normal parent, but from all i’ve read, i’m not so sure. I live in Brazil, and i don’t think i can get much help here, plus i’m afraid to. My dad says i should never talk about what happens at home to others because it makes him look like “the bad guy”.

  6. I guess I was in denial but after being humiliated by my husband in public today and crying my eyes out all day, I’ve now realized that I am being emotionally abused. I guess it’s the “don’t want to be seen as a victim” side of me but I now realize it. Terrified out of my mind because I have kids and I know that whatever step I choose to make will affect them. Where do I begin? So many questions and no one to talk to so I can begin to get answers. I do know one thing, this isn’t love. Reading all your comments and realizing i’m not alone makes me feel a lot better.

  7. So glad I came across this article. My boyfriend of 1.5 years recently broke up with me (because I wasn’t good enough for him) and I’ve been relieved and devastated since. He is now seeing another woman, but we have continued to talk and he cries and yells on the phone to me, telling me that the end of our relationship is all my fault because I didn’t love him enough and didn’t do enough for him. I answered yes to almost every single one of these and now I realize that he was emotionally manipulative and abusive and still is (both with me and his new girlfriend). Someone up there must still like me as I now have the courage to cut him off completely and start over with my life. I have had healthy relationships with men before and am determined to do so in the future. Thank you for this article and reading all the comments. It’s made a world of difference for me.

  8. Thanks fir your page but I disagree that you say people who are emotionally abused are never abused as a child before. I dont understand that I find that wrong. Thank you for your post though. :)

  9. Hi
    I dont know if” i am in a abusive relationhship even though i know i should as i was in one before this one. and my mother lived in one for over 50 years……. I married a man 13 years older than me…….. he was a gift. and i do love him………. however… i have very little say about where the money goes and he wont open up a joint account…….. he has a social security check and a job… all which is in his account…. i have a on call job with very little money……. I know he gambles and sends money to his bypolar son who is now an adult………. we live in housing…. i have health issues…. so money is not huge……….. He tellme things like i cant figure….. im bad in math and dont know where money goes……. he makes jokes that are degrading…….. but he says i am too sensitive….. when it hurts………. am i one of those women who looks for this? why am i in this again.???? thanks

  10. This is a reasonable article but like many I have read it falls short of a few key points. But first my 11 year journey through hell.

    I am a traditional husband, provide for and protect my family unit. Loved my wife and adored my kids. I am a professional man and I think reasonably well educated. Nothing particularly special about us or our lives, not on the face of it anyway.
    My wife was bisexual but I didn’t know about it until 20 years into the marriage. It led me to believe why I could never satisfy her (not sexually), always felt like I was walking on egg shells, but I was wrong.
    5 years before the 30 year marriage ended she was promoted and with it a fantastic wage. She took her promotion and changed her name to her maiden name. She also immediately started pocketing half her wages, so much for ‘family’ income. Within 3 months she stopped introducing me as her husband but rather just as my name. Over the next 2 years she started to shut down my life. First and in conjunction with running our family business she demanded I fulfill the role of Mr Mum, all her contributions ceased. Over this period she started to shut down our family business in the end leaving me unemployed. During all of this I faced a nightly ritual of endless chatter about her work but by evenings end her tone had changed to put downs and ridicule.She started drinking and the nightly abuse it simply became worse. Then one day I noted all her red lingerie was gone the rest of that story needs not to be said, it was gut wrenching. 6 months before the marriage ended I slipped in to depression, I was to suffer it for the next 5 years. I started begging her to leave, as I did the abuse and disclosures of her private life got worse. Night after night listening to her put downs, how I was a failure and she a wonderful success, the men and women in her life.The plays on guilt, invalidation and fear of her every mood.
    When the marriage ended she started manipulating my children. First was my young teenage daughter and after 3 months she left to be with her mother. I didn’t see my child for 2 years and when she returned she said she wanted to see me but each time she would try to arrange it her mother would say things about me that would turn her off. My older son was manipulated as well, gifts, promises and bucket loads of emotional black mail. He too left but after 2 years on a deal and a promise. That deal came out in the family court and it turned the magistrate to my favour. It was shady and left my son exposed to losing everything and she gaining the lot. Her 5 year campaign in the courts was designed to drive me broke. She had left me suffering severe depression, unemployed, in a house that was half renovated. She took over a $100.000 from the equity of the home leaving me to pay the interest, then commenced a 5 year legal action that was simply about driving me broke and out of the family home, a quest clearly identified in the conditions of settlement. But for my wonderful family I survived and she lost.
    During all this and in an effort to shore up her place as the ” primary care giver” as she started calling herself she had secured the loyalty and support of 3 women in my family. Each of these women were commonly known in the family as extremely aggressive, nasty, abusive and manipulative. These relationships were established without my knowledge. None of them are particularly bright making them perfect candidates as I was about to learn for carrying and at the same time protecting my former wife’s poisonous tactics, starting with her fabricated claims about me and how she was the victim. It was not until we sat in the court that I found out what she had been saying to my family and my children.

    A common tale apparently. But having spent all my life having it drummed into my head that men are the perpetrators I found myself the victim and became very confused. Having received counseling I had it described to me my former wife was a sociopath with an underlining Narcissistic personality. As the depression lifted I started reading, about emotional abusers, Narcissistic personalities, sociopaths. My reality was I was confronted with a personality that was all three.

    Further reading disclosed something else equally surprising. It was an American/ Canadian study that identified not only emotional abuse and it’s damaging effects on the whole community but the big surprise was who the perpetrators are, most commonly women.
    These ugly events opened my eyes to the suffering of men and children at women’s hands. In Western Society we are now seeing through years of feminists blaming men for everything, the affects on the community discourse, justice system including the family court, emotional abuse is endemic. Women can say and do and act on whatever they like, devastating men’s lives with impunity with absolutely no fear of consequences, you cannot even raise your voice in the home for fear of being accused of domestic violence.
    My reading didn’t stop there. It became obvious the real issues for both male and female abusers centers around power, control and exclusive influence(PCI). I have learned to explain it this way, taking into account everything I have said here. Assertive people seek PCI over their own lives no one else’s. Aggressive people seek PCI not only over their own lives but everyone else’s. Submissive people have no PCI. Though we all travel through these different characteristics everyday however each of us do fall into one category or the other. More interesting is how aggression/submissive traits are a key element of emotional abuse, Narcissistic personalities and sociopaths. All are learned behaviours and all are multi-generational.

  11. I am a 17 year old who has been emotionally abused for 10 of these 17. I had no idea until recently why I always feel helpless and rejected. When I read the questions I answered yes to almost all of them. Originally I planned to move out at 18.. But things have rapidly gotten worse. A report has been filed and I’m getting put sooner than expected. Reading this has really inspired me to open up to those put there who are in the same sticky situation. And just one more thing. Keep at what your doing. You are changing lives.

  12. from what i read from the comments it seems like my husband isnt the only one that does this. its really depressing. you would think your so-called better half wouldnt do this to you. that they wont be as cold as the rest of the world

  13. Hi, I’m 18 and I’ve been with my partner for 3years. My family members and friends think I’m in an emotionally abusive relationship. I’ve never been in a long-term relationship previous to this one so I’m unable to see it myself. However there is physical violence. I won’t claim to be perfect as I’ve hit him back however my side has stopped, but he’s still hitting me, pushing me and grabbing my face. He’s only ever apologised once. He’s seriously hurt my back and bruised my lung. I’m lost on what to do and how to get out of this. I’m very aware it’s going on but there’s something stopping me from walking out. It feels like I can’t do anything to stop it. Could anybody recommend anything that helped them get away?
    Many thanks x

    • Shannon,
      You just need to leave. If your family will support you, then go live with them short term. I am sure it will be very hard to leave since you have been with him so long, but it will kill you, if not physically, then emotionally. Already you probably have self-esteem issues and they will not even start to heal until you realize that you are better than to endure this kind of abuse.
      It will be hard, but make it happen!

      • I it emotional abuse if I check 12 boxes in the article?

  14. My husband is currently an emotional and verbal abusive. He also has a very bad temper of which I am afraid of and him. We had problems with the car lately and he blames me for it not running right. I am the only driver. He had a 5 nypass surgery back on Oct. 30, 2008. From complications he is partially blind with other disabilities. He is 70 years old. We just put $475 to have it fixed. Was going to the gym one day and it started to do the same thing again. It is now sitting in our driveway and we are selling. He blames me for the problems with the car. It is a 1997 Buick
    LaSabre with over 208,000 on it. Time to get rid of it. He took the lamp shade off of one of our lamps so he could see to read. The ribbon shade is separated at the top a little. Right away he blamed me. He blames me for everything and even calls me names. A few years before his surgery he called me a whore. I am the only 24/7 care-giver. 2nd marriage for both of. It is time for his kids to take over caring for him I’ve had it. I would also like a copy of you paper. Thank you.

  15. Hi sorry for everyone who has been going true the same thing as myself. I have 2 kids & currently me & my husband living separate because he choose for his fam. He put in for my immigration status & then abandon me & my kids. He always put me down. He don’t help me with anything. All he does is verbally abuse me when he comes around or over the phone. He keeps treating me that he wount give me my papers unless I sign the kid over to him for full custody or give him the kid completely because I don’t have a job. He hasn’t been doing anything for me for the past 6 years I been with him. He & his fam has been using my elder sons social to file tax to pay there debt. Now I am left all alone. He doesn’t wanna come back & I have my immigration interview coming up very soon. I am so scared, I don’t have no one in this country & that’s the reason why he’s verbally abusing me & punishing me & my kids like this. I need some positive advice. Pls everyone. Just make me feel alive after everything I go true. Pls pray for me. I pray that everyone’s problem ends. Pls send me a copy of the paper. Thanks

  16. HMMM All women complaining about all the abuse they endure. I guess women are never abusive. Or if so always justified. I’ve been on both sides of this abuse stuff for most of my life. Both my ex’s were emotionally abusive but it was my physical abuse that was always talked about. Back when I was in my 30’s and going to counseling with these women they managed to behave like perfect little angels in front of these counselors. Always 1/2 truths form their part. Back then the only abuse I understood was the physical type. It was around this time I finally got help for my PTSD from my time in Nam. Those “experts” told me that rage was a common symptom of combat PTSD. Wonder why done of the marriage counselors ever asked me about my past. Hmmm
    Basically the only reason my ex’s wanted me to go to counseling was to help them justify the fact they were right. And I was wrong. Well I finally found a solution to all that crap. I quit dating, marrying, or having anything to do with the female gender. And have been happily single now for around 28 years. Haven’t hit anyone in all that time. My house is paid for and just bought a new truck. What I DON’T do anymore is put up with mouthy, sarcastic, critical, emotionally abusive women who believe that physical abuse is the only type of abuse. Nor do I listen to whinny women who won’t take responsibility for their part in their unhappiness. Based on the comments I’ve seen here I’d LOVE to be a fly on their walls while they play out their little dance. I’ve been to a number of counseling “experts” over the years that have ZERO life experience in the field they know so much of. There are 2 sides to every coin.

