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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.

335 Comments to
Signs of Emotional Abuse

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  1. The attitudes of family members with high expressed emotion are too strong for the patient and the patient now has to deal with the mental illness and the criticism from those they would need support from in their time of recovery. This stress may cause the patient to relapse and make them fall into a cycle of rehabilitation and relapse.

  2. I am extremely interested in your paper… I have been married (for 42 years) to a person who shows EVERY ONE of your “signs” not only to me but to our wonderful successful kids. The kids have had it with him and don’t want him around. He can’t understand why we can’t get together for family get togethers but he constantly is demeaning to all of them and to me. He does have a caring heart, but his anger, resentment, everyone doesn’t see his way, is driving us away. I walk in the door after work, and it’s a constant bitch session until I lay my head on the pillow at night. I am tired, exhausted, and I just want to be happy again. And it’s getting worse… I have asked him to go see a doctor,, for some meds or something, (I have to take depression meds to keep my sanity) and he refuses, says there is nothing wrong with him, everyone else is working against him. He is a very unhappy man too. He just doesn’t get it that he is the center of all the issues…

    • I have been married for less than a year. My husband to exhibits every sign listed. He is also a drug addict. We live with his mom and I get it from both of them. My family has disowned me for being with him and I have no place to go. I am a recovering addict with a history of several suicide attempts. This is exacerbating my problems and I don’t know what to do. I want to check into a hospital but he doesn’t want to spend the money. If I did commit myself then what? What happens when I get out? I’m scared for myself yet I love him and want to believe he will change. It’s almost too late. I have even regressed to cutting myself as a means of making the pain come from myself and not him. He says I do it for attention but that is not true. I tell him when I’m feeling hopeless and suicidal, he degrades me. I don’t know what to do.

    • Your energy is diverted from your problem. You seem to be caught in a cycle of “He does ____; he is ___”
      and “What should I do…(to fix it?)

      You CANNOT change someone. It’s not even your responsibility. Their behavior and feelings belong to them…

      What is it that YOU want? Peace? Kindness? And yes, I know, to also remain where you are.
      But you can’t have it all. You cannot be monogamous AND sleep around. It’s impossible.

      I wish you strength and courage. To contemplate another path is….terrifying. But to travel upon it is so much more rewarding than the present one.

      • Phoenix13, you are certainly right on. Thankyou for posting.

      • Married for 20+ years. It took me 3 years to be strong enough to realize that you cannot change an abuser. Drive myself crazy trying not to upset him then it was trying to reason with him. There is no reason. Working on getting out. As with most situations I’ve been secluded from friends and famly and workforce. I only saw big arguments we had at first and believed they were my fault. Now I see how he manipulates by using guilt and it was so covert. Like I purchased beer at his request went out of my way to do so but didn’t complain. I bought 12 pack they didn’t have a 18 pack. When I came home he didn’t yell just said I told you 18- I tried explaining which is exactly what he wants cuz now he says well no 18 think about it but 2 packs anyone can think of that it’s not hard. Implying I’m stupid without saying it. Then he says you never listen never do what I want I ask for something and no regard for me. This is done without yelling he never says the words stupid or anything but he def implies it. Before I’d feel so guilty he made me feel as if I was not treating him right on purpose. I now know this is his intent. I offer to go get more. I leave no response from him. Now here’s the kicker if I don’t go it will be a relentless evening of how I don’t care according to him. My phone was dead thank god! Now he didn’t stop me from going but I found out later when phone recharges he has called 8 times and texted demanding me to pick up. It is important for me to know he never told me to get more. When I return a friend has arrived and he treats me as a queen oh so nice for you to get that then to friend my wife is so nice she got us steaks and had to go back and get beer. If he wasn’t there he wouldn’t have said that. No one would ever know what I went through and if I told this story he would be completely right he never yelled at me never commanded me to go or told me what to do he is a good man. However I wanted to share that this is abuse! Others on outside will never know and that’s why it’s hard to get out. Just wanted to tell others it’s not always yelling or calling you bad names. Years of minor stuff like this can be damanging bc you reason his not yelling and you think god I really hurt his feelings. When all he is doing is manipulating your feelings and kind heart.

  3. ‘Do they make you feel as though they are always right? interestingly, my counselor made me feel this way, that she was always right. I saw her 8 months in all and still get ‘triggered’ when I hear certain words she used with me, remembering what she said and feel hurt all over again. She had me fill out a lengthy questionnaire at my first meeting, complete with word associations, which led me to believe she had insights, but she took it too far. she told me I had a fear of abandonment which led me to feel ashamed and flawed. Talking with another therapist later, helped. She told me that it is always a matter of degree. Everyone has some fear of abandonment. She also made a big deal of me saying things like, ‘he made me angry.’ ‘He made me think of …’ She thought that my word choice indicated that I thought someone else could control my thoughts and feelings. I told her that I would change my language. She introduced the word safe into my vocabulary and would change what i said about others. I would say this person seemed immature. She would say they didn’t feel safe. When i started to say I didn’t feel safe she seemed happy that I was getting her understanding of me, instead of concerned about how I was feeling. She had me draw a trauma egg and discuss it. Just after I told her how my parents used a belt to discipline me in anger, she asked if I had done that to my children. Can you say ‘lack of empathy?’ and no, I used time outs. What is amazing to me is that I stayed on another 6 weeks after that, probably because she had led me to fear that I was crazy and that leaving would prove that I had this fear of abandonment that she had pegged me with. ( the need to abandon others before they abandon you.) My therapist told me that I was not in touch with reality. She told me i didn’t have to agree with her, but she kept saying it after i would talk. Can you say ‘invalidating?’ Is a therapist is telling you what you think and feel, get out. Is your therapist encouraging you to trust yourself and listen for your inner voice of wisdom or the guidance of the spirit, if you are spiritual? If not, get out. does a therapist use words that MAKE you feel uncomfortable and confused? Don’t let anyone tell you how you feel or define you as flawed. I have injuries to heal from and they are healing, but I picked up some new injuries from my therapist. Thanks for allowing me to post, it helps with the healing. Healthy relationships help the most.

    • Psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, as you have discovered through bitter experience, are a crock. If they had any validity then everyone would be “cured” of all the “disorders” that 20-30% of people suffer from. Be wise and stay away from experts without track records of practical success or science to back up their assumptions.

  4. so happy for reading this. for so many years i was feeling empty, anxious, fearful i was emotionally abused by my peers for two years… i was teased because my name was different, its an African name and yes i am proudly a black African woman… i didnt know why i always felt angry at myself and the people who cared so much about me (most importantly, my mum). At one point i was so depressed and felt suisidal….. This all happened because i let people define me and now i know it was wrong.

