Signs of Emotional AbuseEmotional 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.

277 Comments to
Signs of Emotional Abuse

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  1. I have been in a mental abusive marriage for 10 years now, he mentally abuse my older child as well (who is from my previous marriage) we have 2 children together. He manipulates everyone to believe he is the right one, I feel helpless since I don’t have any family around me, not to mention, my husband doesn’t like my family and nor my native country! I need some help!!!!!

  2. iv been in this situation for almost seven years plz send me yo letter,and wish yu goodluck

  3. I’ve been in a relationship for 6yrs w/ a emotionally detached partner. We have 2 kids together & all he tells me is i’m lucky I’m not physically abused & have mothing to cry about. I’ll give u an ex of what I’m going through. My friend wants me to go to Miami for her Bday. When I told him, he goes nuts saying I probably am up to no good, & we can have an open relationship. I was angry 7 we start shoving each other. Now is the silent treatment unless he wants me to feed him. Then as I leave for work he cls me to change my child, telling me I always leave the child soiled when I leave, which is far from true but it hurts. We argue I cry & he could care less. This is just 1 of many situations wher I’m upset but he never cares or tries to work it out w/ me & i FEEL LIKE WHEN i GIVE IN IT JUST A CYCLE TO REPEAT

  4. My husband’s dad does all of these things to him. He is afraid to do anything on his own because of it. It breaks my heart. I want to find a way to help him recover from this.

  5. My best friend has finally found the courage to break from an emotionally abusive and controlling marriage. She is a ghost of the person she used to be. depressed, blaming herself, feeling worthless, unattractive, currently having a hard time dealing with how she was treated. I am trying desperately to get help for her, please read her story at youcaring ‘help Traci and her daughter start over’

  6. This could be divided into different categories. There’s emotional abuse between married couples, emotional abuse between couples before marriage (which like married couples, though I’ve no experience there, may be hard to break off, too,) there’s emotional abuse from parents to young children/ adolescents, etc. There’s all sorts, all sorts of possible sources and consequences, and all sorts of individualized symptoms. Each should be specified, and for the sake of the victims of the less occurring and/or less researched emotional abuse categories, more research should be done so that the nature of their situation may more easily be identified and dealt with. More would be better that way.

  7. Why is it a picture of a
    Male is the always screaming abuse, just
    Spent 7 years in an emotional abusive
    Relationship . And it was a FEMALE that
    Was the abuser, reading the traits of an
    Emotional abuser my x fits all traits except
    One ( control of money ) . We men also
    suffer

  8. Emotionally abused by mother, husband till divorce and last relationship. Not wishing to play the victim but why do I keep getting sucked in to these types of destructive relationships?
    My mind is taking a real battering

  9. I think I’m being emotionally abused. whenever I have a problem. my mom gets mad at me and when the water heater at my house goes out, my dad makes me wait a LONG time before he relights it. also he’s what I call a clutterbug. he has a LOT of stuff cluttering up the house. he has a hoarding problem and forces me and my mom to live with it. I also think he never wanted me. the way I’m treated tells me loud and clear I was NOT wanted. I think his parents forced him into marriage and parenthood. forcing any living thing to reproduce is definitely emotional abuse. I’ve used profanity a lot because of the problems. I really wish I could get out of this human body I’m trapped in and become a flying pyroraptor. then I’d be free from all of those nasty problems

  10. Hello. I am very interested in reading your paper. I am 25 years old. The last seven years i have been physically and emotionally abused by my partner that i have two children with. When i was 15 i got pregnant by another man that physically abused me and i was also abused by my father until i was 17. But t the relationship in in now that involves emotional abuse as well has been the hardest to break from . I have no where to go. No way to support my children if i go. He reminds everyday that i have a history of abuse so i deserve it. I feel like giving up. I don’t know what to do.

  11. the emotional abuse is getting worse. my dad does not even want me to use any hot water at all except for the 12 gallon electric water heater in our kitchen. he says the 50 gallon gas powered water heater in our basement is for baths only and not for hand washing. I think he wants to lower my quality of life just because he never wanted me. I think the reason he is so mean is because he has crohn’s disease and that has made him mean. I wish he would just move out to a home of his own. I am 100% sure his parents forced him into marriage and parenthood. I wish I could become a flying pyroraptor and fly away from all of that nasty abuse and go to sesame street or dragonland or maybe even narnia

  12. I dealt with mental abuse for 18 years. In public he was the kindest man. He portrayed the perfect husband an father to the outside world. I could never ha e the house clean enough, my body wasn’t perfect. He wore my self esteem down to nothing. I worked full time but had to ask permission to buy anything.

    I felt so free after my divorce. I met a man that gangs up on me if we disagree an he goes silent for weeks on end. I have decided I will be my own Valentine today an BREAK free of these type of men.