  17. 30 years married to an emotional bully,our last confrontation escalated to a point I never dreamed it could.I have become so tired of being intimated by his fits of rage,I decided I’m not backing down or showing any fear.Even when he drew back with fist clinched ,like he was going to punch me.I never flinched even though I was terrified. The fact I didn’t back down seems to be the reason it came to the point it did…because his other tactics weren’t working.Please send me a copy of your paper.It would be greatly appreciated

  18. Erin Pizzey had it all figured out back in the early 70’s. She KNEW that about 1/2 the women complaining about abuse where really victims of their own abusive ways. And the consequences they brought on themselves. Any women that cry’s abuse to me I watch like a hawk. And for sure won’t ever date them.

  19. How do you escape emotional abuse when the abuser is your mother?

  20. Hi
    I’m not normally one to leave a comment but feel I really need to today. I am trapped in an emotionally abusive marriage, been married for nearly eleven years. It was a traditional arranged marriage. When I first met him I thought that he was a wonderful man. I fully trusted my parents decision and allowed them to make this most important decision in my life, not that I would have had a real choice anyway but I thought I had been lucky and was marrying a kind lovely person.I knew after having my second child six years ago that our relationship wasn’t normal. His behaviour and language to me at this point in my life awoke something in me. All the years in our marriage leading upto this he had put me down so much that at times I felt suicidal, felt it was all my fault, felt extremely depressed but couldn’t tell anyone. Had to keep up the facade of a happy marriage and continue to keep him happy because my life was made harder by pissing him off. Even though I realise what the nature of our relationship is, I am unable to leave. I have family pressures from his parents and my parents so overwhelming thatif I was to leave our marriage I would never be forgiven. So I continue to live in a lifeless loveless abusive marriage. I try to keep strong. I try to change him in hope that we can have something better but it doesn’t last. He ticks every thing on the list.
    I don’t hold hope that things will truly ever change. I just hope I can raise happy children, get them to a stage where they are independent happy and not so reliant on their parents, and maybe I could find the courage to move on knowing I wouldn’t be hurting my children.
    Life hurts so much sometimes, it’s tough being strong all the time. But I can see by reading the comments that I’m not alone is this daily struggle, so many others struggling too.

  21. I was in a marriage where I recognized all of these signs, it took some time, but I was eventually strong enough and ended it. He continues to verbally abuse me.

    As if that wasn’t bad enough, I met who I thought was the man of my dreams and we wed. He’s just as much of a verbal abuser as the first husband.

    I am so angry at myself for not seeing the signs and now I’m stuck yet again with a man who has little to no regard for my feelings, who punishes me if I do wrong in his eyes, withholds love and affection, ignores me…….I’m not strong enough to leave again and need to find a way to deal with this for the rest of my life. I’m so ashamed.

  22. ive been married for six years now and i feel like i maybe married to an emotional abuser. He seems to have a short fuse nowadays an will blow up an scream at me for the silliest reasons like making to much noise if i wake him up. I lost my oldest daughter in a car wreck a year ago an my nerves are bad so when he yells i jump. he has called me a bitch an a moron which he claims he picked up that name at work from the guys. if i go to town to store ect,, i try to hurry back not to make him mad. after he yells at me he comes back later an says sorry but is he really i dont know,,i seem to be more distant from my family now a days also,,i have a good job but seem to be always broke also,,we split all bills in half,,,we dont have kids together,,,im 57 an hes 47,,i have a heart condition an stress is bad for it,,,is he abusing me ,,he tries to say im abusing him when i raise my voice or the least little thing i do to take up for myself? please help by commenting,,,thank you

  23. Great article! I lived with subtle emotional abuse for years before I realized what was going on. I struggled to get out. It wasn’t easy but is the best thing I’ve ever done. I guess I always had a feeling it wasn’t healthy, but he always covered it up well and explained it away to where I felt like it was just MY insecurities playing tricks on me. I, like you, started a blog to help heal from narcissistic abuse and to help others from what I’ve learned. My ex is currently threatening to cut our daughter’s long beautiful hair off as a “screw-you” to me. Long story, but another instance of emotional abuse under the guise of looking like a “good father.” (see my blog if you’d like) Best wishes and thanks for sharing!

  24. Mental, or emotional abuse, is horrible. It can turn a person so full of life and energy into a recluse. Bullies who carry out this mental abuse are also confused. Perhaps they experienced the same torture, and are simply relaying that message to others, without knowing that it deeply controlling and hurting of others. I experienced mental abuse from my first boyfriend. My friends would slander me behind my back, telling him that he was too good for me. Obviously not the friends I can count on my one hand, but wisdom comes with age. He used to call me ugly and say no one would ever love me, like he did. I gave up alcohol, social outings, mini skirts, and even pork.

    I guess that experience could have turned me racist, but God is within us and wants us to love. It still hurts when the demons show their ugly heads, as I’ve been severely abandoned by others in this lifetime. Our hurts can only make us stronger, if we refuse to become a victim.

  25. Although I accept that the proportion is small. Some men suffer the same psychological abuse at the hands of women. I was married to someone for 16 years who gradually isolated me from all of my family and friends and forced me to do things like wash my hands several times a day, wash my feet at the front door when I came home from a business trip and generally undermine and humiliate me at every opportunity. When I finally got the courage to leave I met someone else and although I didn’t see it at the time exhibited some of the behaviours in this article. When she dumped me I was absolutely devastated but having just read this I actually realise I had a very lucky escape. I’ve been in a relationship with a lovely woman for 6 years now and would never tolerate that sort of behaviour again.

  26. I think that emotional abuse by women is quite commonplace. I suspect that this not reflected in the blog comments because women are more inclined to talk about it than men.

    Today I left the matrimonial home having finally concluded that I could no longer withstand what was happening. As I read the blog I realized how much of the list I had experienced over the past number of years. To explain everything would take many pages of text. But I can describe several examples:

    1) We each have children from a previous marriage plus a 7 year old son from this marriage. My children from the 1st marriage live with their mother; I have been living with my son and stepchildren. My current wife has frequently accused me of prioritising my own children over hers even though I have tried to be a father to them and have contributed 1000’s to their upbringing. She has frequently told me that I don’t care about her children and do nothing to help them. She includes our son in this. When I protested about this, she ignored it. As a result I have found myself feeling guilty about talking to or about my children and about providing financial support to them, which I have always done.

    2) One morning she announced that I had become very narcissistic. When I asked what she was talking about she said she had counted me looking in the mirror 4 times that morning. I tried to explain that once was to shave, once to brush teeth, once to comb hair and once to straighten tie. This may sound surreal but I can assure you that it is very unpleasant to receive.

    3)The most serious issue is that she has repeatedly accused me of chasing other women, something that I have never done. My denials only inflamed her more – she would roll her eyes, say “yeah, yeah, yeah” and accuse me of being a liar. The most recent incident (this week) and the one that told me I’d had enough, was that I was interested in the mother of my son’s best friend. This was prompted by my referring my son’s music tutor to this woman. My wife’s reasoning was that in her opinion I had gone out of my way to help the woman and I had done so to impress her with a view to having a relationship with her. All that I did was to give the tutor and the woman each other’s phone numbers and introductions. My wife accused me of seeking to humiliate her.

    This is at least the 5th time this type of thing has occurred and each time it has been followed by tirades, dozens of very unpleasant text messages, lengthy inquisitions and a vast amount of stress. She has searched through my personal and work email accounts and searched my text messages to find evidence. I stopped using Facebook after a work colleague friended me and I was accused of trying to initiate something with her. I became so paranoid that I began deleting emails from female work colleagues – she found this out and cited it as further evidence of my lying to her. It got to the point earlier this year that I ended up on anti-depressants and going to therapy, where I was told I had chronic depression and acute anxiety. My wife had encouraged me to do this and seemed supportive. But 2 weeks ago she sent me a text message saying that I was narcissistic and self-pitying. This does not do much good to someone whose self-esteem is already at rock bottom.

    The above is just a sample. The hundreds of text messages that she has sent me over the years has been soul destroying. She frequently complains about the sacrifices she has made for me but doesn’t acknowledge the sacrifices that I have also made, the worst one being away from my children, who live hundreds of miles away.

    The last incident led me to conclude that I could take no more of this. I cannot face more accusations and the huge stress that comes with them. I don’t know what the future now holds or how I will cope with it. I love all of the children and I will miss them terribly.

    • Wow. It sounds like you have been through the mill. Realising enough is enough is the first step towards getting your life back.

      Leaving kids behind is awful. My son was 14 and it was the hardest thing to deal with but staying ‘because of the kids’ should really be ‘staying in spite of the kids’ because they have to deal with the effects of this psychological abuse as well. It takes time for kids to come to terms with it and despite all of the lies they will no doubt be fed by your ex they will ultimately see through it and know why you did what you did.

      It won’t be easy. My ex continued to try to make my life hell for 10 years after we divorced with endless calls, voice mail messages, text messages and even letters put into birthday cards from my son. I ended up just deleting messages and shredding notes without even reading them.

      I wish you all the very best. It’s a long hard path but every journey starts with a single step and you have made yours.

      • Thanks Alf. However, I’m afraid that I’m not as optimistic as you. My first marriage ended acrimoniously 13 years ago and damaged everyone affected by it. In that case it was my fault – I had an affair (with my current wife) – and my then wife was a nightmare (and still is). But that is somewhat understandable given the circumstances. Even so, that experience almost broke me. It will be even much harder to deal with this time, since I have been 100% faithful.

        My current wife is not inherently a bad person. But I believe that she has unresolved childhood issues (her father was a philanderer) that she has taken out on me, as the blog says.

        I worry about the children. My children and stepchildren have grown up knowing each other and are very attached to each other.