  5. Great article.

    I was in an emotionally abusive for AWHILE before I even realized it. Slowly I began to notice that this is not how a relationship should be. It really did a number on me. My ex did everything that this article states. The worst being, the silent treatment. He could go weeks at a time without speaking to me, as with the last spell of the silent treatment, I left him. Packed my bags and moved out. It is incredibly invalidating and beyond rude to blatantly ignore someone because you are upset for sometimes, reasons unknown, or unsaid. People deserve the basic decency of conversation when in a romantic relationship. I reached the end of my rope. “No more,” I said.

    These people usually get worse over time. He was never wrong and always blamed me for everything. Was very much missing an empathy chip. It was always “You made me do that.” One day he threw my things out and told me “You made me do that.” I told him, “No, you CHOSE to do that and I am done with this entire situation.”

    It’s been years since I left him and I haven’t had a proper relationship since. I am terrified of ever becoming involved in that dynamic again. So until I feel myself ready, I do not want to be in a relationship with anyone.

  6. I would be very interested in reading your article. I answered “yes” to every single one of these questions with regard to my mother. I used to think everyone had similar relationships with their mother, at least at times.

  7. I have had my share of verbal and emotional abuse. We are both Christians but I am convinced that my partner has some unresolved issues, probably from his childhood, from what I have gathered and uses every opportunity to belittle and cast blame. I try to let him know how I feel but he always finds a way to cast the blame on me. I would love our marriage to work. It has been nearly 33 years and 3 beautiful children. Any advice?

    • Ana, I found myself in your shoes. It took 10 years for it to sink in that my sister was right 10 yrs ago regarding me being abused emotionally. This is not recognized in the “Christian” circles we were in. If it was not physical or intentional, it was not abuse. CROCK! I finally found the strength to leave in spite of all the social pressure against it. For me it took landing in the hospital for 3 days with dizziness, being evaluated for heart problems and MS over the next month. Between loosing my balance and tendonitis, bursitis and other issues in my one heal, he was upset at me for not wanting to go out walking with him. It was “all in my head”, I was “too lazy” to do anything other than sit. Forget I almost fell several times and was in pain. Within days of deciding to leave, I was better and only had a few “dizzy days” since and those were days of very stressfull events. I still fight the tendonitis. My blood pressure is at the lowest it has been in years. I am not ready to change meds yet but I expect to in a few months.

      I am sorry to say that we can not change them. They have to want to make changes for themselves. I know I was enabling his behavior by not putting a stop to it earlier. The only way I coud stop it was by leaving. In the process, I lost all my church friends. I am struggling financially. I would not go back for anything.

      Good luck on your journey. It will be hard but as a human, you deserve so much better than what you have had.

  8. I recently lost primary custody of my two boys to my ex-husband. He is a genuine narcissist, EXTREMELY SO, and he and his wife both verbally and emotionally abuse my boys. They are 14 and 9 years old, and the collateral damage they have and will suffer breaks my heart!
    I wish more people were aware of these dangers, in my case the judge, as I believe they cause as much damage as physical abuse. Thanks for letting me vent!

  9. …So…what should you do if you think this is happening to you?

  10. I am in the 22nd year of my marriage. There is no doubt he is emotionally abusive. My daughtr is 16. Thinks a world of her Dad. dont want to hurt her, but cant take it anymore.please help

  11. Abuse is a narrow piercing beam of light pinning the victim in a shroud of darkness. Its needles reek of degradation, humiliation & pain. We are aware of the signs, we sense the tension, anger overlays the walls like a cracked & peeling coat of paint. Then the inevitable explosion ensues, continuing to shock us despite its familiarity. Yet to move left or right, forward or back is to be overwhelmed by a world of senseless disparity.
    And so, in a space created as ‘safe’ no one enters, the evil is pushed into a different realm, until it ceases…for the moment. He will never find the door in..but I cannot seem to find the exit.

    • Your words aptly describes the pain of emotional abuse. It is an overwhelming experience that is a torrent that floods one over, unleashing nature’s fury. The muddy, swirling waters surround you and you feel trapped, not sure where to go. The damage is still there, even when the abuse is gone, lingering and festering like an open wound.

      But over time, there is an exit, a healing that occurs with natural disasters and emotional abuse. One learns, becomes stronger and swims on to better times. The person on the other end, the one that caused the pain, however, is left with a greater pain that does not heal so well and may take a lifetime to revive.

  12. HI I got out of a 15yr abusive relationship and my child and I stayed with a friend(male)for both money and school reasons. If we went somewhere and someone started to talk to me he was right there like I was his. Their job takes them away 80% of the time. I was working 2 jobs and raising my child plus doing all outside work that needed to be done. I told him I wasn’t ready for a relationship right after my divorice but he continued to push I gave in and life has been hell.
    I am also his power of attorney for while he is away every time I try to protect his rights and freedom he argues with me and then when he gets screwed over and plays the poor little me. I ask him what he thinks about something and he will tell me one thing or say nothing at all and then I say my opinion and he will say yeah that’s how I feel even if its the complete opposite of what he first said or he always tells me I am right all the time. I’m not always right and make lots of mistakes. I ask him how something looks on me and I want an honest opinion he will tell me it looks good (this is on everything)my child stopped me from going out the door because an outfit made me look like a slut. I no longer work. When I talk to him on the phone and try to let him go he says no no no I can talk now and if I go anywhere I need to tell him every detail which in turn he might go and tell whomever when it is none of their business. when I first moved here I had a SUV but had go somewhere further away for work and he let me use his truck while I was one someone had messed with my SUV I told him which police to call (because my ex was stalking me) and instead he called someone not even in our county who knew nothing about what was going on and there was nothing I could do. Every time he has heard something about me he has told me and now I am to the point I don’t even like to go out of the house. I have gain 70lbs and just feel so ashamed of myself anymore that I don’t even want people to see me. I know it is abusive and when I try talking to him about it all I get is I know and your right. I hate it and yes sometime I do yell saying I’m not always right I just feel stuck and in a worse place then I started. thanks for listening.

  13. I dated this guy for three years, going on four, and i’ve never been treated this bad in my entire life! The funny thing was, i kept telling myself it wasn’t emotional abuse until i came upon this article. He tells me i’m always wrong, i don’t understand anything, i don’t live in the real world, that i’m cheating on him, i’m self centered and selfish, and doesn’t hold back on bitch or slut.
    Then of course i break up with him, and for some reason he just quits trying. No texts, no calls, no sudden show-ups. Nothing. So yeah, i always crawl back to him. I say “you haven’t texted me, you don’t miss me at all?” Usually no response.
    But for some reason, he says “you’re gonna leave anyway, but i just want you to know i love you.” Recently, i’ve felt the insane urge to just get up in his face, and say “Fu** you.” And walk off. And i NEVER curse. Ever.
    We broke up two weeks ago, and in a desperate attempt to talk to him, i called him and hung up, just so i could say it was an accident? What? I love the guy, ok? It’s hard to just drop it. Anyway, we got to talking- last night, i was asking him if he even cared for me(him saying i’m beautiful he loves me blah blah..)…then all of the sudden “I know this is random..but i’m really turned on.”
    Ok…seriously? What am i? What do you expect me to do? We weren’t even dating, and yet you expect me to just get up walk over and have sex with you?
    I blocked him, deleted him, etc.
    i am still in shock, but at least it’s over.
    I miss the nice guy i knew two years ago,i really do. This new version of him sucks.
    By the way, i’m 19 and haven’t had sex. I don’t plan to until marriage. But he relied on me a lot to “get relief”.