    No one deserves to be treated like they are nothing.

  13. Hi I answered yes to almost every question. How do we fix this I have been married for 25 years Its been rocky for most of those years Iv left so many times I don’t have an income that I can support myself on He is a serious bully He controls every fibre of my being. I am not allowed an opinion He can not make a decision on his own but will fly off the handle if I don’t agree with his opinion

    How do we fix this How do I move forward?? Im so tiered Im finished

  14. this makes me really sad reading this. my wife tells me she does not love me and controls every aspect of my life. I have a disability and was not working when she me. She tells me she should sell the car I drive and put me back in a rusty old vehicle like I came in to the relationship with. She tells me I will end up homeless. In nine years of our relationship together I am constantly belittled. I hide tears because she will mock me, she will go, “oh look at the little boy did someone point out what an idiot he is, is that what hurts the little baby”. The abuse is constant and I do not know what to do. She holds all the cards. She tells me I have ruined all her relationships. This is even with people I have never met or spoken too. I don’t think I am perfect. I take responsibility for my behaviour when I am not appropriate. However I have never called her a name or belittle or minimized her feelings. I just needed to vent. Thanks J

  15. Hey Everyone.
    So I can tell from this article and many others that I’m pretty much in an emotionally abusive relationship. My mother, father, and some of my friends have expressed their concern for me and want me to get out of the relationship. I am tempted to agree with them but I’ve also spoken with my boyfriend about it. He has a lot of problems of his own and that’s probably the reason he treats me the way he does sometimes. He has since sought out help for his own problems which helped our relationship and him a lot but did not solve everything. After seriously talking to him about the abuse and letting him know how it makes me feel, he has already starting working on improving our relationship and wants to keep working on it. Since then, his emotionally abusive patterns have decreased SIGNIFICANTLY. However, because of the previous abuse I’ve developed depression and become quite the manipulator myself. Sometimes I even act extremely codependent with him and others. I’m seeking help for these issues and so far it’s going well. He cares deeply for me and is supporting me as I go through counseling to get better. I feel like we could actually make it work as things have been improving. Am I wrong to think this way? Would it be better if I just leave?

  16. I have been in a relationship with my partner for over 3 years and we have a one year old boy together. He is emotionally abusive towards me daily and has been physically abusive many times, even throwing me around when I was pregnant and he has done it in front of our son. He denies ever laying a finger on me and honestly believe a this to be true so he insists I’m lying. He puts me down all the time saying I can’t doing anything for myself and would never survive withouy him. He says I have no brain cells left and make a out I’m stupid all the time. Although he doesn’t put down my appearance, he does put down everything else so I don’t feel as confident as I did. He gets angry at the smallest things and everything is always my fault. Because I stay at home to look after out son and he works, he says I’m lay and thinks I should be grateful he is putting a roof over my head. When we argue I’m always scared he is going to hit me or throw me around. I hate feeling scared and upset all the time. I feel like I hate my life and find myself crying very often. I don’t want to feel sad all the time because I don’t want my son to pick up on it, I try and stay happy for him but I am worried all of this will affect him later. I don’t know what to do because I have no money and have debts because of my partner. I have no where to go if I was to leave so I feel trapped. I keep hoping he will improve but he doesn’t and I just can’t cope with it any more. I don’t want to end up depressed. I am only 29 and my son is so amazing. I want to enjoy life not hate it and cry all the time. How do I get out and get financial help??

  17. My husband treats me like a child, he controls all the money and everything is in his name. I was recently in the hospital with heart issues and was there for 7 days, he came to see me one time and while I was there he told my daughter (from a previous marriage that I was buying bi polar medication off the street, that he had found it a week before wrapped in celiphaine wrapper. I don’t do drugs and my daughter knows it. He says I’m unfit because I don’t want to go to bed at the same time he does. And he has hit me in the past….I’m afraid of him. He has four children from a previous marriage that can talk to or about me anyway they want, but if they tell him I said something, I’m told I have to apologize. I have no security at all living with him.his last wife before me committed sucide. I’m loosing my sanity….can anyone help me? I don’t have the resources to just walk out and leave, and even if I did…I have no confidence left to do it!!!

  18. i think my dad wants to take control of the house and my life. he is still a clutterbug and i think he wants me to go on his time schedule(he’s a night person). he gets mad at me for using soap and hot water and other things. i told him i would not need those things if i had not been trapped in a human body. why do humans get married and have kids if they do not want to share their homes with other humans? klaatu from “the day the earth stood still” would be impatient with those humans because he’s impatient with stupidity. i really wish avatar technology would become possible in my lifetime. then i could use it to get out of this stinking human body I’m trapped in and become a flying pyroraptor.