  27. Of course both sexes can be emotionally abusive, and I have experienced both. I am firmly convinced that I would not have married an emotionally abusive man if I had not been dominated by an emotionally abusive mother. It often feels that they were operating from the same handbook. I recognised my husband before my mother, and by then was in my sixties and caring for her in her declining years. She is dead now – I shed not one tear.

    My husband is the most important person in his world and so is entitled to behave as he wants – but I am not entitled to react to that. At this moment he has withdrawn from me following the killing by a fox, of our much loved little cat. I had most to do with her, and am unwell – yet he is the most bereaved. I am creeping around being the ‘good little girl’ he and mother have always needed me to be for them when I am in fact in need myself. This has happened with every cat death, and even when our new-born son died. He told me years later that he wasn’t proud of how he behaved then but had to do what was best for him. He was OK – I developed IBS.

    I think I have hoped to find someone reporting the non-verbal communication that has so controlled my reactions. When I try to talk to him he’ll fold his arms and stare into the distance, sighing every now and then, but saying nothing until I grind to a halt, when he just say, “Finished?” and walk out of the room. What has been said will never be mentioned, but He will withdraw and I’ll become subservient, trying to restore the atmosphere to normal. If I don’t agree with him, he’ll raise his eyes to heaven with a kind of ‘she’s getting at me again’ attitude. As I don’t know when he will react and when he won’t, I often stifle what I want to say or say something innocuous and be shocked at that familiar reaction.

    He has made fun of me in public – it is my lack of humour he blames if I say anything later in private. He makes really suggestive remarks to me in private and public – again my fault if I don’t like it. In fact everything he does wrong is my fault, and he duly gets very annoyed with me. I should have got away long ago, but honestly haven’t the energy. It feels as though he has stolen who I was supposed to be.

  28. I get out of an emotionally abusive relationship when I was 40. Thankfully, someone opened my eyes to the fact that I didn’t have to continue living that way. I will forever be in their debt. Did it cost me? Yes. My home and everything in it and a further 10 years of my ex attempting to make my life a misery (she failed). I rebuilt my life. I don’t have a big mortgage free house. I have a nice flat with another 15 years to go on the mortgage. Do I regret leaving? Not on your life. Many of my ‘friends’ and family are stuck in loveless, boring marriages and clearly think it’s either too late to get out or the financial cost will cripple them. No, it’s never too late and though it will hurt financially the benefits are priceless. Lots of people are jealous of me and have avoided contact because their lives are so crap and they clearly can’t bear to see my happiness. I’m not gloating but I would advise anyone to just get out whatever the financial cost. You get one life. Live it.

  29. Over 50 years of dealing with every kind of abuse here and now live peacefully alone far away from what was supposed be my own and my birth families. Realized too late many old “friends” were anything but. Have lost everything but I’m still standing. My life has been in serious jeopardy too many times even though I fought like hell to work hard and have a normal life. It’s taken me many decades of trying to get away from what I now know are Narcissists and Sociopaths, which finally I have, for good. Look up abuse regarding these because there are many excellent web sites, YouTube videos and groups online. Spent many years in Domestic Violence shelters, that were horrible experiences expect for one and never heard about Narcissists and Sociopaths in any groups, not even once. Learning about them was key to becoming free from them and for the abundance of peace in my life today. If I could become free from an army of them I think it’s possible for anyone. Please educate yourselves about Narcissists and Sociopaths. My empathy and prayers are with you.

  30. This is like a checklist of what I went through with my ex. Its also a memory I cant get rid of. He never hit me, so I figured it wasnt really abuse. Reading this list tells me that without a doubt, he was emotionally abusive. Its strange, because I always thought that you had to be openly controlling *”NO you cant do that”* or that it was name-calling… Hopefully I can start getting the proper counseling, and perhaps even be more open about it…

  31. Don’t ever trust or have blind faith in anyone – getting identification is not enough my abuser had fake ID even showed me fake that he used for all his shady mostly criminal pastimes one of wich was giving him the key he stole my macbook and my vacume I trusted him with all my passwords mothers maiden name social you name it apple security questions allowed him to put cameras up except in bathroom wich are still there
    I did this to assure him I had nothing to hide he a ” techie” somehow has control of tv electricity and I have caneras in my car he has an array of videos of me watches me when I’m using toilet has another persona not in reality but on line communication he gives takes away them eventually cut all talks thru music the tv I only kno his first name birthday I do have socil security nbr name of business and other information but why know because I don’t have the balls to call the cops he very much led me to believe and still does imply his love and a future I thought I loved this man anal cruel down rigjt evil
    He has been here thinking I didn’t know but I did and hides mind fucked me with romamce but in person won’t own up to it man has ostracized given me agoraphobia disrespected me I’d rather be hit then the emotional abuse he gives he has left me in dark with no power no phone no tv he has made me make fool of myself waiting for him longest about 14 hours sent me on road trips to meet him ℗ purposely gets me lost arrive at destination he’s not there twice did that he comes he goes like littke boys do has tried to take away my self esteem insult me pushe away or have sex no kissing cold his clothes on not facing him then just stop I could go on and on this has gone on for over two yrs still is I was convinced he was the one out of many long relationships a lot of men growing up with divorces I wanted to marry this mam I use the word man very loosley he us a coward selfish and the fact is took advantage and created false hope made promises never kept gave dates in his own words TOURTUTE suffereing will end many times never showed and now I have literally nothing I don’t talk to him see him receive any kind if affection no sex at all no nothing yet he is always watching and I hate it hate him hate myself for allowing myself to go on his word my gut ( have emotinal amd physicl abusive past and present major abandonment trust loiness and not one real ya gulable thing to back up any of his so called love for me he watches me cry shower sleep decides what calls I receive listens I’m on everything
    I see now person cares nothing for me he refuses to take out caneteas return things stolem or if confront in person calls me crazy and last time saw him pushed me away after that see him again a minute or two and he goes about his life watches mine fall apart all his doing
    Watches me sit Lonley I no longer think he loves me amd I was so totally poitive I now think he just emotily abusive controlling and the cruelest human I’ve Ever met but at this point he has made me so sick and isolated I have no support I have a dog my only reason I don’t kill myself and I have to and plan to not give his info unless must to get h our of my phone he pulls mean tricks Jewlry flowers trips songs and none is real and ways changes wrote to me I can’t read it and I don’t have the strength to do what know us the right tging and I need to be with a ma
    And do in front bc of caneteas and he jas shown videos to his FRIEBDS he has hurt me and continues everi second of the day Denys sex friendship his time wants to keep me in thus apartment watch me and his favorite things are causing me extra stress enjoys watching me cry be afraid miss him wich I know is battered woman’s Sundrome as the attraction is and I’m aware of all of this and was waiting for him to wipe me off my feet
    I no longer bemwive or if did could ever forgive everi single way to much to share he has done
    He is a monsyer my brain knows but he has control somehow and I know that love is kind can’t hurt can’t watch or cause suffering and I regret this more them anything
    I’ve always had a man friends I lost my family too he is obsessed I don’t know probly several things but doesn’t love or care and I have no way to ignore this anymore and I hate him
    And the longing is hurt a confusion from the anuse he is given and the past and this readers is a mental abuser
    First red flag you see run like hell as I wish I had

  32. I am a 12 year old who lives with my mom and dad. My mom is nice to me and all, and always wants the best for me so she might get a little angry at me at times but she is always doing me good. I don’t feel the same about my dad. As far back as I can remember, my dad has been constantly fighting with my mom and constantly criticizing my mom, sister, and me of course. He keeps on putting me down when I do my best like getting straight A’s and advancing to state math competitions and winning bee’s like the geography bee (I also play sports, basketball and soccer). He thinks I won’t be able to survive out there in the society, and that I have poor social skills. let me get this straight-I have many friends at school and I enjoy being around them. I have not talked to them about the bad stuff that happens at home.
    What “bad stuff” exactly happens at home? Well, today, I came home perfectly fine. My mood was fine, until I laid my crutches by the couch (I have a fractured ankle right now). My dad told me, “Don’t put your crutches next to the couch. The sharp metal parts could damage it. Here, come and feel this sharp part over here,” I said, “I already know they’re sharp.” He said, “I told you to come and feel this. Come and do it”. I then halfheartedly bent forward and brushed my hand over the sharp part. He then continued to say, “Respect your elders. If they tell you to do something, do it.” Then he launched into another one of his 20 – 60 (yes i have counted) lectures where he talks about how I must respect people like him or I will have a “miserable life” in “the society”. I think he might be a little sensitive. Anyways, I sometimes get frustrated during these talks, and I want to say that our family may not be the most normal of families. If I don’t say “Hi” to him when he gets home from work, I get into trouble and I get yelled at (which means his face turns a bright red and he gets angry, and tells me that respect is important.) Yesterday, my dad told me to stop playing on the iPad because I had played too long (about 3-4 hours total). I said “ok” and took about 3-5 seconds to finish up and hit the off button. Since his exact words were to “stop right NOW” and he apparently was in a bad mood, I landed in the hot water. I was handed another lecture. Today, after I got in trouble with the crutches, he began on the iPad thing again. He said, “When I tell you to stop right now, you stop right now! If the police tell you to raise your hands, you raise your hands! If not, you will end up like Michael Brown. Look at where he is.” (I feel bad for Mike Brown, that was wrong of the policeman). I began to explain to him that I was doing my best to stop and I finishing up, but he wouldn’t take it. He though I was putting up an “act of defiance”. (By the way, my mom tries to stop this all, but she finds it hopeless so she just backs off). I outright declared, “I was not defying you! It was just 3-5 seconds! Come on! Thats normal!
    That didn’t turn out so well.
    My pillow’s gonna be wet tonight.

    I hate being put down like this. I hate it when he criticizes me and I am punished for a misunderstanding or something so small like not saying “Hi”. THere are so many more examples that I have not described!

    • Hi Random Child.

      You are very mature and aware of yourself and what is happening. I”m sorry that he is not able to dialogue with you and come from a place of empathetic understanding. All I can say is stay strong and resilient during the difficult criticisms. This strength will protect you as you grow into an adult and have to deal with many more people that may disrespect you. If you are able, see if you can start a dialogue with your dad and ask him “how was your day?” to show empathy and possibly he will learn to communicate better in time. If he shares something with you, you can answer something like “that situation must have been difficult and frustrating.” That way you are modeling empathy to him and he may start doing it back to you. Best wishes!

