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Signs of Being In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

No one ever wants to admit they are in an emotionally abusive relationship. In fact, most people are so in love that they don’t want to see any bad in their partner and they turn that blame inward instead. It took me a awhile to confess it to myself, but I was a victim of an emotionally abusive relationship. It’s hard for me to say “victim” because it makes it seem as though I had no ability to get out of it or save myself, which isn’t true. We don’t have to be victims, however it can sometimes be hard for some people and it’s OK to admit you need a little help. There’s nothing wrong with that either. 

First, I’d like to talk about a few signs of being an emotionally abusive relationship. 

  1. They put their needs before yours. 

Your passions, your dreams, your hobbies come second place in regards to their work. When you talk about what you want to do, they put you down or tell you it’s “stupid” or you aren’t “capable.” While it may seem like they are giving you constructive criticism because they “care” they are actually bullying you. You should never be shot down or let someone else tell you you aren’t good enough. They are selfish and that is not OK.


2. They contact you when they want to see you, but are “too busy” when you need them. 

Relationships are meant to be equal, not one-sided. It’s when two people are there for each other. I would get texts and calls when the guy I was dating was interested, but as soon as he got distracted with other girls, he would go ghost and get mad at me and make me think I was crazy for feeling like something suddenly changed. I blamed myself and thought I was needy, but I should’ve known what was happening. He would tell me he was too busy with work. I later found out during those times he was working, he was actually sending texts to other girls complimenting them and asking them to hang out. Everyone is busy, but people will prioritize and make time for those they care about. I have a friend who was talking to a guy and he’d leave his read receipts on and completely ignore her until he wished to see her. This caused her emotional distress and made her feel like an object. These games hurt are emotionally painful. If they don’t want to play with you, they will let you know how they feel from the start. 


3. They will compare you to other guys/girls.

First thing you should know is that they are doing this because they are very insecure themselves and have deep-rooted issues. They must make others feel low to make themselves feel good. They will make you feel low about yourself by looking and commenting on how good the other gender looks so you always feel beneath them and that you have to keep trying in order to keep them. This is dangerous and harmful. I’ve seen friends go through extreme lengths to be considered “beautiful” by their significant other, but the truth is you are beautiful the way you are. Sure, you can encourage someone to be healthier or to try new styles, but in no means should you get told you need to be someone else. You will be loved and appreciated just the way you are by someone who actually matters. 


4. They will get mad at you for having your own life.  

How dare you not answer their phone call even though the other day they ignored you for hours on end. When they want you, they want you. They will put down your friends or your family and try to isolate you away from people who actually care about you and want the best for you. This way you can’t see them for what they are and won’t break things off because you get a sense that you need them. If they are gone, who will you have? This isn’t a good sign. You should be encouraged to be with your family and your friends and to improve your relationships. Your partner should want the very best for you. This means a full circle of people who care about you, this means inspiring you to go after your dreams, this means supporting you and never making you feel insecure or not worth attention. 


5. They will play the victim.

And they will do this to their family and their friends. They will tell themselves and everyone around them how you were the bad guy, how you did things – you never did – and make themselves seem justified for treating you the way they did/do. They might even pretend to not remember times you were there for them or things you did for them. They are pathological liars, but they are charming, so all your mutual friends will turn against you. Just know this means they were never really your friends to begin with and that’s ok. It’s better to find out sooner than later so you can start to grow a healthy circle of friends instead of one built on lies, cattiness and gossip. Also, feel bad for them because it’s the person who can never realize they were wrong or apologize who is the fool. When you can never admit you made a mistake, how are you supposed to grow as a person and learn to be better? One should never stop trying to be better or stop trying to improve themselves, but they will never get to that point. Hopefully one day but it’s not your job to try and get them there. 


If any of these are hitting close to home, evaluate your relationship situation and if you are truly not helping or the relationship isn’t making you grow, get out. Find someone better. More importantly, find yourself again and enjoy “me” time since you are the most important person and it’s important to remember that. Don’t ever think it’s you, don’t think you are the problem and don’t think you have to change for someone to like you.

I was in an emotionally-abusive relationship and as much as I hate to say it, I still have some part of me that will always love that person, but I will never let them manipulate/control me again. And I will say I have now found someone amazing who I am deeply in love with and I say this to encourage others who might be scared they won’t find someone else or someone they feel so strongly about…. you will. I thought the exact same thing. You will find someone who supports you, who doesn’t leave you questioning and you will find yourself growing and happy in a mature, healthy relationship. 

You will come out on top. So while you’re out there growing and succeeding, they will stay static and miserable, trying to make others feel lower than them. But don’t let them drag you down. You deserve more. Birds of a feather flock together so surround yourself with positive people who are good influences and want the best for you. Don’t settle for less.



Photo credit: 1, 2, 3, 4

Rachel Davis is a writing & rhetoric major with a minor in mass communication. She is a pursuer of fine arts and fine cheeses. She loves naps, Netflix and long walks to the fridge. Rachel loves films and books, you can almost always find her at her second home; Barnes & Noble, reading J.K. Rowling and J. R. R. Tolkien all day long with a soy caramel macchiato in her hand while sweet talking her wifi and telling it to be strong. She has completed two internships in social media advertising and when she's not reading or writing, she is taking pictures, editing or traveling. She has been around France, Greece (no, she definitely does not recommend riding the donkeys, learn from her bad ideas), Italy and England. Her most recent excursion has been to Tennessee where she unsuccessfully climbed (and tripped) on the Smoky Mountains. She is just trying to survive, one donut at a time.
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