  14. I’ve read each one of your thoughtful and emotionally honest comments. Even though I’m not able to respond to each one, I’m glad that this focused article was able to bring awareness to the subject. Be encouraged and equipped to deal with any further abuse by staying as emotionally detached as possible (this grows over time the more you do it) and do not be baited by any of the attempts by the abuser. I would recommend that when you encounter one of the signs, tell the abuser in a neutral voice that you won’t allow the behavior (name it specifically) and you will only speak to them when their speech does not contain abusive material. Just as a child during a tantrum, they may get angrier but hold onto your clear boundaries of protection. Find people and things that bring you joy and peace instead of spending time with people that don’t respect you.

  15. Wow…What does it mean if, regarding a certain person in your life, you can answer every one of those questions with a ‘yes’? I am actually kind of horrified right now after seeing this. It makes me even more certain that I need to exclude this person from my life from now on.

  16. i have answered yes to all of these signs, my husband is now doing it to our eldest daughter, also trying to detatch her from her siblings, it has made me realise that i need to divorce this so called love, in order to save my children

  17. so im sat here with a certain numbness
    got 2 kids 8yrs and 8 months 2 diff fathers who have both abused me physically and emotionally still with the youngest dad. first thought is do I attract abusive men ? is it me because I nag n nag till my opinion is heard ? fell prg really quickly in second relationship all was good for a little while honeymoon period was over with a bang, got in an argument one night and got a cup of water thrown over my face to calm me down apparently, he has secret accounts still talking to loads of girls should that bother me well yes it did. Told not to buy expensive food as a waste of money but I like my cathedral cheese n rosy wine that was me. so here I am preggers maybe he will change, yeah after he locks me in the house when I want to leave, we get our own place together constant arguing am loosing control of my money, he is always picking on my son or criticising he is spoilt, blows money on stupid ideas, I cook clean and even make the effort in the bedroom department not taking off my clothes but taking off my confidence its on the floor, he txts other girls agin have I stopped being good enough I gave him everything I could love, affection an ear for his endless list of problems in return for mascara stained pillows with my endless tears. finally snapped n stood up for myself and he grabbed me by wrists n pushed me when 32 wks preg so social work got him out the house, have rebilt part of my life and through extensive work with services he was willing to try and change, I should of got out but I wanted to bring out the good in him, fix him and still love my kids cause im strong enough, 8 months on the cracks appear again the control is still there except this time im my own woman but he still has hold of me through his daughter, im robbed again of my confidence my past is dragged out, im a slut and bad mum I should be gratefull as it was him who signed the house to me etc. I used to cry now I don’t even do that I escape in my head to my wee place where I imagine me and the kids, a good wee job and we are happy. Just nd to get that strength n do it

  18. I am not married to my daughter’s father. We share custody. I can see him emotionally abuse her but there is nothing I can do because of the custody arrangement. I know kids sometimes exaggerate, but the stuff she tells me and the comments I hear…I don’t know what to do. I tried to get her to see a psychologist but her father wouldn’t allow it. Any ideas?

  19. I liked this article and I can presently relate. For many years in my younger days I was physically abused and finally broke the cycle in my mid 30’s. Now I am in my 50’s and with a emotionally/mentally abusive person that humiliates me, degrades me, screams at me and controls me. This really started after we got married 2 months ago (fun huh?). Sometimes I feel like I am going to lose my mind because I try to get away from him but he just follows me everywhere. Now he is blaming me for everything and saying its all my fault and I say its both our faults to try and defuse him. It doesn’t work.

  20. I live with a mentally abusive father. I’m old enough to move out but I have no savings right now because I lost my job so I came back to live with him. He has gotten worse in his behavior especially towards my sister in-law. My youngest sister just agrees with everything he says so he doesn’t do much to her. My sister in-law has a son she doesn’t know how to raise but she’s trying her best. My brother doesn’t do much of anything with the child but my dad lets him. My dad attacks my sister in-law on everything she does. He is far too harsh and uses a majority of the things on this site.
    What I’m really worried about is the affect he has had on me. Until my sister in-law came around I had always been his favorite target. I just believed everything he said until I met a great guy that has made me realize I wasn’t worthless… until we get in a fight. I become my dad when I’m mad. It really hit me when my boyfriend pointed out that I said something my dad always says. It broke my heart when he said “I just hope you don’t start treating me like your dad treated you.” The fact that he even has to think that is wrong. I promise to better myself because no one can be perfect but that doesn’t give you the right to not improve yourself where you can.

  21. I’m being abused mentally by my ex boyfriend . And he’s not alone. He has his new friends that only a few knows about. They play on my phone I keep getting my phone number changed and they keep getting the new number every time. They scare away new friends that I try to find a reach out to. They have away into my house when I’m not there. They leave little things around in side my home to let me know that they were there. And they abuse my two cats. I had three cats all together, they killed the one with some kind of of poison but I don’t know what kind. They hack into my cell phone. And listen into my phone calls and watch my text messages. And then call up the people that I’m trying to comuticate with, and tell them bad things about me to scare them away from me. And it works. I can’t go to the police because they made sure that I can’t. I’m tired of living like this. What can I do?

  22. I was reading this articled because I felt a parent might be emotionally abusing me and all of these questions describe them. I’m incredibly depressed, have no self confidence anymore, and I honestly feel trapped. What should be my steps to getting away?

  23. After reading all these I feel all the more confused about my relationship. I have been with this man 10 years, we haven’t wedded yet but in our culture people still regard that as a marriage. I had a ten-year old daughter when we met. We have three more kids together. I have taken this long to realize I have been being emotionally abused. Part of me still denies it. He controls me, doubts me, sometimes called me names such as prostitute. He once told me am a lousy mom and have never forgotten. He rarely admits wrongs, rarely apologizes,criticizes my friends, and keeps talking about past mistakes that I apologized for already. They have never agreed with the first born and at first I blamed my daughter but now I realize she is a better judge of character and just knows exactly who he is.He has been accused by nannies of approaching them for sexual favours but he has denied vehemently and blamed me for believing them. He has a past failed marriage that lasted 20 years. He quit his job 8 years ago without consulting and the family has gone through financial strain since. I realize have been working too hard not to be like his EX PLEASE ADVISE I feel lost, trapped and confused.