  33. Ive been posting to this site and others for over five years now and because abuse is so prevalent in our society I have received no help but more abuse. When your mother tells you that if you tell anyone the truth about her that no one will believe you and you will lose everything in the process, she already laid the groundwork to make good on that threat before you even attempt to challenge her. Whether youre and adult or child, no one wants to change their abusive tendancies and will never fail in reminding you how pathetic you are for trying…

  34. I’ve had my fair share of abusive relationships. The past four months I’ve been dating someone new. He has gone through a lot including losing his father and brother. He has a sweet side to him where he says he wants to marry me one day and love me but if I get offended by something or ‘start’ and arguement he flips out. He acts like he doesn’t care at all. He pretends he will go out to the bar with his friends or says I have anger problems. Saying I have anger problems just exacerbates the fight because I get more offended. He says he hates arguing and that’s why he gets mad and says those things- to keep me there. I feel trapped in my relationship. I love him so much and would do anything. But he gets so mad and says things that I can’t let go. Which he also says is a problem of mine- holding into things. He’ll often say he isn’t mad or doesn’t even want to argue but will also say I always get mad or always say he is at fault. Or I complain. When we fight it’s bad I don’t know..

  35. If 20 of these apply is that bad? And should I move in with my Grandparents? Please reply I’m 13 and this is a weird decision to make.

    • HI Book Worm – please make an appointment with your school counselor to discuss an action plan with your parents. Best wishes!

  36. the emotional abuse is still going on. it’s like my parents don’t care about how what they do makes me feel. like, for example, my dad will leave stuff wherever he wants to and not care if it’s in my way(dirty dishes and a bunch of other stuff). it reminds me of an alf episode where racquel ochmonek threw trevor out of their house because he was being a slob. and my mom has pains that come from her age(72 years). she uses those pains as an excuse to be mean. ever since I was 4 years old, humans have been mean just because I’m different from what’s considered normal. i really wish I could get out of this human body I’m trapped in and become a flying pyroraptor. then I could fly away from the mean humans and go where there are no mean humans. like maybe sesame street or tarrytown where jay jay the jet plane lives or pteranodon terrace where buddy the tyrannosaurus lives or dragonland from the dragontales cartoons. no one in any of those places would be mean to me

  37. This was informative, but a lot of these things I don’t consider any kind of abuse. These are things that people in our culture did for many years. I think they’re wrong. But, this is a traditional way they were taught, and they passed it down–right or wrong. So—-how do you know if it’s abuse, or they’re just doing the only thing they know how to do to handle their problem?

  38. My kids are currently with their father who is a text book narcissist he uses them to keep his control over me and tells them about our divorce so he can make me out to be the bad guy. I started this fund on this website to try and get legal help to get my little girls out of this situation. Any advice or help is appreciated.

  39. From ages 12 to 17 I had a best friend whom I didn’t realize at the time was emotionally abusive.She had to have every class with me, always sit with me on the bus (whether I wanted to or not), expected my mother to take her everywhere I went and to do her laundry. If I spoke to anyone that “made her sick” she would retaliate by writing love notes to different boys I couldn’t stand. She hated it when I went to stay with my older sister for a weekend and accused me of not caring about her. I could go on and on.
    The thing is, her mother had died when she was very young and I guess I felt sorry for her being raised by an elderly father and doing all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, bills, etc.
    I had no idea until I was grown that she had cleaned out her father’s savings to run away to get married. Every time I hear her name, my stomach clenches. I’m not afraid of her per say, but I had hoped to never see her again. Then a friend told me she has moved to within 2 miles of me. I don’t have a question, I guess. I just wanted to share that it doesn’t have to be a spouse or partner. I really had no clue that it was abuse at the time.

  40. I’ve read the article and read all of your comments. I want to thank everyone for sharing so fearlessly and honestly. I grew up in a terrible abusive environment. My parents were divorced and my five sisters and I lived with my mother, who was a drug addict and a punching bag to a stream of boyfriends that terrorized our childhood with physical, mental, emotional and even sexual abuse. At a young age I was very frustrated with my mother for allowing her boyfriends to mistreat her and to mistreat us. I couldn’t wrap my head around why she wouldn’t just kick them out, or move out, or make any attempt to escape the situation. I swore I would never treat anyone the way we were treated and I swore that I wouldn’t allow anyone to treat me or my sisters the way we were treated by them. I’m 32 now and I’m in love. My boyfriend here is perfect 90% of the time. We laugh and love each other and I can see a great future ahead of us. My concern/fear stems from a few occasions where he had been drinking then his personality completely changed. He began accusing me of things that were ridiculous and irrational. He began to call me names, telling me I am nothing, that Ill never be anything. He was demeaning and cold and relentless. He said so many hurtful things and threatened to throw me out in the cold. He told me that he makes the money so he can treat me however he wants and i just need to shut up and take it or leave.
    I know this is where I should have just left but I met him the first week I moved to a new state and I don’t know many people here. If I left I wouldn’t really have a place to go. I haven’t talked to any of my friends about this because I would be humiliated to tell them the things he said and (i know how pathetic this sounds) I don’t want them to think any less of him.
    This has only happened a few times and once he sobers up he is back to the amazing person I fell in love with. I don’t want to leave him over a few mistakes but my heart can’t handle him turning on me again.
    Now i understand the choices my mom made when I was younger and I feel badly for the grief and pressure I put on her. I never thought my life would come full circle like this and I don’t know how to handle this.
    I know I deserve better for myself when he is like that but when he isn’t he is the most wonderful guy I could ever ask for. I love everything about the sober him. The funny, caring, compassionate, smart, witty, helpful, sexy him.
    When is enough, enough?

  41. I have a dear friend who I have watched be emotionally abused for 30 years. She thinks of leaving but it afraid to be alone. She’s been emotionally beaten down to the point she has no joy only heartache. It kills me to watch. I am so afraid she will give up. I want to help her but I don’t know what to do. Please can anyone guide on how I can help?

  42. I am currently in the process of getting divorced after almost 37 years of marriage (January 78). I have been with this man since just before I turned 16. I was reading this article & blogs last weekend, finally went to a support group for divorce on Tuesday, & made & went to a counseling session for emotional/verbal abuse thru a victims of domestic violence resource in my area on Friday. Thank you!

  43. I went throughout this list three times and each time I did, I made a check mark near everything listed that my husband currently does. I have been married for 3 years to a man with severe past mental and emotional issues. These issues were not apparent until after we married. He is my second husband and we have a blended family. He has three children and I have two, I moved 3000 miles to be with him in california and soon discovered that he was filled with serious emotional baggage from his past and childhood. He is extremely verbally and psychologically abusive to me and all of the children. The two oldest children (one is my child) have left the home because they cannot deal with being around him. The three youngest currently live in this abusive environment and hate it. I have no family, no friends, no job, no money and he controls everything! I had brain surgery 1.5 ago and since then I’ve been out of work and he has controlled the money and complained and made me feel like crap about being out of work and him taking on the entire load. Each time I attempt to go back to work he says he doesn’t think I am ready and I should stay at home and “get better”. He threatens divorce every other day and tells me I leave with what I came in with, nothing! He has alienated me from my family and friends back home. Everyday I am yelled at and cursed out and never validated for my feelings. He points out everything I do wrong and nothing I do right. He refuses to be intimate with me for almost 2 years now because he says he doesn’t want his marriage to be based on that only and we have issues and it is causes him to not want me that way. I don’t know if he is cheating or what…each time I ask him about stuff he’s doing on his phone he becomes enraged and yells and curses at me about being insecure and its always about me and says he doesn’t need to go through this crap. He tells me I should leave every time he gets angry about stuff. We live in a home where we are all walking on eggshells around his feelings and outbursts. He blames me for everything! He blames me for the legal issues he has with his first wife (the mother of his children) he blames me for the abusive anger filled relationship they have and each time they have an argument or she does something he doesn’t like he takes it out on me. I am an educated 40 year old woman. I’ve always done for myself and stood tall, my self esteem was impeccable before I got with him. In the beginning he often said he was intimidated by me and my education. Since, he has done everything he could to break me down for being educated and he is not. He has even asked me to go to school (college) for him online so he can get his degree and advance in his career so we can be better as a family financially. When I refused he became angry and pushy about me saying no. I am so lost! I have no nothing, not even a way of escape and I feel like I am letting my daughter down staying here. I have no where to turn. I can’t even go to counseling because he says he won’t pay for it because he doesn’t believe in it. He says the reason he curses and gets angry and argues is because he’s british and that is what british men do. I want to leave him but I have nothing and he has made sure he set it all up that way too. He needs to have the upper hand always. He threatened me about going after his 401K if I leave him. I am so tired of feeling alone in this, I need help.

  44. I, unfortunately, am guilty of all but 3 on your list. Please send me your paper.

  45. Please help.. I don t know what to do .. I came to a country away from my family and friends and since then my partner has systematically been putting me down . He moans at everything I do and even the kids . I am frightened of him as he has a violent temper as well. He appears to get pleasure out of the pain he causes by undermining and taking the hurtful micky out of me and my children . Yesterday he threatened to kill my beloved dog and even attacked her with a knife . I kept begging him not to hurt her . but he seemed to get pleasure out of my pain .. I know I can t be with him . But Im frightened of going alone . I dream of when I will be free and even plan on the day he will die and i can finally live my life without thinking of what I say and calming the kids so they don t up set him . Im now smoking and drinking as I know this is bad for me but it brings a numbness to the pain I m feeling

