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10 Telltale Signs of an Emotionally Abusive Relationship that You May Have Ignored

10 Telltale Signs of an Emotionally Abusive Relationship that You May Have Ignored

Sometimes abuse is not as obvious as your partner hitting you or punching you. Sometimes it is more subtle, such as your partner calling you names and insulting you. This kind of abuse slowly sneaks up on people and before they know it they constantly feel upset and ashamed. They are upset because they are treated badly on a daily basis, and they feel shame as they think that they are at least partially to blame for the way their partner treats them.

This is emotional abuse, and it can be just as damaging as physical abuse. Often people deny that their partner is abusing them, or they minimize their behaviour as they want to believe that their partner loves them and has their best interests at heart.

However, allowing your partner to demean you is unfair on yourself. Over time you will start to become unhappy, self-doubting, depressed, and anxious. This can cause mental health problems and it can even lead to suicide, so it is important to find the strength to leave the person who is abusing you. Here are 10 signs of an abusive relationship; if you can relate to them, you may need to take a second look at your relationship.

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1. They Constantly Put You Down

Your partner is always putting you down; they disregard your opinions and ideas, and they think that your dreams and goals are trivial or stupid. They insult you both in private and in public, and if you say that they have upset you they either say “I’m just joking” or “I have your best interests at heart”.

2. They Try to Control You

Your partner tries to control every aspect of your life from your social life to your career. They even try to tell you who to be friends with, and how often you can see your friends. This indicates that they view you as an extension of themselves, rather than an independent being.

3.They Make You Feel Like You Are Always Wrong

You always feel like you have done something wrong, as your partner loves to point out your mistakes. Even when you haven’t done something wrong you your partner still treats you like you did. This is a sign of emotional abuse; your partner tries to make you feel unworthy of them, so that they have power over you.

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4. They Always Point Out Your Flaws

Your partner is supposed to love you for who you are, but instead they often point out flaws in your personality and appearance. Your partner is doing this to ruin your self-esteem so that you won’t leave them, as you will think that you are ‘lucky’ to have them.

5. They Blame You for Everything

Everyone makes mistakes, but your partner blames you for everything – including their own mistakes. It feels like you apologize to them every day, but you can’t remember the last time they apologized to you.

6. They Don’t Respect Your Boundaries

Your partner reads your private text messages when you are out of the room, and they will go through your things to make sure that they know everything about you. They can also be pushy about your beliefs; for instance if you are a vegetarian they often try to get you to eat meat. This shows that they don’t respect your rules – they only respect their own rules.

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7. They Try to Manipulate You

They often threaten to start fights or end the relationship in an attempt to get you to do what they want. This means that you often end up going along with something you’re not happy about to avoid fights or tears.

8. Their Love Is Conditional

They only love you when you bow to their will; they don’t love you for exactly who you are. This means that you feel like you have to do as they say, otherwise the relationship will end. It also means that you constantly have to pretend to be someone you’re not.

9. They Play the Victim

They start all of the fights and arguments, but they also play the victim and say that you actually started the disagreement with your attitude or behaviour.

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10. They Are Emotionally Unavailable

Your partner rarely talks to you about their feelings and you wish they would open up to you more. There are lots of reasons why they abuse you in this way; they may have been abused as a child, and now they think that abuse and being emotionally unavailable is normal and healthy. They also may have mental health issues or a disorder.

You are with your partner because you love them, so you may be tempted to try and fix their emotional problems for them. However, you cannot fix these problems―only your partner can do that, by acknowledging that they have a problem and taking steps to fix it. It can be very difficult to put yourself first after spending time in an abusive relationship, but it is the best option for both you and your partner. You deserve to find happiness, even if that can be hard to accept. Try to summon the courage to end the relationship so that you can find your happiness and self-esteem again ― you may not see it now, but you are a wonderful person who deserves to be loved.

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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