  24. Hello all. It seems most comments are husband/wife abuse but mine was my daughters. Both are abusive and I am now estranged from both. The younger
    started later being abusive. I had thought we had a pretty good relationship and when she first became distant, hateful, I thought it was an isolated event. Later after she married and moved away, she was the same way when I visited. I visited anyway to see my grand child. Later when she was getting divorced, she called needing my help with the children so I basically move to live with her across country. Because she needed me she was warmer but it didn’t last and after she got her divorce she wanted to sell her house . she began criticising me and giving me silent treatment and dirty looks not saying why. Then one day screamed at me that she wanted me out of her house and she would give me money to help me start over. She never did. I went back to my home state and started over, found work and an apartment. I miss my grand children but do not want to be around her again., unless she can get help and stop being abusive. My other daughter also I do not want to be with because she is verbally abusive and uses me only. I was abused all my life by siblings and my mother also, Didn’t realize it at the time, just knew it hurt. I am emotionally happy with my life now but wish I could include them because of my grand children who my daughters use as a pawn. I have much better relationships with my sons. Thanks for reading.

  25. Hi, can someone please give me some advice about the situation I am in. I am living at home with my dad, and we often argue. The arguments are always about things I am doing wrong, or perceived negatives within my character. We are both guilty of becoming very angry, but I have started to think his behavior is abusive. He mocks me for withdrawing, doesn’t let me leave the situation by following me to my safe places, and constantly tells me that negatives in his life are my fault (stress at work, lack of money, supossed deppression). He plays the victim, yet is capable of extremely hurtful things (he once controlled everything about my life for a day because I called him controlling (he does control me), including saying whether or not I could go to the bathroom. He also once told me to get out of the car on a motoray and walk home, only to force me back in after 10 paces, as a humiliation tactic). Can someone please tell me what I can do? I am completely financially dependant on him at the moment, and I can’t move out under my own terms because he will withdraw money, and my job isn’t a big enough source of income to sustain me. help?

    • Anon, is there any way that you can find a roommate to split expenses with? Also, could you take a second job? I think the worst thing about emotional abuse is that it is so exhausting that it makes it difficult to find options. But you have them. Try reading and meditating. If nothing else, you can do deep breathing. Also, consider combining strategies. Ex., get roommate, second job and apply for food stamps. Perhaps a nearby church would have a food bank that you could use on occasion. There is a website called that is I a roommate matching service. Leave the house to go for a walk, a park, or the library. Reach out for support from friends or church members, etc. try to build a strong support system. Good luck.

      • Thank you, all good advice. I will try.

  26. Married 32 yrs. Very unhappy n lonely. My husband is often verbally abusive to me. If he doesn’t like something I feel or am trying to explain, he tells me to f-off. In front of friends or in church life group, he constantly corrects things I say, like I don’t know my own words. He says he is always right, I’m always wrong. We both work demanding jobs but he does almost nothing to help around the house. He comes home n sits in front of tv, always his shows, while I come home n have all the housework. He will hand wash his own dishes, n does his laundry n sometimes takes out trash, mow’s and nothing else. I’m also 85% raising a medically challenged 8 yr old grandson. He has belittled, corrected me, teased me even though I’ve told him how much it hurts, for 32 yrs. He starts projects n never finishes, leaving the home repairs undone. He is cheap. He buys whatever he wants New, changes tv’s, computers, cells often n graciously offers me the old ones. I haven’t bought new clothes in many years, I buy at resale or yard shopping-he gets all the stuff he wants, n lots of soda n junk food but then says we’ve bought too much when I get my lunch foods. All my coworkers eat out daily. I brown bag it n he complains about what that costs.he works at a prison n gets to eat free. I’ve been very ill the last 7 months with severe dental issues. I get no sympathy. He hasn’t kissed me in over 25 yrs except a quick peck. Sex life doesn’t exist except maybe every 3 months , sometimes 6 or more. If it weren’t for my grandson needing me, I’ve thought about leaving my husband or killing myself, except I’m a strong Christian n that’s the only thing saving me. I’d suggest counseling but I know he would just blame everything on me.He always has. I dread the day my daughter n grandson move out because they are the only life I have. He even gets mad if I go out with my best friend every3 months to dinner or a movie. He has 1 friend who lives an hour away. He sees him maybe once a year. He is content to be married to HIS tv show n barely says 5 words to me every evening. Is there any hope? I have no one. Our pastors all seem to like him, he puts on a fake show at church so I can’t even talk to them…At 56, I feel life on earth is he’ll.

    • I know how you feel. I’ve been married for 30 years and it started very sweet. As soon as we got married there was no honeymoon. Within less than a month he had beat me, and I didn’t know what to do. He beat me and was verbally abusive for the first 17 years. After leaving countless times, he finally got the message, I thought. He stopped beating me but the domination, seclusion and mental abuse kept going and it still is. And because he wasn’t beating me, he was beating my kids and he would tell me they were just as much his as they were mine, so he was free to do it.

      It has always been hard too because I was a teen when I got married. I was 15 when I had my first baby and by 19, I had 3 children, all under 8. I’ve never had a chance to be my own boss. He has told when to do things, or at least he thinks I can’t do anything without his direction. He tells what to buy. He got mad the other day because I bought some plugin air fresheners??? I can’t talk to anyone. If I talk to one of my kids on the phone, he asks what did they want or what did they say? So none of my conversations are personal. If they text me, he reads my phone. I’ve told them to not text me anything they don’t want him to read.

      My son needed surgery and it was not so sure on the outcome. When I told my husband I was going to go to California to be with him he tried every strategy he had to avoid the situation until it was less than a week before and I gave him no options to avoid me. I was determined to go. We went to the beach and I told him I was going with or without his blessing. I wanted him to be ok with me going. And I would remind him how much I hated him everyday if I didn’t get to see my son one last time if something happened to him. I think that’s when he finally realized I wasn’t backing down.

      I think that trip gave me strength to realize I do need him. I didn’t miss him the whole time and I had to fake it that I missed him. I’ve faked other things before but that was kind if different. I missed the cats more than him ๐Ÿ˜ I was talking to my sons mother in law and I told her I felt guilty that I didn’t miss him. She said you know why.

      Keep your head up and when you’ve had enough, you’ll know when it’s time. Life is too short to live a hard life is what I’ve figured out.

  27. Founf this site rreally helpful – so first of all thanks.
    Married >20yrs,2nd time, one child – who was a bit of a surprise!Couple of children from 1st marriage – grown up with own families. Not the perfect husband 1st time round, married too young, provided well for family but played around – eventually met someone else (2nd wife) and moved on leaving a trail of misery behind me and children who ignored me for over 2 yrs – not proud of it but hopefully learnt from it.
    Told 2nd wife about everything, no secrets, no skeletons in the cupboard and have had a really good marriage for 18yrs.
    Couple of yrs back a female colleague sent me 2 text messages jokingly, no relationship – nothing going on. Wife saw the messages put 2 & 2 together and made about 40!Following that the intimacy dropped from our relationship, only I didn’ connect the 2 and despite asking my wife she didn’t tell me it was because of that for over 2 yrs – once we had started counselling sessions.
    After about 12 months I started looking at adult sites on the internet, dating sites, dogging sites – you name it I looked – but only looked.
    Again my wife discovered this and has been unable to forgive me.
    Since then our relationship has just become a disaster area and although I accept responsibility for my actions I now find myself being emotionally bullied – hence why I checked out this site.
    If I had had a relationship or contacted someone on the sites I could get my head around it, but we all make mistakes and I would have liked to think that after over 18 yrs of really happy marriage there would be some level of forgiveness.
    I’m no angel but do love my wife deeply and any comments would be welcome.