  46. 47 yr old. Here I sit because I don’t want to go lie in bed next to my second husband of almost 10 years, together or 12. I have 2 children from first marriage that are grown and a 9 yr old with my current (previously divorced) husband. He didn’t have any kids when I met him. He had lost two babies due to extreme prematurity. I have medical problems, he has medical problems. I have to earn the money because his RA will make it to hard to do the only type of work he can do. So I have to risk having to have a third neck surgery to support the family and provide the insurance. I feel stupid or that I was duped by ending up in a similiar marriage as my fisrt. Difference with this one is his secret nickname is “The Tyrant”. The constant yelling (loud), nit picking, correcting both myself and my daughter has about done me in. When we met I couldn’t sleep cuz he had to be snuggled right up next to me. Before we were a for sure “item” some friends of mine tried to sneak me away in their car to another bar/club only to have him sitting in the car watching me. Then showing up at the other bar and just star at me. Then “saving” me from some scummy bar dude that was putting the moves on me. Now I don’t think he would care less if I got hit by a truck. I can’t do anything right, most times neither can our daughter. He was great with her as a baby. Now he makes it clear he is King of his castle. Even embarrasing me in public by yelling at me if we can’t agree on something in the grocery store numerous times. He is a selfish man, just the other day while I was driving to schedule our daughters birthday party I couldn’t find my sunglasses, I didn’t want to ask him to look around for them because he would be irritated for my stupidity for not having them balancing on the steering wheel when I got in. So I put my visor down first because it was really sunny, then I flipped the one down on his side. He made loud comments to my daughter that he couldn’t see the car in front of him a few times. Making the ride very uncomfortable. Then he lifted his hand up and slapped the visor in front of him up so he could see. It was more important that he see what was in front of him than it was to keep the sun out of my eyes being the driver. That feeling again came on where I wanted to go around a corner, open the door and let him roll out. He brought nothing into this marriage but some debt. He is lucky to have me, very lucky. How many dumb women would support their man with this behavior. It was ok when he was taking care of our daughter when she was a baby to not have to pay childcare, now??? Top this story off now girls. So you can see how lucky this man is. I, yes me, not him won a pretty good amount of $ in the lottery. Not enought to buy and island and never work again, but enough to avoid foreclosure on MY house and have a nice chunk for when I do retire. His list never ends of little things he would like to have, I ignore him. I am teeter totting on 1. Divorce, which would be ugly I spent 3 1/2 yrs in court on my first and have to split the money, house etc. Or 2. Just finish out my life with him because I made the same mistake twice. I am afraid what he may do if I file, I think back to him watching me from the car and showing up at the bar as I wrote above. I did dig out my old counselors number and will call on Monday. So do you have any comments, ideas etc for me. I have never posted on one of these, I just needed to get these words out tonight in black and white so I may be able to get some sleep tonight…… I just read over what I wrote and a smart/strong woman would dump him.
    Thanks for reading and thinking of me for a moment.

  47. Hey uh well I have been friends with this guy for 4 years and just recently we started dating, I feel worse when I’m around him because he antagonizes me and occasionally touches me without my consent.I care for him a lot but I feel like he is using my feelings for him as leverage as to why I shouldn’t leave. Please help I don’t know what to do

  48. I would love to read your paper.
    Have had the experience of being emotionally abused for years, finally divorced. but that is the best part! my problem is that I feel like I have not learnt my lesson and keep on walking into relationships with other emotional abusers.

  49. Good God people! If you stay in a terminally toxic relationship you are ENABLING the destructive behavior. Get out!

    Easy? Of course it’s not easy. But it’s a lot better for you than consuming poison every day of your life.

    Pay whatever price you have to pay: your peace of mind is more valuable than that.

  50. men, too, can be on the receiving end of this type of abuse.

    when it happens to me, my only escape is “going into rock mode”. i just stand there and take it. (what’s a man to do?)

    but she screams at me in front of the child. she locks the dog in the bathroom with the lights off. she throws things. she hides the car keys. she’s taken total control of all the finances.

    i love my wife. i love our child. i love my dog. but i have become little more than a pair of hands w/o any semblance of free will.

    more often than not, MEN are the abusers. but there are abused men, as well.

    • Im in this type of relationship and I am the man.
      Its been this way from the start.. I didnt know the signs then.
      Our first arguement , was about my x-wife.. my x told my sisters husband a sob story at the bar one night & then my sister told me… I didnt tell my girlfriend (now wife) because it wasnt an issue i wanted to talk about and i didnt want to make her worry about my x. I didnt want anything to do with my x thats why i divorced her.

      So my sister brought it up about a month later in front of my wife..
      My wife and i had a talk about it which ended in her jumping up and shoving me into the tv and wall (my first clue)
      Since i didnt tell her she said I lied to her about it and hid it from her.
      Still to this day she brings it up.

      She has accused me of many things she has thought up in her head..
      Its so frustrating trying to have a normal talk with her, she always trumps or down plays my feelings.
      She gets loud, cuts me down, makes me feel worse … shes killing my feelings. I fear bringing anything up because it always ends the same.
      Me feeling worse & no common ground or resolution.

      We make plans and talk about stuff..
      More often than not she changes the plans and never remembers anything we talk about.. i end up last on her list. Its painfull to be treated like this, neglected on every level.

      Im her 4th marriage.. I Love her but im afraid and not secure about our relationship , shes quick to disconnect and toss me like a trash bag.
      I dont really feel like i mean much to her… the verbal abuse cuts like a knife.

      I brought it up before but just like anything i try to talk to her about she ignores or changed to topic to suit her.

      Im afraid because her moms toxic & her older daughters are too.. she was told this when we went to counselling but i dont think she made the connection of being toxic herself.

      Shes never wrong and when she is saying sorry is not high on her list.
      Im afraid I will be next on the list of divorced .. #4 .. and i fear if that happens she will start treating our daughter the same.

      Im trying really hard to break the cycle.. but she dosent think she has any issues and untill then nothing will change.

  51. I did not understand that I was an emotional abuser until recently and my husband has left me for it. I am so sorry and ashamed. I did not know I was depressed and doing this until recently but it was too late to save my marriage. He does not believe the “childhood wounds” mentioned in this article. I am glad I’m in therapy so I can start to fix myself. I also called and apologized to my sisters for how I abused them as children, I’m trying to do better.

  52. I have been the pawn in my dad’s emotional games for over 3 years. I have been degraded, put down, blamed (for practically everything), as well as several other things on this list. My parent went through a nasty divorce that took over two years to finish. Unfortunately, my parents have 50:50 custody so I am stuck with my dad every other week. I try to avoid him (and the pain he causes me) by never leaving my room. I hate it though, being trapped in that confined space for an entire week. During my parents divorce, I went to a counselor. I had some trust issues with them at first and was feeling a bit nervous. But I made her promise me that whatever I told her would only stay between us; she agreed. Things were going great with her, until I found a document on the house computer of things that I said during out sessions. My heart was broken and all trust was shattered. I could not believe my eyes when I saw that. I was so incredibly angry (and I still am). I should have know though, my dad needs to control everything. He even secretly recorded our conversations during the divorce. I would call him out in doing those things, but he would only justify himself (like usual). Anyway, I am going to be stuck in this abisive situation for two more years and I don’t know what to do. I want to get out of here, but I feel powerless. I am only 16, and not a legal adult. Is there anyway that I can change the custody for myself so that I won’t have to go to my dads anymore? Or is there a certain age that I do have to be at a certain parents house/follow the custody order? Any help is appreciated! Thank you so much!

    -Also, I live in Minnesota if that affects anything.

    • Hey…go see a lawyer. Do it discreetly. But get to an attorney that specializes in family law. I know in my state a child can state which parent they want to live with at age 12. Good luck. I hope you confronted your therapist. It was illegal and unethical to share confidential info like that. Have faith though. There are good therapists around.

  53. I’ve recently ended a 10 yr relationship with a girl who is 10 years younger than me, I was introduced to her by a friend and then her father gave me the ok.
    When I met this girl I wanted to commit to giving it a go and learning about life together.

    There was one thing I did wrong in the beginning, I seemed to be oblivious to the nasty things she said when we had any arguments.

    I have sensitive hearing and tinnitus, she would shout and scream at such a level that would cause agony, I’d say to her, what do you want me to do, hurt you to make you stop, she would smirk and carry on, I never hurt her, I don’t believe in it.

    I learnt that she had some issues from her past, family divorce, some minor issues with siblings and some issues with christmas gifts, she would refuse any counselling or advice.

    Throughout our time, I used to look at her and tell her how beautiful I thought she was and that I loved her, but whenever we encountered a problem or had an argument she would say the most vile and disgusting things to me and systematically strip away my identity and grind me down (this is a recent discovery).

    I’m quite calm about things and without realising I allowed this to carry on, I am a confident person at work and would never allow this to happen outside, why did I do it at home.

    After a while I struggled to work through these problems with her and it would take me a long time to show affection again, eventually this started to show in our love life, that was harsh because it was amazing, I just couldn’t go anywhere near her in the end.

    This went on for many years and fairly recently I stumbled across some inappropriate messages between her and co worker, I asked about them and was made to feel like it was my fault, I realised at this point I was trapped and needed to end it.

    We lingered on until valentines day this year where a small issue caused us to end our relationship, we did try counselling for one session but the problems arose again.

    Because we live a long way from our families, we had to cohabit until an alternative home could be found for her, it was agreed to make the home a neutral venue, no guests or anything to upset the other.
    During this time she started to rub my face in it by messaging new guys and talking too loudly to try and get a reaction.

    I eventually switched on to the abuse and confronted her, she was cold and in denial, no apology was offered, I told her to leave and stay with friends.

    The problem i now have is I feel violated, isolated and confused, I loved this woman for so long and trusted her and she has betrayed me in so many ways.

    I am now struggling to cope with the realisation of what’s happened, I can’t seem to process this as I feel was conned by my own brain and still believe that it was all my fault, can you suggest any ways to help me process this mess and move forward.


  54. Oh. I realise that I possess some of these symptoms. I am a 40 year old woman and I think I do some of this to people around me. I don’t do it consciously, but I do.

    How do I go about changing these behaviours?

  55. So, I know it’s probably bad, but I can answer every single one of those questions with yes. My life has become a constant hell of being told how horrible I am without actually using those exact words so it’s supposed to be ok.

    The last four nights I’ve caused four long drawn out arguements by being wrong about my beliefs. According to my husband I’ve not been the religion I’ve been since I was in high school. I’ve somehow change since I am not comfortable being forced to go to church. He is a former catholic turned Luther turned atheist turned agnostic turned atheist and now believes we are an alien experiment. I grew up catholic but never subscribed to it and have had humanistic views with the belief that man created gods to explain the world around them before science was evolved. My husband has a child with his exwife, and we’re in a custody battle where we have been forced basically to attend a church to have a ‘spiritual’ enough life. So after 7 years of continuous change where I have been told by my husband he doesn’t love me right now because I don’t clean enough, I’m not happy enough and I need to pretend to be happy do he can be happy, I work too little, I work too much, I don’t show him enough affection, I need to find a hobby and leave him alone, he works more than I do and I need him so I need to show him more respect, I need to quit my job because I need to take care of the kids, I need to lose weight, I need to stop losing weight because I’m going to cheat on him, I need to cook healthier, I need to stop spending so much time cooking, I need to fix this part about his child, I screwed up his custody case by not making sure all his paper work gets taken care of, I need to stop being such a control freak about paperwork… the list goes on and on after seven years of it I can’t recognize myself. I vowed I’d never have children (I spent the vast part of my childhood taking care of everyone I didn’t want that anymore), he promised we would not have a child together… shortly after a fight where

  56. How do you deal with such people and how do you pull away from them? am in a very very emotionally abusive association and I am tired of it, I want out soo badly.

