15 Red Flags Which Show You Could Be the Victim of Emotional Abuse


Emotional abuse is a despicable act - a way to manipulate someone and their psychological well-being. 

It can often go unnoticed for a long period of time, with even the victim themselves not realising what is happening to them. 

Even if you suspect that everything is OK with you and a partner, or a friend, it is also worthwhile knowing what the indicators of emotional abuse are. 

1. You feel guilty. 

Someone who is emotionally abusive will use tactics like ignoring you or feeling bad for themselves.

This is a form of guilt-tripping and can be used to make someone feel ashamed about their actions, without any real reason. 

You'll feel like you are constantly trying to avoid situations, which will result in criticism or disappointment.

2. Insulting remarks.

This might start off as a light bit of fun but can soon become something more sinister.

What might begin with an innocent bit of name calling can result in unpleasant comments.

All of this is done to lower someone's self-esteem and confidence in themselves.

3. Overprotection.

Have you ever felt like someone is far too interested in what you are doing with your spare time and who you see?

Are they asking for names and pictures of the other people you spend time with or - even worse - are giving you a curfew? 

Those are all forms of over-protection and that heavy surveillance will get worse as the abuse goes on.

4. Jealously. 

Emotional abuse can extend to things like jealousy where the other person can't bear the idea of you spending time with anyone else. 

No matter how big, small, innocent or intense that time or conversation is they will become jealous and are determined to let you know about it.

This could manifest itself in temper tantrums or threats to you or even themselves.

5. Making decisions with consultation.

By attempting to make you more and more insignificant the abuser may wish to completely remove you from all decisions that may impact your life.

This further asserts their power over you and presents the idea that your opinions or thoughts do not matter to them or anyone else.

You aren't considered to be someone who can make an important decision, so they will do everything for you.

6. Becoming more demanding.

A victim may begin to feel like they are acting as the other person's servant and who will become upset when their wishes aren't met.

They will start to treat a victim like a small child or in contrast, will act like a small child in order to get their way.

This could result in the victim feeling unequal in the relationship and less like a fully functioning adult and more like a tool for the abuser's benefit.

7. Lacking empathy or compassion.

Having empathy or compassion for another person is a vital part for any happy relationship.

However, an abuser will show almost none of those qualities in themselves, who won't be there for someone in a difficult period.

Therefore they won't be able to count on them and this abuse could extend to others, including their own children.

8. Financial abuse.

This may first present itself as something helpful as they will attempt to give you money advice and suggest ways to solve debts.

As they begin to express more interest in your finances, they will continuously tell you to be "careful" with your money.

Eventually, they will exert a dominance over you and your spending habits where you won't have a say on how money is spent and persuade you not to buy things that you can otherwise afford.

9. Undermining.

Soon into a cycle of abuse your opinion or thoughts will no longer matter to them and you will essentially be ostracised from any conversations where they might be relevant. 

Even if you try to raise any thoughts about the relationship itself, you will be accused of being too sensitive and your feelings will be dismissed.

This could also transfer into disputes over certain events or incidents, where even if your version is true it will be argued to the point where it appears to be no longer valid.

10. Grand gestures.

This point might seem to be in contrast with the rest of the entries in this list but it is just as manipulative.

When an abusive person oversteps the mark they will treat the victim to something epic and expensive in order to redeem themselves and silence their victim's emotions.

This could be anything from a unique gift to a surprise weekend away, this won't solve the problem but as long as you aren't upset any more than everything is OK.

11. Gaslighting.

Out of all the manipulative techniques that abusers tend to use, gaslighting has to be one of the most disturbing.

Gaslighters will convince someone that all the bad things that are happening are all entirely the victim's fault, even though it's not. 

The persistence of gaslighting will eventually become so bad, that even the victim will believe the lies. 

12. Friends disappear or notice a difference.

As the manipulation becomes worse and worse, a victim may start to notice that their friends are less present than what they previously were.

Either this is because the culprit has forced them out of the other person's life or that person has changed so much that their friends don't feel like they know them anymore. 

They are probably concerned but they and the victim no longer know how to reach out for help.

13. Preferring to be alone.

As a victim becomes more and more isolated they will start to notice that they feel better when they spend a day or evening by themselves. 

Without the pressure of the abuser constantly looming over them they will naturally feel better as that stress is no longer present. 

That will all fade away one the abuser returns but it provides them with an insight into what life outside of manipulation is like.

14. They try to turn you against your family.

An abuser has a profound way of convincing someone that their family and loved ones are not actually that good for them. 

As things grow more severe an abuser will tell the victim that their family is "attacking" or "trying to sideline" the relationship.

This may result in them demanding that a person makes a choice; their family or the abuser.

15. Stonewalling.

Stonewalling is another form of ignoring someone but it often comes out of the blue and with little explanation.

Things like silence and no eye contact are both forms of stonewalling but it will be done in a not-so-subtle way.

An abuser could even disappear for a few days only to return without any real reason being given.