  28. I have been in an emotionally abusive relationship for about 13 years now. What I find the hardest thing to deal with is that he says its me that is abusing him. He even got me thinking he was right. Im sat here at work dreading thwe weekend and feel so depressed

  29. Hi there, when I was a kid me and my sister remember a situ that affected us both. As much as we remember it so well we act like it wasn’t the person actually closest to us.. It has damaged my look on men so much and find it hard to trust guys. The current guy I am dating has done so much of your points listed. What keeps me around is the comfort level and his willingness to get counselling which he does 1 a week I know he acts the way he does aka controlling manipulating and often cruel due to his relationship with his mother. I keep thinking after time of getting help he will change… It has hurt my family so much from going back to him so many times which breaks my heart. I’m lost and sad and just wish the guy I fell in love with can figure out the root of his anger and change it… Am I just waiting for content let down??..

  30. When I found this site and read the description of mental abuse, it was almost the complete list. I couldn’t believe it.

    I’ve been married for 30 years For the first 17, I was physically and verbally abused. The rest has been mental and verbal. My husband is the kind of person that has secluded me from my family and doesn’t allow me to have friends. He doesn’t want me to have friends because they will out bad ideas in my head. The seclusion from family includes me not being able to go and see my grown kids when I want to or going to have lunch or coffee with my daughter in laws.

    One of my sons needed a surgery and I wanted to go to be with him because it was a risky situation. My husband would have it. We got down to the last week before the surgery and he finally gave in, but only because I told him that I would hate him and wake up everyday for the rest of my life and remind him that it was his fault that I didn’t get to see my son for the last time, if something happened to him. I wanted his blessing to go – not his permission, but that is more or less what it ended up being. I’ll be 44 and I feel like a little child asking daddy permission to go outside and play

    I went and every time we talked he said “make sure you don’t get too close to any men” because my son is in the Marines and we would have go on base to go shopping.

    He accuses me of cheating on him. My boys couldn’t even bring their friends home because they knew it would cause trouble for me. He is so sick that he has accused me of cheating with guys aged between high school and 60 something. The man has issues. If a man looks at me, he asks me who they are, even though I have no idea who it is. Very suspicious about everything.

    He finds fault in everything I do, or don’t do. Nothing is good enough. Even if it would have been the same thing he would have done, because I did it, it’s not ok. He lost his wallet when we were going to do some work on our house. He put his wallet on top of his car. Later we went to the store and he noticed he lost the wallet. It was my fault because I didn’t want to leave when he was ready so he put the wallet there. What??? My fault??? I didn’t put it on the car so it’s not my fault. He did it. So he can’t accept fault when he does something wrong. Another wallet incident – He put it next to the b-ball hoop at the park. I came to pick him and the boys up because it was getting dark. We got home and he didn’t have his wallet. It was my fault

    I have two weddings coming up and I already know he doesn’t want to go and he’s not letting me go because it’s out of state. I was invited to go dress shopping with the of bride to be and I told him and he just changed the subject like he always does when he doesn’t want to talk about something like this.

    I have many health issues including lupus and fibro that get worse when I’m stressed. He is very nurturing when I’m sick is what i don’t get. Sometimes I wonder if he does it on purpose so that I will need him? That’s another reason I need to do something and fast.

    I’ve came to the conclusion that I’m only going to live once and I’m not happy now. I don’t even feel alive. I just don’t have the financial stability to hold my own and he knows that and is able to manipulate me because of it. Something has to happen soon before I go crazy.

    • Abusers CHOOSE to abuse…one day a frog was placed in a skillet and slowly the heat was turned up until the frog died hence he did not notice until it was too late. Another frog was placed in a very hot skillet and IMMEDIATELY jumped out. REMEMBER THIS: If your gut instinct tells you to get out…GET OUT!!! You will die sick, sad and exhausted. Get a PO box, Personal bank acct (you can start one with 5 dollars…I did) and a Personal Phone. It is called the 3 Ps. Then PLAN a covert escape after seeking help from a domestic counselor that will meet you anywhere ie park, hospital or fast food restaurant. After 36 years, 4 lovely children and 6 grandchildren I filed for divorce the day of our anniversary and blindsided his butt. He was tracking my phone, car and I couldn’t even walk my dogs or work without surveillance. No joke! Be pleasant while planning and engage help from a supportive friend or family member. I left 36 years of pure abusive HELL! A book is forthcoming. His stepmother said I would “get used to it” and his sister said I would “get a gut full one day” and only one was right…NO ONE should ever be told to get used to it! And his stepmom put up with it for nearly 50 years and was ecstatic the day her husband died. True story. Her biggest fear was she would die before him and never enjoy life:( At 78, she is a broken down woman. DON’T let this happen to you…plan the 3 Ps and domestic counselors will arrange for your safety during escape. Only you can leave…no one can do it for you. Take care

  31. Thanks so much for this article. A good friend and confidante has told me for years that she thought my mother emotionally abused me from childhood. I always dismissed it, but after reading this list, just about everything describes our relationship. I’m 22 and don’t live with my parents any longer. I was interested in the discussion of gender roles in emotional abuse – my mother is very much in charge of my parents’ house and was probably the most active emotional abuser, but my dad witnessed most of it and did nothing. My mom was emotionally abused by her mother to a greater extent than she is abusive. She always said she wanted to have a daughter so she could love her just the way she is – I don’t think she thinks of herself as being abusive. My dad knew all of this when I was a child and was still complicit, so he’s the one with whom I’m most angry. In two-parent households, I don’t think there’s always just one abuser.

    • “C” What would you want your dad to do differently? Leave? Where do you think you would be today? With him? It sounds like your mother would have made it impossible for you to have a relationship with your father, using you as a pawn, controlling you. Your mother would have manipulated you into staying with her if you had a choice. Unless you are being physically abused or are in some form of physical danger, not just having a strict parent, actual undeniable abuse, you would NEVER be taken away from the mother. Would you then tell your dad that he abandoned you? Maybe he knew this deep down inside. Maybe he chose the lesser of 2 evils? Maybe it was so he could be in the lion’s den with you, keeping a watchful eye on you, instead of leaving you to be devoured.