  57. I have experienced this in the workplace with a supervisor. I have left but she continues to do this to others. The turnover is high in the office but she continues to keep her job. It is frustrating.

  58. I appreciate this article because it lists a great deal of characteristics of emotional abuse. I also struggle with it.

    It seems to me that emotionally healthy people (and honestly, I’m not entirely sure how to define that) sometimes exhibit some of these characteristics once in a while. For example, emotional distance isn’t automatically a bad thing. Taking a day or two to distance yourself from a situation is sometimes necessairy in order to deal with excess emotion and to gain perspective before a discussion. Is this article saying that this is abuse?

    I also wonder about the intent of the perpertrator. Does it matter if they are intending to treat someone like a child or if they are trying to help by giving advice(in an innefective mannor)? If they exhibit only one characteristic on this list (for example, treating as a child), but are genuinely trying to help, could this be thought of as ineffective communication as opposed to abuse?

    Another thought/question that I have is the perception of the victim. Everyone comes with emotional baggage (whick is why I hesitated above to use the phrase ’emotionally healthy people’. Is it possible for a victim’s past experience cause them to react strongly to a situation that others would not consider that extreme? If a victim overreacts to a particular sarcastic remark that they are already sensitive about, does that still mean that the person who made the remark is an abuser? The section labeled #1: Humiliation, degradation, etc… seems to suggest that one person using teasing and sarcasm against a person is abuse but the section #3: Accusing, blaming, etc… seems to say that people reacting in an oversensitive way to those same things is also abuse. Is it possible for two people in the same situation to be abusing each other? One by being sarcastic and the other by being oversensitive?

    I am legitimatly struggling with these questions. If you respond, please make your response thoughtful and respectful.

    Thanks for listening.

  59. I knew I was before I read it. But maybe not how much. Answered yes to every question. Now what? I’m broken.

  60. I didn’t read all of the comments but I believe I have a less common situation. I am being financially verbally and emotionally abused by my adult daughter. I have tried very hard over the years to help her. The last 5 years I have had ongoing major depression and ended up on disability. Ever since she was 18 I tried to get her to be responsible for her debts but she always had the mentality of ignoring everything. She’s 32 now and things are catching up to her. She blames me for her crappy life. She does work but two months ago decided she wasn’t going to pay her share of the rent anymore. She pays no bills and buys no household supplies. She has stolen my identity and got online loans and wrote checks using my name on old closed accounts and the estate account of my mother. She has stolen my debit card and this week stole a prepaid debit card and took my last $245. She is angry because I am moving out of state. Its the only way. I tried moving to another town before and I gave her 6 wk notice to find a place but she didn’t and now says I “abandoned” her. This upcoming move will generate the same thing. She talks to me like I’m stupid and uses my now not so good memory against me. I am always accused of loving my other children more and not caring what happens to her. She rolls her eyes at me and never ever apologizes for anything. The only thing I can think of to do is LEAVE. She’s killing me.

    • I am sorry about your predicament, but it sounds as if your daughter didn’t get enough discipline as a child.

  61. As I was growing up everything I did was never good enough for my mom and stepdad. My mom would often call me lazy and claim I was not trying hard enough. It got worse when I was in High school my grade were below average and I had began to push away the people who would stick up for me like my grandmothers and biological father. I was dignosed with major depression and my mother refuse to get me help all she and my stepdad would do is berate me for the thing I did wrong. One day I was cleaning and I accidentally cut on the kitchen stove and set some papers my mom left there on fire. She yelled at me and kicked me out of the house. My father and grandmother took me in and everything changed. My grades went up, I began to talk more, and I was a whole lot happier. But it didn’t last long during my senior year some of my grades slipped and my mom forced me back home. My mom began to not only berate me but my younger brothers, my dad, my granny, even my other granny who was her own mother. I was often told I would never make it in life and that I was a failure. When I went to college I made a mistake registering for class and had to leave for the second semester, she began to call me a college drop out and berate me for it. She told me that I either had to go to school or get out of the house. Seeing how I was to late to register for community college she kick me out once again. As I think back on the time I have lived with my mother and step dad this pharse has always stuck to me. ” your opinion does not matter.”

  62. I’ve never really told anyone how I’ve felt but here lately I just can’t take it anymore. I’m still living with my parents and I’m in high school. It probably seems like I’m being rerebellious and I just can’t wait to move out but I need someone to talk to. Everything I do seems like it’s not good enough. I help clean and do what I’m suppose to around the house like my parents ask. I know I can back talk some but it’s not an everyday thing. My sister on the other hand is close to the same age as me and she doesn’t help whatsoever. She always back talks em and is very rude to them. The thing is though she never gets on trouble. It’s like they’re scared of her. If I was to do that then I would get my phone taken away and they would tell me I’m not going to get to hang out with my boyfriend because of that. They don’t do anything to her and it’s frustrating. It’s always been like this since I was younger. My parents always yell at us too.Recently I’ve been trying to get a job and my mom just doesn’t help out or support me in any way. I don’t have a car so shed have to take me and I guess that frustrates her. I’m fixing to be a senior and I need to start looking into colleges,which I’ve should’ve already been doing, but they don’t want to help at all. My dad said he wasn’t going to help me pay for college. Which there’s scholarships and stuff like that but the thing is they don’t encourage me or help me in anyway possible. I’ve talked about becoming a teacher and every time I decide on what I want to do, they tell me I can’t do it or it just seems that they don’t believe in me. I feel worthless and I use to think I could do anything but now I feel like I’m not good enough. I constantly pick myself apart and I hate it. Is this how other parents are? I just need answers

  63. I have been involved with my husband for three years now. When we met in 2012 he was sweet but didn’t over do it. We quickly fell in love and moved in together right away. One day before moving in together, when I had met his uncle, who by the way is like his dad, he got into a bad mood after the nite i met him. We went out to a store and walked around, all of a sudden he turns around and sticks a pocket knife on my throat and said “now that you have met my uncle i will slice your throat open if you mess this up”. I just stood there in disbelief as to what was going on. I had a thought in my mind immediately, “what am I going to do with this man now”. I knew that I should have left him immediately after that episode, but of course I paid more attention to how he treated me better in different occasions and how we had a strong sexual life. Mind you all of this took place within the first month of us being together. He always has this serious look on his face and is a very jealous man. He started not letting me hang out with my family unless he was there, and since he was the only one working at the time, he controlled the money and how much he would give me, if he would give me any it was for gas to take him back/forth to work. One nite i couldn’t sleep, i was tossing and turning in the bed. I looked over at him, and i see him there knocked out and i thought to myself “how can he sleep knowing what a jerk off he is to me, how he makes me feel like i am doing something wrong all the time”. And i noticed that he had his cell phone in his hand, and i thought oh my god why does this man always have that phone on him no matter where he is at or what he’s doing. So i took it ever so cautiously, and managed to get into his fb account because he left it pretty much open and saw his conversations with all different types of women. Turns out the day we met is the day he dumped his gf at the time. Also that he had given a woman money for an abortion weeks prior to us meeting and still had contact with these women. Also that he might have a son in houston tx with a woman that he spoke to constantly while we were together for months already. All of this crap is within the first few months and theres much more. No later then a year into our relationship things got heavily abusive. I think worst of all is i keep finding reasons not to leave him, and i just sit here and take his nasty attitude on a daily basis. I have gotten to the point where i have put a knife on his throat, punched his nose causing it to bleed everywhere because when we argue i instantly get into attack mode. Im tired of his comments and nasty attitudes. Im becoming or have become someone else. I have cousins that tell me how much i have changed all the time. Theres so mucb more but i cant gather it all together correctly. He pretty much hates my family and lets them know it by him not talking to the when they are around. He isnt the typical abuser, people can see his seriousness, and they can see that obviously there might be more going on but no one.gets involved. See i am puerto rican, and alot of hispanics still cling to traditions, no one is to get involved with other peoples relationships, my mom knows things have happened but she wont get involved. I feel like i dont know how to leave him, and at times i feel like i don’t want to because there’s good things about us. But i know its not right.

  64. I am a 48 year old male and still deal with emotional pain from my past. When I was a child, my parents disciplined me by paddling me, usually with my father’s fraternity paddle……3/4 inches thick with holes. I was paddled for bad grades early on. A “C” would be 5 spankings. A “D” was 10 and an “F” was 20 paddlings. This held true for all grades in any circumstance. I was also paddled for any “wrongdoing ” in their eyes. I would be chased through the house by my dad, tackled and slammed to the floor and have my pants ripped off. My dad would pin me and paddle me till my mother deemed I had had enough. I would scream in pain and beg him to stop, but it fell on deaf ears.

    My father would talk down to me, as would my mother. I’ve never had a really close relationship with them. Anger built up in me towards them and triggers were developed in me, so when others tripped them, I’d lose control. I started punching doors and walls, only to be paddled for doing so, being belittled in the process and called a worthless piece of crap. I busted windows and cut my hands and realized that that in a way, brought temporary relief. However, that brought more paddlings.

    It didn’t help that my dad got hooked on prescription drugs or that my parents fought with each other. Seeing their anger on a daily basis drove me to withdraw from everyone and everything. I also started cutting my arms and that act continues today whenever anyone triggers a past event or memory. That usually happens on my current job. I will pull out my box cutter and cut my arm with short cuts, enough to make it bleed. There is no pain. Only relief.

    My father eventually walked out on my mom and the physical abuse ended. They separated, but they eventually got back together and while the physical abuse didn’t return, the mental and verbal abuse did. I eventually found work in another state and left home, but the scars remain and so do the triggers. Thoughts of suicide have come and gone and that’s not an avenue I choose to pursue. I just want peace and freedom from my past.

  65. I am very interested in this article. Please direct me to where I can get a copy.

  66. How do you know for sure if you are in an emotionally abusive relationship? I’ve been with my bf for almost 4 years and he exhibits just about every sign listed in the article. I love him and he loves me but I have never been so stressed out in my life as I have been the last 3 years. I have never been able to talk to him about anything because he turns it around onto himself. He will sometimes accuse me of things that I have no idea where he comes up with, but if I try to calmly tell him that I did not do whatever he’s accusing me of, he gets upset and won’t listen. He’s very sensitive and I feel like I’m always walking on eggshells around him, because I never know if he’ll take offense to something I’ll say.