  19. My situation differs from most people (I think). I wasn’t emotionally abused in a relationship at all. It was actually a close friend of mine. I am a 16 year old boy, and my ‘abuser’, if you will, was a girl around the same age. We became friends a we started our final years of school, and for the first few months everything was normal. Until we began messaging each other on BBM everyday, as most teenagers do. It was then that she started to change. We had an argument over something very small, yet she made a really big deal about it. She claimed I had made her cry based on the things I had said (although the majority of my messages were trying to steer away from the confrontation by changing the subject) and that I was acting badly. The arguments became more frequent (every weekend or so) when she started to take it to another level. She would say I was driving her to suicide and that if I didn’t ‘stop’ she would end her life. Then after the whole argument was resolved, she would make me state what I had apparently done wrong, what I would do to prevent it in future, and say how truly sorry I was. She would never do the same. She would put all of the blame on me, saying that I got too angry, or I was too insensitive. Either way, it was never her fault. I started to become really depressed, and my behaviour started to change. It was as if I had become a completely different person. I would snap at my family members, I would struggle to fall asleep at night because I was dreading talking to her the next day, and I became less social with other people. Here was a time when I started to talk to another person, and she cried four times in a day because apparently I was going to replace her. I once joked about replacing her with a fictional character one day because she was giving me the silent treatment. She began using against me all the time, and would constantly make sure I knew that I hurt her feelings. She kept using my words against me as a clever way of shifting the blame. She would also say that what I was doing to her was ‘common assault’ and that her parents were forcing her to hand in a letter to our school about it. She would use this against me all the time. She knew this would work because, being in our last few months of school, I would be taking exams to decide on my future, and I wouldn’t want to mess that all up because apparently I was a terrible person. I truly believed I was a monster, and the self-loathing hasn’t gone away since.

    I finally told my family about what was going on, and they got me to terminate the friendship immediately. And when I did, I got a huge Facebook message from her telling me about how I’d ruined her life, I’d destroyed her confidence and that I had made her life hell. The message was about 40 lines long, consisting of all this guilt-tripping. I figured this was her way of maintaining that control by making me feel terrible about it all. On the last ever day of school (we got study leave) she did a number of things. Firstly she started showing her self-harm cuts in from of me when she chose to sit next to me. She once said she hated rolling up her sleeves, but for tha reason she made an exception. Then after the lesson she went up to me and, showing off the scars yet again, she told me over and over that I’d done enough damage. In the final lesson she went to sit next to me again, and because I outwardly protested, she turned on the tears and ran to our group of friends. Before the lesson ended, she came up to me crying, and pretty much recited her Facebook message to me in front of everyone. After she ran back to our group of friends, this girl (the one I had mentioned earlier) asked if I was alright. Out of everyone in the group of friend me and the abusive girl shared, nobody asked if I was okay. She had turned them all against me without even showing them the conversations we had in the past. Then at the end of the day I was stopped by the teacher, who said that the abusive girl had said I was writing things about her on Faebook and Twitter. What was laughable and angering was that SHE was writing all sorts of things about me. For example, “I can’t believe how wrong I was about you”, “you need to stop this” and other self-pitying ones. Just days after I told her to get lost, she started using my best friend to get to me. She made him send me messages from her, and a one point stole his phone and pretended to be him while texting me. I ended the friendship almost a year ago, yet she still has this hold over me. She has gotten away with pretty much wrecking life. I now can’t talk to people now, I have huge issues with making friends. I started college this year, and haven’t been able to talk to people in my class or make friends. She has turned everyone I know against me, and now I don’t bother going outside unless it’s to go to college. This should be the time of my life where I go out and have fun, but it’s been ruined. I honestly feel like I’ve had all masculinity ripped away from me, and I’m just a scared little kid stuck. I went for so long believing her lies, and they haunt me to this day. I can’t get over what has happened because I had faced the consequences for her actions.

    I would really appreciate being able to read your paper.

  20. my mother is emotionally abusing me. she yells at me all the time. she has delusions and is a victin of domestic violence which is why i am not cutting her off but really, she is driving me towards suicide. every day, i try to look for news ways of killing me just to get rid of her yelling. she rants all the time about her marriage and her money…i was only a kid when shit happened in her marriage and my father was too horrible a person..i don’t know how to stop this. when i was a kid, i used to think that when i would be older, i would lead a better and happier life but it’s all the same only that the abuse is now directed to me.

  21. 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.”

  22. 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.

  23. 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 .

  24. 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 .

  25. 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”.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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. :)

  29. 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

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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

  33. 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?

  34. 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.

  35. 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

  36. 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.

  37. 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

  38. 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.

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

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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

  43. 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!

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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…

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