  32. Hi. I have been in a relationship with a man for just over a year now. About 3 months into our relationship he started making derogatory comments about my work and my achievements, usually along the lines of “you’re so successful because you have things handed to you. no one ever hands me opportunities.” He also denigrates what I do for a living (even though he is in exactly the same field). A year later, my self-esteem has dropped through the floor. I no longer feel adequate to fulfill the basic requirements of my work, let alone excel at it. I have tried to explain to him how much it hurts when he puts me down, and generally his response is that he’s just expressing the truth. Recently, I’ve become very depressed and he seems genuinely concerned. I’ve told him that if he could just show me some basic kindness it would help, and he seems to be willing to do so, though I haven’t seen it yet. I realize that these are very low standards to set in terms of expectations for how one partner should treat another, but do you think he can truly change? Or will I just have these rare moments of remorse followed by more of the same belittling, degrading, and undermining comments?

  33. I was reading the list of things emotional abusers say/do. I said yes to all but two of them in regards to what my sister had done to me. My sister is 12 years older than myself and my mother allowed her to raise me. She allowed my sister to set punishments, rules, everything. I’m now 46 and am just learning how to live as a productive adult and it is so hard. I’ve cut my family out of my life and am so much healthier for it. The shock of all this still hits me hard.

  34. What I find somewhat outdated and disturbing about this article is this; is that what was identified as “emotional abuse,” is what many individual such as myself have to put into place in defense of living with individuals that exhibit gross dysfunction and oppositional behavior. Talking nice doesn’t work, and I am certainly not going to whimper and walk away with my tail between my legs. I live with all guys and make no mistake about it; somehow evolution and modernization have COMPLETELY eluded these “people” and it has become impossible to raise my son successfully in such an environment without being a tyrant. Unfortunately I am not in a position to just pick up and go, although I have tried to encourage my son to go and live with his dad, but he doesn’t want to, and his dad doesn’t think it’s a good idea because he works long hours. Tyler is 17, and can fend for himself, but he prefers to stay with me. My spouse has MS, and I have something similar but not a firm diagnosis and we met on a message board for people with disabilities. We spoke of his two sons and my one son…they have thru their lives been diagnosed with Tourette’s and Asperger’s,(his two) and mine with ADHD. I chose not to medicate, he did with his my opinion, he probably had less of a choice than I did in this respect. His two are young adults now in their 20’s,(they were 15, 16, and 10 at the time of our meeting), and have indulged in hard drugs and crime and both have lived with us and we have tried to help them and it’s everyone’s fault that they are screw ups expect themselves of course and he is always making excuses for them. The stress is gonna be the death of me. So until I can find a way out of here, lashing out at them and calling them out on their “license” for bedlam I guess I will just have to be labeled the emotional abuser.

  35. Never quit quitting!!!I have heard this before but not about relationships. I have been married 28 years. I am currently going through a divorce but have filed 2 other times. This time I finally feel strong enough.For years I have sought help and shelter from physical abuse but never was the emotional abuse ever dealt with or even mentioned (and the most damaging). I finally can identify what I was going through. That was the missing piece of the puzzle. I am not crazy, HURRAH!!! Now I have understanding, hope, and healing. I know the healing is…S L O W… but so were the many years of conditioning he put me through or emotional torture. I was not allowed family, friends, a phone, the internet. I was completely isolated. I was not allowed to look at him or show any affection. There were so many rules, it was soooo tiring! The neglect and name calling turned to threats, strangulation and suffixation with pillows over my face. The relationship had no place to go on this path of destruction. The children blame me. I had no self esteem and he and the kids despised my weakness.I am finding strength in understanding. You can too, don’t give up!!!

  36. My very best friend called me late last night upset and worked up after her and her boyfriend had another horrible fight. According the the signs listed in this article, she is definitely being psychologically abused. He puts her down, makes fun of her and so on. Last night she finally called it off and broke up with him while he was in a drunken stupor. He went to bed and woke up and remembered nothing. Now she wants to stay with him. But this isn’t the first time he does this to her. It happens often enough.

    I just don’t know what to do. How do I help? Is it my place to help? Now that I’ve finally told her how I feel about it all, she no longer wants to talk to me about it.

    Help! Any words of advice?

    • All you can do is be a good listening because unfortunately she will isolate herself from you if you push her to leave him before she is ready. I know. I did it to my family for years (not proud).

    • Unfortunately, you can’t do anything until she sees it for herself. I was in an emotionally abusive marriage, and it took years and a drastic situation before I saw the need to get out. It gets in a cycle where when things get to the point you think you can’t take it anymore they get better and you think if you don’t upset them they won’t treat you like that. I know it sounds crazy, but when you’re in that situation you don’t understand that it’s not normal.

    • Hi Tessa. Whilst it’s true that a person needs to take control go their own decisions, I can say from experience that it will help if you call it what it is. For a few years I was with an abusive partner and my closest girlfriend did not call it until much later. That is, when I lamented his treatment of me she said he probably loved me in his own way. In retrospect I wish she had said “he is an abuser”. It’s sad that if a person displays physical signs of abuse (black eye. Broken bones, bruises) people find it easier to offer support. but in instances of emotional abuse the victim is often shamed. Telling your friend that she is valued and giving her permission to say no might not turn it around instantly but it will reinforce her rights. When I had boyfriends who treated me badly my mother would say “what did you do wrong” rather than “he doesn’t deserve you” or “he is no good, forget him” or “his loss”. This messaging set up my relationship dynamics and has taken a looong time to change. So if you can, tell her he is a dud and that she doesn’t need to take responsibility for his crap.

  37. I am a 44 year old woman who lives at home with my mother,I walked around for many years thinking everything in her life was my fault,I carry false guilt constantly…She is very emotionally and verbally abusive to me always has been,I realize now after I read your website that IM NOT CRAZY SHE IS ABUSIVE… are there any solutions that I can do?