    I do everything for him.Since I’ve been with him, I’ve changed jobs twice because he thought my job was not good or else kept me away from him. I was in college when I started dating him. He lived an hour away. I was working two jobs and taking 16 credit hours of classes. But, I was always the one to drive to see him. He never once came to see me. When I finally worked up the guts to say something about it, he said he just wasn’t good at it. He made me feel so guilty for going to school and not spending enough time with him that I quit. I moved closer to him, but I refuse to move in with someone before marriage. I know it’s kind of old-fashioned of me, but it would put a huge strain on my relationship with my family. He acted all sad and hurt about me not moving in though, so I took a different position at my work that was less pay but had the same hours as him so I could spend my evenings with him.

    He will never hang out with my friends. I have pretty much stopped hanging out with my friends and I’ve always been a very outgoing girl with a lot of friends. But he always would make me feel bad about hanging out with my friends because he never would hang out with his instead of me and said he had social anxiety and made me feel bad. But, if he wants to go hang out with his brother or his one friend, he gets upset if I don’t go because in his words we’re a couple so I should obviously just go with him to do whatever he wants to do and he knows I do. If I don’t go, he sometimes tells them that its because I don’t like them or that I’m just being difficult or something.

    Well, like I said, we’ve been together almost 4 years now. About a year ago, I stood up for myself and went back to finish school and get my bachelor’s degree. I stayed living close to him though and tried to schedule my classes so that I would be able to spend most evenings with him because he makes me feel so guilty if I’m not there. I also quit my job that he always belittled and took a serving job that thankfully was very flexible. He gets upset(acts sad and makes me feel guilty and asks why I don’t just quit and get a better job) when I work wkends or too many evenings. So, I asked to just work days on the days that I wasn’t at school. Unfortunately, during the day at this restaurant, business is very much slower than at night. Because of all this, money started to become very tight, a problem I never really had before. However, I wanted to try to compromise since I was going back to school.

    I went back to school, and he said he was glad for me and was glad I was going, because I could get my degree and make enough money for him to just stay home. I began going to work and class, and then going back to his house until he fell asleep ( because he made me feel guilty if I wasn’t there when he was awake; for example, he would tell me if I wasn’t there he would have to look at porn or think about other girls because he was lonely.Or he’d say that I was so stupid and dumb to not just move in and no wonder it would never work, or it would turn into a fight, so I’d just wait til he was asleep). I would leave around midnight, go home and do all my homework and then get a couple hours of sleep before I was up to do the same thing all over again. Then when summer came, I just had four classes left before I got my degree. He complained and told me I was stupid for going to college and I should just quit. Or he would belittle me that it was taking so long for me to finish,even though he never even went to college and even though the reason I didnt finish 2 yrs before was because I had dropped out for him. If I try to bring that up, however, no matter how lovingly I do, he gets angry and says I always yell at him and also denies ever doing it or ever asking me to drop out. So,I decided I would take my last classes online. That way, I could still work every day,and be with him when he wasn’t at work. However, he does not have internet at his house except for on his phone. Because of this, online classes are pretty stressful. He always says I’m dumb to go to school and if I don’t get a good enough job so that he doesn’t have to work after this, he’ll be mad. If i get upset when he says this, he always says he is joking and says I can’t take a joke. So this summer, my life has been work, then his house to make him supper and try to take care of him, and then when he falls asleep, its back to my house to do my online school for most of the night, then a little sleep, then back to work. It finally got so stressful, that even though money has been tight for me, and even though I’m paying for internet at my house, I decided to get internet for his place. Unfortunately,(or maybe fortunately!), the internet didn’t work out there so I had to cancel the service and decided to just not worry about trying a different one. Yet, no matter how hard I try to make things work, he can never see how hard I’m trying. Even though I make sure to spend a lot of time with him, he complains that I should never have gone to school and asks why I can’t just move in. If I try to explain the strain that it would put on my relationship with my family and that I don’t want to move in with anyone before they are ready to commit for life; he either slightly makes fun of me and my parents or makes me feel extremely bad. Or else he just doesn’t listen at all.

    In all the time we’ve been dating, he has only come to my house maybe 5 times. He says its because there is nothing to do at my house and his truck doesn’t get good gas mileage. I am paying all the bills for my place but spending nearly all my time at his house. I have given up nearly all my friends and never have time for myself. I try so hard to make it work, and I know he wants me there and so I try to be there as much as possible. But Im always so stressed out and tired from taking a full load of accelerated 300 and 400 level classes every night instead of sleeping, that we are starting to fight a lot. Im not perfect either tho. I have been losing my temper a lot, and he is the only person I’ve ever yelled at in my life. But almost every day he tells me that I am so lucky to have someone that will put up with me because all i do is yell at him.

    Every time I try to have a serious conversation with him, he asks why I’m doing this again. Even if I haven’t tried to talk with him in a few weeks. He always says we can talk later, but later never comes. He’s very sensitive and hates almost everybody. The littlest thing someone says, he often thinks is aimed at him and this makes it hard to talk to him too. For example, the other day, we were in his friends car and my bf was holding my hand. I got a text about the next morning so went to text back. He was sullen and quiet the rest of the way to his house. When we got there, he started to say something to me and then said,”O wait, I forgot, I’m not talking to you”.I kinda got aggravated and asked if we seriously were about to fight again. He said well it was my fault cuz I had pulled my hand away in the car. I didnt know what he was even talking about at first, but then realized it had to have been when I was texting. I apologized that he had felt that way and calmly explained that I had just got a text and was responding but that I loved him and didn’t mean to make him feel that way. But he said he wasn’t buying it( Another very common expression from him). Then I started to get upset, I told him it was true, and I didn’t know how much more of this i could take. I asked if we could talk about it. He got all upset and started blaming me for yelling and always starting fights,even though I had not even raised my voice or anything. I asked him how I had started a fight or when I had yelled at him. He got all upset and said to shut up because he’s tired of me always trying to talk and its killing our relationship and all I ever do is yell at him. I told him that I didn’t feel that was true and he was hurting me by being like that. He did what he always does, and turned on the tv and blocked me out and ignored me. I finally started crying because I was so frustrated and so sick of this happening constantly. He then started calling me crazy and emotional and wished I would quit killing our relationship and said he was going to bed. This example is exactly how things go at least once a week.

    Also, he puts down all my dreams and I feel like I am not allowed to be my own person or have any needs or wants. Any time I try to say something I want in life, he tells me its stupid. But then he always denies saying it. He says he wants whats best for me and for me to be happy but if anything I want doesn’t align 100% with what he wants, he gets upset. It doesn’t matter how often I come over or what I give up for him or what I do for him, he will not ever even just come to my house for an evening so I can do homework. He will never hang out with any of my friends because he’s not good with new people. If I tell him, its been almost 4 years, and they shouldn’t be new people, he starts making jokes or starts talking about something random so he doesn’t have to respond.He makes fun or belittles everything I strive for in life. When I got a promotion at work, he started making snide comments like “well, good for you” and about how I probably think I’m ‘big stuff’ now. Not once did he even think about trying to act happy for me. It hurts that everything I want, he makes fun of or calls me stupid for wanting. But if I tell him that and ask why he does it, he gets all mad and says I can’t take a joke or that he never said it, even if it was only 5 minutes before.

    I could go on and on.But I just realized how long this is getting. I also realize how pathetic this makes me sound! But I do love him, and I do feel like a lot of it is probably my fault. I know he had a bad childhood and he’s never known real love, even from his own parents. I try to be patient, but after almost 4 years, I feel like I’m about to the point where I can’t deal with it anymore because my self-esteem is getting so low and I’m so stressed all the time and not getting enough sleep. He very rarely notices how his actions affect me and Idk how to make it work when I honestly don’t think he knows what he does. Every single time we have an argument or he gets upset, I ask what started it and what I could have done differently. He always says he doesn’t remember what started it and if I try to tell him something he said or did that hurt me, he always says that definitely doesn’t sound like him and he knows he didnt say or do that. When I ask what I could do differently, he always says I could just stop talking. But on days when I try to just be quiet,and just go along with whatever he says, he gets upset and asks why I’m so quiet. There’s absoutely NOTHING I can do to please him. He always somehow turns everything around to where he is the victim. He always tells me I’m just wrong and refuses to listen or communicate. He gets extremely upset if I don’t have the same opinion as him on everything and makes fun of me and tells me I’m stupid if I try to voice an opinion. He rarely cares about my feelings and expects me to do anything for him at the drop of a hat, but has excuse after excuse about why he can’t ever be there for me. I just feel so much like I don’t matter and its really wearing on our relationship. His excuses are always so lame and that makes me feel worse than if he didn’t have an excuse. He always just calls me crazy and when I’m with him, I start to believe maybe he’s right. He also will accuse me of being a flirt in front of everybody for absolutely no reason, or tell his family that I’m crazy or that I’m impossible or other little things that make me sound bad and its so awkward.

    But is this emotional abuse? Or is it just that I am not understanding enough? Because I do make a lot of mistakes too and I’m sure I’m not always easy to put up with! And lately I feel like maybe I am starting to go crazy,like lately I can get so emotional or upset when Im with him. And I’ve never been like that before. It’s like I’m a different person than I used to be. How do I know if its emotional abuse or if it really is me? Many of the signs show that there could be emotional abuse, but how do I know it’s not me? I admit, sometimes, especially in the last 6 months, I have started to get upset a lot. I have yelled at him. I do get irritated with him easily. And in so many ways, he’s so good and patient. He never wants to leave me, no matter how many times I get upset and want to leave him. No matter how much we fight, he hugs me and says he loves me. I get so mad at him sometimes. I get so frustrated that he never listens and always shuts me out that I sometimes start to raise my voice or start accusing him of making me feel like I don’t matter and never wanting to go out of his way for me. I also do have some trust issues because of lies he has told me about the girl he cheated on me with back when we first started dating. But he hasn’t cheated since then. And he never gives up on us. He tells me he loves me every day. And when I finally do get upset and raise my voice at him, he sits there and listens and then tries to hug me and it makes me feel so bad!But any other time I try to talk to him, he shuts me out and turns on the tv or else starts belittling me,often in a joking way. After almost 4 years of stress and trying so hard,its like sometimes I don’t even know which way is up or which is down. How can I help him, and stop getting so frustrated when he refuses to communicate and just would rather turn everything around on me and make me feel bad for trying to talk about anything?

