We all know that physical abuse in a relationship can be very damaging, but we don’t often hear how damaging emotional abuse can be as well. Emotional abuse can damage your self-esteem and have you questioning and doubting your own value, worth and abilities. One interesting thing about emotionally abusive relationships is that it can be very hard to detect, even for the parties involved.

People usually picture abusive relationships with a man abusing a woman, however, we know that women abuse men as well. Let’s not lie to ourselves. We all know of that one chick that is always screaming on her man. It can really begin to tear him down as a man. There are many other kinds of abusive relationships such as a friendship, relationships with relatives, parents emotionally abusing their children and even children emotionally abusing their parents.

Sometimes people who are in emotionally abusive relationships don’t even realize that they’re being abused. They may eventually begin to feel deep sadness, anxiety, depression and stress. These people are often not honest with themselves and sometimes even try to make excuses for their abusers’ behavior, trying to hide it, or even just straight up deny that the abuse is happening.

Can emotional abusers ever change their behavior? The abuser’s behavior is often deep rooted in anger, frustration or pain that they have somehow experienced in their own lives. So, them getting to the root of their own behavior and changing will not always be easy. The key is for them to want it. They have to want to change. Here are some of the many faces of emotionally abusive relationships. Remember that sometimes, emotional abuse is accompanied by or followed by physical abuse.

1. Hostility – In any relationship, you want to be able to feel safe saying what you feel and being yourself but in an abusive relationship, you may not even be comfortable expressing yourself because of all the tension that exists.

2. Insults – Are you often criticized or made fun of in private or public that you or others don’t think is funny? Don’t get it confused. There should be lots of fun being thrown around in a relationship but if the fun isn’t funny, maybe it’s not really fun. Get it? Everyone should be able to accept constructive criticism but if the criticism is not constructive and it puts you down, it is of no benefit to you. Maybe you should find people who will help build you up and not tear you down. Abusers also may accuse you of being too sensitive as a means of deflection. Maybe you are sensitive, but that’s more reason to pay closer attention to how you feel about the way you’re being treated.

3.Control and Intimidation – Abusive partners want to control you in many different ways. They make sarcastic comments that have a threatening undertone to them. Sometimes they may treat you like a child and want to know who you’re with, where you’re going and what you’re doing at all times. In extreme cases, you aren’t even allowed to go out without them. They like to correct you all the time and even try to control all of the money. It gets so bad that you may even have to ask them for permission to do things or a few dollars to buy basic necessities. These abusers do not respect your individuality and uniqueness and try to take your social life or money making abilities away. They’ll even destroy things in the house as a means to intimidate you.

4. Accusations – They’re always accusing you of something that isn’t true. They blame you for everything that goes wrong, even things that you have no control over. They’re quick to accuse you of not respecting them because of something you said, did or even didn’t do.
5. Deflecting – Everyone else is to blame but themselves. They’re always the victim. They say that you or someone else made them do things instead of being responsible for their own actions.

6. Disregarding – Your opinions and suggestions are dumb and unimportant to them. They aren’t compassionate or empathetic about your needs and feelings. They belittle your goals and discourage you from accomplishing things. And of course, they will deny their own abusive behavior.

7.Withdrawal – They’ll give you the silent treatment and will seemingly ignore you in order to manipulate you or to make you suffer. They’ll even try to “punish” you by threatening to leave you or simply acting like they will. They may even withhold sex and intimacy.

If you’re in a relationship like this, do you love the way it hurts or do you want to stop being a victim? If so, change your circumstance. Either speak up and demand change, change your own way of handling things, leave the situation, or a combination of all. You can’t control what your abuser does, but you can save yourself.