  38. It has recently been brought to my attention that i am emotionally abusing my wife. I write this as plainly as i can, i need help, i want to change, as cliche as it sounds, i know deep down im not a bad person. I love my wife, whom ive known and practically been with since high school, we are both 29, have a wonderful home, a beautiful son, good jobs and dont want for much in life. I was never abused or anything like that, quite the opposite in fact, being an only child i was spoiled throughout my younger years. I do not want this to be the root cause of my problem…although i can understand the conclusions that can be drawn.
    It all started when i read a few lines of chat my wife had with a colleague, a ‘player’ if you will, it was very flirtatious, i was taken back by this, jealousy kicked in, an inferiority complex was re-ignited and instead of discussing the matter with my wife, i stewed, i let tension build, i boiled.. Days and weeks passed, and my infatuation with this conversation between the two of them grew, i started making a point of ‘checking in’ daily, you see, at first it was more on his part with the flirting, but then my wife began to reciprocate, and why wouldnt she, he was friendly, good looking, gave her attention, an outlet from me. The anger, jealousy and frustration engulfed me, i wanted so much to brush it all off, but a monster inside me took over, i started to doubt everything about myself, confidence shot, i deflected my emotions on to my wife and child. I lost the trust i had for my wife, even after many discussions about the importance of marriage, stability and being a unit, i succumbed, it was a whirlpool of emotion. Without realising it, i had entered a cycle of abuse. Daily checking up, on her phone, emails, social media, looking for something that deep deep down i knew id probably never find. My wife is a wonderful woman, caring, thoughtful, generous and as near perfect as you could hope to find another human, she is my world. Yet i continued to look. And abuse. And look.
    Eventually, as ive realised, if you have a notion so powerful in your head, and you look hard enough, you will find that morsel of ‘evidence’ that you have been craving. A second incident, another colleague, unbeknown to me, a colleague my wife had become more close to, simply for a shoulder to cry on, or a set of ears to vent at, to me, this was another person trying to take her away, capture more of her attention than i currently did. I began to look again, i began to abuse again. Again, the green-eyed monster and frustrations took over my being, and like before if i looked hard enough i was bound to find something, anything, an atom of hope that i wasnt making all this up, that wasnt to blame, the guilt would be more insufferable than the any previous negative emotion. So, as before, the checks began, daily, hourly, when she left the room for the bathroom. I found something, more so because i was looking for it than anything else, a conversation of innuendo, that lead to more graphic texts, i felt sick, i felt like the victim, i felt anger. This, after a miserable few days and some discussion, where my wife did apologise to me for the nature of these messages, was put into context for me. I know, i really genuinely know, i can and should trust my wife, she is flirty by nature, but i married her, all of her, and i am by no means without my flaws and she still loves me for it..
    I want to change, i know im a better man than this, my wife deserves it, as does my son.

  39. I didn’t know I was being emotionally abused until I read this article also. I am only 13 and my father has been emotionally abusing for quite some time now, that I really think about it. Whenever I’d felt I’d accomplished something he’d put me down, saying what I had done wasn’t enough. For example, when I’d take my exams home if be proud of myself for getting (for example) an 80% and really hoping he’d acknowledge me and be proud of me too. Though it was never enough, he’d yell at me and call me names, using my own friends against me to show how bad my scores were compared to everyone else. It’s not just the exams that sets him off. When I do things without his permission, going to a friend house, going out and even simply going on the computer! He is extremely restrictive of what I do. He not only emotionally abuses me, but also my mother. He yells at her complaining about how she let me do all these things without discussing it with him first. Sometimes things would get out of hand and the emotional abuse would get physical. He’d hit me if I tried standing up for myself and talking back, saying I tyres my hardest and did all I could. He’d hit me, and when my mother tried stepping in, he’d hit her too. I haven’t told anyone about the abuse out of fear of what might happen to me if he found out. School Is the only place that I feel safe, with friends to comfort me and teachers to helps out. I love my father (he is family after all) but things really get out of hand and so most of the time I don’t like my father at all. I really hope that one day this will all changes and he’d love me for who I am and be proud if my successions.

    • Dear Ari, please tell someone you trust that your Dad is abusing you. If you don’t, I’m afraid the abuse will continue and only get worse. The only way your Dad will understand what he is doing to you is hurtful and wrong, is when he has to face up to the knowledge that other people know what he has done, and that others will keep an eye out for you and step in if he does this again. Unfortunately I have many years experience of an extremely abusive Dad, who would always say he was sorry but then do it again and again. My family would threaten me that if I told anyone that I would cause the family to be broken up, and my Dad who was a high ranking Police Officer, would lose his job, so I never told anyone. Massive mistake! I have paid over and over again with my mental health, because I didn’t take care of myself and put my abusive family’s wishes before my own. You need to protect yourself and get help! Good luck and learn from your painful experience, by not allowing anyone to behave abusively to you, only spend your precious time with people who truly care and respect you! You are worthy of being loved and supported. I was determined to find a decent, kind and emotionally intelligent man, who became my wonderful loving husband and we have 3 amazing children, who have a fantastic patient father. X

  40. Fri i had enough of my bf that i was going to marry in august. I didnt know what emotional abuse was until now. He would always say things quitly and calm as can be. I would put makeup on and he would argue with me saying im trying to get attention from my coworkers. I was going to make plans to go to the flea market with two other women and he said no i can only hang out with him and other couples def no single women. When I got my job he made sure he got one there to and followed me around the warehouse making sure im not talking to no body. I had to train a women at my job and he said ( what you got something going on with her) AM I BEING PARANOID OR IS THAT SOME KIND OF ABUSE?

    • Noo chick there is nothing normal about his behavior. ….RUN!

  41. I have been in a soul destroying situation with the same man now for going on 30 years. I met him at the age of 3 or 4. Grew up playing in the sandbox with him. Moved away with my family at age 11 and didn’t see him again until my father died when I was 22. We swore eternal love and started a long distance relationship. I fell madly, obsessively in love. Kept flying across country to see him. Lost my virginity to him at age 26. During this time he was heavily into drugs and sleeping around. I knew about the drugs, suspected the screwing around but could not prove it and he always denied it, kept swearing he loved me. I told myself these women were not important to him and were throwing themselves at him because he was so physically attractive. I got my heart smashed when he hooked up with and married a chick from the office who was willing to do drugs with him. I recovered somewhat and got on with my life. She left him and contacted me and asked for forgiveness. I forgave. He hurt me again when he impregnated another woman, also a drug abuser like himself. This time I got over my addiction to him and neither saw or spoke to him for eight years. Fast forward, my mother’s death and he shows up at her funeral. Consoles me. Tells me he loves me. Wants me back in his life. And he continues to withdraw and pull me back in with promises of eternal love and assurances that we are “soul mates”. I realize my addiction to him is partly because he is so much like my beloved, alcoholic, narcissistic mother. At the age of 54 he is the only man I have slept with. He is seductive and manipulative. People have told me my entire life that I am gorgeous, smart, funny. You know what folks?? I have the word DUMB ASS CODEPENDENT next to my photo in the dictionary. I have spent a small FORTUNE on psychotherapy since 1986. I feel stupid, useless and without hope. My entire adult life has been spent in this hopeless, painful obsession. Thanks for listening and letting me vent my emotional pain here.

  42. I was in a relationship about a year ago only for about three months.He emotionally abused me day after day.Putting me down constantly and degrading me in front of others.I really did love him though.We broke up and I miss him still everyday,I don’t know why either…He did and said some horrible things to me.He never once heard me out.Why do I want him back and why do I miss him when he broke up with me!Its been almost a year and I’m still in the same place.Any suggestions?i just need to know why I miss a person so much when he belittled me every single day.๐Ÿ˜ž

    • Sometimes it is because it is all you know….and it is almost a “comfortable” and familiar situation. I was in a 6 year emotionally abusive relationship and we have a son in common so he continues to do his best on me whenever he can.