  67. I need help escaping from my emotionally abusive father. Please help!

  68. After 43 years of emotional and mental abuse, I have finally left my husband of 43 years. I was always able to deal with it by keeping my guard up and taking nerve pills from the very beginning. This year, my dear mother passed away and my grief and depression were intolerable. This, on top of what I have dealt with over the years was just too much for me. I totally lost my appetite, started having throat spasms and then I was seeing the lights go on and off when they weren’t. I totally lost by ability to guard myself and knew that I had to get out. I saw an attorney and now in the process of getting a divorce. I’m staying with my son and his family because I cannot tolerate being near him. He continues to harrass me through emaill and text. I feel so good now. Most of my symptoms are gone and I feel better than ever. I am 66 and happier than ever. Good luck to everyone!

  69. I don’t know what finally made me google this but it’s frightening. I just turned nineteen and my father has always treated me like this. I know that he had a troubled childhood but It’s gotten to the point where I don’t feel anything. I’m numb. I just don’t feel alive. When I see fathers with their daughters hugging them and kissing them, I feel like something is wrong with me. Like I’m unlovable. I’m this irreparably broken thing that can never be put back together. I’m done. Finished. My older brother has tried to protect me but I’m scared to tell him it’s too late. I don’t let guys in, I can’t have a normal relationship with guys because how do you explain to men that the pretty girl still has daddy issues and used to cut and cry? How do you tell people that they cant come close to me because if they lick my heart it would poison them? No one understands. They take one look at me and say I’m exaggerating. Nothing can be further from the truth. I’m not a drama queen. I’m not pretending. I get excellent grades, I’m the good girl blah blah blah. What they don’t know is that my father has never once complimented me. He says I’m stupid and worthless and I’m a burden to the family. I’m ungrateful because I have it comparably easier than he did when he was a child and I’m still this little softy bitch that can never pay him back for putting a roof over my head. I’m the family’s curse. Basically, he said he wished my mother had aborted me when she had the chance. my heart stopped years ago and now its just a matter of time before my body stops too. Have you ever seen a living corpse? All body, no soul? The sad thing is I don’t blame my father. It’s all my fault. I’m the disease. The sickness. It’s all me. I’m the reason why my family can’t be happy. It’s disturbing because I really do believe John Green’s novel Looking for Alaska is about me. She’s me and I hope people forgive me.

  70. These are all things my mom has done to me. She really destroyed my sense of self and my life :(

  71. I’m not sure if its happening to me?, he always tells me what to do , how to spend my money how to do everyday things like cook, he does put me down sometimes and days mean things but says he is only joking. Says things are always my fault and now I just agree so I don’t have to argue with him , I haven’t the energy anymore , worst thing he ever did was push me up a wall and bit my lip he was really angry but he siad sorry and he was crying and everything… I don’t even know of people still read this but any reply would be appreciated, thanks.

  72. I’m so sick and tired of the abuse. :( it keeps happening over and over again.

  73. I’ve been stalked by a man who I met online and never even met. I only entertained him because I dropped him for someone else initially as I wasn’t interested and felt guilty about it – had no interest in him. He seemed nice at first, but then switched. I had more important things to worry about and focus on which I usually do and ignored the warning signs. He’s been stalking me via Jonathan Cainer’s horoscopes (…) which lie and put crazy ideas in his head like me being interested in him when I’m not and never was. He was stalking me and posting delusional things on Twitter, writing cryptic messages in Tweets and Favourited things relating to rubbish he’d read. And just because I wasn’t interested he started abusing me and my family, posting vile comments and jokes about my mum dying who’s in care with early onset dementia, my dad, myself and anyone else I knew. Threatened to physically hurt me. Said I was unattractive when I couldn’t be further out of his league if I tried. Tried to inflict “deep” psychological damage through making suggestive and completely false accusations and notions he’d dreamed up because he’s so mentally unstable; so completely insane and jealous at being who he is: a nasty, bitter b*stard with nothing going for him, least of all insight, intelligence, attractiveness and rational judgement. And he thinks he’s being clever when I just don’t care about him which is the most annoying thing of all. Wasted so much of my precious time – time I’m spending with my dying mother – trying to get rid of his ugly, delusional self. Hacked my Twitter account and stalked, abused and harassed me for months. Got his friends to do the same. Sitting behind a computer and cowardly dishing out abuse because his pride was hurt at being rejected. He’s low-class, unattractive and unintelligent (despite thinking himself smart and attractive) and lacks all perspective and self-insight. Disgusting, repugnant, scum. He must feel so proud. Completely insane and unable to accept reality. Typical stalker profile.

  74. what does it means when your husband tells you that you are the worst thing that came to his live and that he hates his live now more then ever

  75. I have read the the signs you have listed for emotional abuse and I was wondering as a parent where you would draw the line between emotional abuse and parenting? I was raised very traditionaly and could say if I wanted to that i was emotionally abused by my father. He never valued my opinion, wouldn’t let me go to college unless he was bribed by my mother, would’t let me get a job or even drive a car after i had my license. I could of taken all of that and used it as an excuse but i didn’t. I chose to overcome it because I know that deep down he loved me and he showed it the best way he knew how.

    Now as a parent my one child is accusing me of emotional abuse because my husband and i refuse to pay college tuition after she went behind our backs and signed a lease to live with her boyfriend and denied it. She outright lied and told us that she and 2 others signed the lease and he didn’t. When asked upfront she still denied it but the boyfriend admitted it. after many several things have been thrown in my face i chose not to talk to her and it wasn’t out of spite. it was a decision i made to avoid the constant berating of everything we do not do for her. I could go on but I am wondering again as a parent if at any point you say no to your child or do not let them have everything they want when they want it or you disagree with a choice how its then turned into being accused of emotional abuse and controlling their lives?

    • Reply to Rose365: If anything your daughter is emotionally abusive. Manipulation (just another form of lying to get things their way) is a key sign of emotional abuse. There are many fundamental differences between actual emotional abuse and whatever your daughter is experiencing (harsh realities of life… Not getting her way.) Always call her out on her lying/manipulation and try to remain calm. Don’t let the abuser suck you into their mental games.

  76. Hello my name is elaine and i think that im going thou it because the way my boyfriend is and im suffing with depression because of it and i dont know what to say or do so could you please add advice please

  77. So I checked this out of curiosity after deciding to go through with getting a psychiatrist, and strangely enough my boyfriend does nearly all of these things (except the isolation). And even knowing this, I am STILL wondering if I’m only victimizing myself or overreacting/paranoid. It’s like I can’t even trust myself anymore

  78. Hello all,

    I’m really only here to relinquish my feelings. I was mentally abused by my Father for 5 years. It got to the point where I would be scared to go home from school. Everyday I knew I would be yelled at when he is at a drunken state. I knew I would and pinned against the wall with his hands around my neck. I was yelled at and screamed at for my parents divorce. Every single day- I was told how stupid and idiotic I was. You see, a lot of people go through worse things than me but when it gets to this point it had to stop. I called the Police one day and told them I had Marijuana, as a 15 year old kid. They came out and found out I was abused. They ended up dropping my charges. I was taken out of the house and moved into a homeless shelter. Later, I was Court ordered to move in with my Mother in Indiana. So, I moved there and made it to where I had no contact at all with my Father. My Therapist said that was a good idea and my Mother did too. Now, I just know that back when all that happened- I lived. That’s all that matters. Honestly, I feel it made me stronger. Thank you for reading..

  79. For twenty years I’ve suffered emotional abuse from my mother until I moved out. I’ve had several emotionally abusive boyfriends, and even an emotionally abusive best friend when he took church too seriously (which I’ve introduced him to). I am thirty-two years old with supportive friends and the best man I know. Last year I had a miserable supervisor who berated me and put me down with every chance she had until I left the job. I don’t deal with abuse well. And I hope I serve as a testament for others that they are better than bullies and intimidators.

  80. Hi my name is Nancy, It seems like my life has been around abuse. My birth mom abused me and had no problem putting me down. I have been in and out of relationship that have been emotional abusive. I am with a person know and it has been 13 years. It has not been easy, and there are times when I want to leave but get scared. Around 3 years ago, he started to take the doors off of the bedroom and the bathroom. The name calling got worse and his additude around me has become negative. He takes me every where I need to go even thought I have a car, as well as be in charged of everything. 2 weeks ago I was told that I have stage one breast cancer, and he still makes everything about him. I keep hoping that one day getting away from him will happen.

    • I hope you one day get away from him too. I also wish you well on your journey to being cancer free.

  81. I am in an emotionally abusive relationship and definetly want to get out. We live together and have an 8 month old son. Finances are extremely tight and I dont go back to work for 3 more months. I’m so hurt and worn down I dont know how I can handle 3 or 4 more months of living together before I can afford to move on my own with our son. I may have to move in with my parents. This hurts so much. I dont want to turn our lives upside down and go through all this just because he is angry and misplaced his anger or cant control it. I hate that I still have hope. Even after the meanest fights and most hurtful let downs I pathetically hope he’ll see how he’s not being fair. Ive seen it time and again with him that he lacks empathy. How can he watch me cry in pain and still yell and yell in front of our baby for me to “save the water works” and call me manipulating. I explain calmly I’m crying cause I’m hurt that’s all. It forces me to leave the situation so my son doesn’t get further exposed. This means I leave my son’s side. How can he do this to us. I will never leave my son’s side. Therefor I will find it in me to pack and leave asap. Even if Ive done it before. Last time no kid was involved so this time it’s for good. It’s hard when you’re an understanding big hearted person and when he had a horrible childhood. Ive asked him to go to counseling but when push comes to shove it falls through… at this point I’m exhausted. I know I’ll feel better but I’m scared and dont want to be so lonely. Ive already been so lonely being with him. For me to comment here proves my desperation. I could go on and on and plan to see a counselor. But dont even want to give him that. I used to be so resilient and strong. Now I’m broken down physically out of shape, jaded and just plain down. I’m afraid to go back to work where everyone is healthy and happy and I have such agony in the back of my mind. I want to lose the hope I have for him changing or suprising me with an honest apology. I feel like a person cant really be bad it just their learned or aquired behavior. With help couldn’t they improve? With this question I just sound like any one else lost in an abusive relationship and I hate myself for it. I know I need to get away. I just need to tear that bandaid off. I wish my parents were more helpful but they dont know how bad it is cause I protect him in case we work out some how. What a joke this all is.

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