      Emotionally abusive ppl know what buttons to push and they aim to push them. Theres nothing wrong with you missing a past lover, it’s natural. You need to remind yourself why he isn’t worth anymore of your time. Don’t let someone who hurt you take any more time away from your life, it is now in your hands and it is a learning experience for you to remember what warning signs to be conscious of if and when you meet another man. Not many of us take rejection well, but it is part of life. Remind yourself that your happiness is just as important as your partner’s and if they aren’t reciprocating then it is time to make a change.

      I hope this helped.

  43. I have lived with a mother who was completely controlling and emotionally abusive towards me. I would have to give yet the silent treatment because she would cause arguments over nothing. The family always said stay quiet. She always threatened subsidise if things didn’t go her way or if you got upset with her. So my point is this research is wrong not everyone who gives the silent treatment is emotionally avusive. Some are at the end of it trying to find a way out

  44. Would love a copy…

  45. My quick tempered husband has always ran his mouth and put people down. We never could agree on disciplining the children, because he was quick to lash out. He always ran his mouth to people outside the immediate family. When I tried to find my voice he would yell louder and throw a bigger temper tantrum. Unfortunately my daughter has taken after him. When my daughter and I try to discuss things my husbands intervenes, always siding with my daughter. I am always made out to be the bad person. Now I am sitting on the sidelines, as my daughter just gave birth to our first grandchild. She let it be known loud and clear that she didn’t want visitors and didn’t like people and the new parents wanted to be left alone. Yet, the other grandmother has many visits, because she called and asked to see the child. I don’t feel like asking or seeing the child because the first time I did I was given dirty looks, I’ll remarks and basically got the feeling I wasn’t wanted there. The second visit was to intensive care unit to see my grandson. I thought there would be a looking window, but quickly found out there wasn’t. My daughter came out and said, my being there made her feel bad having to tell me to leave, to call ahead and make an appointment before you just come to the hospital. I didn’t know that, but the other grandparents did know, as they made it into the intensive care unit. The joy has been taken out of this milestone for me. My daughter always seems to push me out of the important events in her life, then I am made out to be the person who is the oddball. I am not going to continue on witn this cycle. I do not want to be seen in this light, as the one who gets the angst directed at them in times of stress. I want our relationship worked out before I see my grandson, otherwise it will continue with him.

  46. Hi everyone. I was in a six-year emotionally abusive relationship and left with my son in January of 2012. Since then, I have continued to utilize therapy and I have my now five-year old son in play therapy on a weekly basis.

    The father is the worst kind of influence, master manipulator, pathological liar, unemployed, reckless, addicted to his opiate medications, and I strongly believe he is emotionally abusing my son. Whenever he comes back to me from his father’s visitation it takes him a good 24 hours to settle in to the rules and expectations I have always held consistently in my household and I remain very patient during that adjustment.

    Lately, things are getting worse and he reminds me of his father more and more. No one will listen to me who has power to do anything and CPS has proven to be a joke with this kind of situation.

    Can anyone out there relate or have any advice as what I may not know?? I have bought books about parents separating and about feelings and I try very hard to let him do the talking and not pry.

    Thank You – Kim

  47. I usually never post comments anywhere. But my husband found this article and pointed out to me that this is exactly what I’ve been going through with my mom my whole life. It was a revelation for both of us, as we’ve been trying desperately to deal with my mom and her husband. Everything written here is what I have experienced. I can’t get into the details, but I want to thank you for this article, it will really change my life. Years of therapy couldn’t get me here. I can stop thinking I’m crazy. Other articles don’t get at the heart of it, and focus more specifically on abusive romantic relationships. Keep up the good work. I think there is so much of this in the U.S. that goes undetected, especially among alcoholics.

    • Hi, I have read your comments and totally agree. I too have searched the Internet to find the right information that fits my problem. And yes most information tends to be centred around couple relationships or children. I wanted something that my 76 year old father and 54 year old sister fit into. The psychology and reasoning behind their cruel nastiness. I too find it enlightening that I have found what I am looking for.

  48. Hi, Your symtoms in the article reflect my life. Met a Great guy in midlife. We connected. He was so kind, sweet, charming. After 2 years we were married. It was great. We were best friends. After five years of marriage he changed. I was so confused at first. Just couldn’t understand what happened. Now I can do no right. He is judgemental. He treats me like a dumb child. He won’t talk to me anymore.Everything always comes back to my fault. I have never seen anything like it. Its hurtful.His logic Makes no sense. I truly do not matter. If i initiate sex, he can’t do it. If I waited for him to intiate sex, he didn’t. He was waiting for me too. Now he says it is all me, I just shy away from phisical contact. I had finger shaped bruises on my boobs and shoulder this summer. His solution to the problem is to grab me, and man handle me. I try to talk to him, to understand. But I see nothing to understand. He continually tells me how much he loves me, but i don’t see it. Love is kind. Love is good. Love doesn’t hurt. I lost my job due to cutbacks. I apply everywhere i can for anything i might be able to do. I never have money. I never have a vehicle to use. Just stuck.

  49. I feel like I’m really not okay. From engaged to him (just a week or two ago) breaking off all contact with me after I visited family for “too long” (left out a bunch of abuse in between). I’m not going back like a dog to someone who would do this to me, and the things that came before only make what he’s doing worse. I’ve done nothing but care about him and be supportive; now it seems like he only ever just said words. I don’t feel he ever loved me so like others have mentioned, shouldn’t I be happy that someone who only makes me feel terrible about myself and life in general is gone? Instead, I’m not functioning. And I’m tired of trying to get help. I was active, vibrant, happy, successful, and now I literally can’t do anything.

  50. I guess my question is, how do you make your abuser see what they are doing? Most of my family will not come over anymore because of the way he talks to me. Neighbors will avoid going out or socializing with us together. I feel like I’m being isolated to only having him which is not good as I lost my self control over his behavior and punched him. Needless to say that was our first and hopefully only physical encounter as he weighs more than a 100lbs than me. He wants nothing to do with my family and blames me for them not wanting to socialize anymore. I try to tell him that if family, friends, and neighbors all say the same thing then there must be something there. He just says that that he doesn’t care. My wanting of interaction with others seems to have no significance. I’m sick of feeling isolated and put down. What can I do?

    • Dear Hurt, One thing I had to come to terms with was I could not MAKE my husband see anything. I, too, became socially isolated. If he wanted to do something, I was supposed to be very enthusiastic about doing it but if it was my idea, it did not happen. After several years of martial arts training from an instructor my husband approved of (his other job was being a pastor), I realized that the only way to get what I wanted was to manipulate my husband into thinking it was his idea. That was too low for me. I started recording when I wanted things, when he did, times he said one thing and did the opposite, etc. I thought I was going nuts by what he was saying until I could document it.

      I had to get out and make my own friends without him. To do that, I needed to separate from him. It was a very hard decision and I am living with some major side effects of it but over all, my mental health is much better and it is worth it. I wish you well in your journey.

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