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20 Signs Your Best Friend Might Be Struggling With An Emotionally Abusive Partner

When we talk about abusive relationships we often imagine physical violence. Because of its ability to be visibly recognized it’s easy for us to discern that physical violence is not okay under any circumstance. It’s abuse. But what about other kinds of violence and abuse? Not all of its so visual or easy to notice. Emotional abuse constitutes the minimization and humiliation of a partner. They may have never laid a hand on you, but they’re always making you feel like trash.

Your partner might have never laid a hand on you but their words can make you feel like you’re an incompatible partner, inadequate person and in worst case scenarios like you’re complete trash.

1. They make you feel like you don’t understand anything or that you are always wrong.

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It doesn’t have to be in an argument. Signs that your partner might be emotionally abusive can pop up in normal conversations and be subtle. They might not say direct things like “that’s a dumb thing to say” but if they give off the impression that you never say anything intelligent and that you are always  wrong no matter what can be a sign of emotional abuse. 

2. They start to call you things like “crazy.”

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Has your partner made you start to feel like everything is in your head? Perhaps like your feelings aren’t valid, because you’re “overreacting,” “thinking too much,” or “behaving crazy.” Gaslighting is a very real thing and its a sort of emotional abuse that your partner can use to make you start to believe that what you know to be true isn’t real or question your own perception of reality.

3. They want constant control over your life.

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It can start off with little things, like wanting to know when you’ll be home or asking you to wear a certain clothing. They might tell you to stop wearing your red lipstick and hoops because it makes you look “slutty” or demand that you cut off communication with certain friends, exes, and co-workers.  Perhaps they start wanting to control what you spend and where. Having a partner who begins to control your life in ways that truly do not concern them based of off Jealousy, possessiveness is unhealthy and abusive.

4. They don’t respect or listen to you when you say “no.”

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You don’t want to have sex tonight but they complain and gripe and even cry until you give up. They make you finally give in after constant nagging despite the fact that you’ve outlined your comfort zone. Sexual assault is very real and it can happen in relationships. Whether it’s making you feel guilty or as if it’s your responsibility to satisfy them. 

5. They don’t hit you, but somehow you have physical bruises.

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Physical abuse doesn’t just occur at a slap, hit, shove, or punch. You can have a partner that pinches you or holds onto you to tight whether you’re or arguing, wanting to leave an argument or just talking. 

6. They try to make you believe that you’re unlovable.

Only they can love you, want you, be good to you. Somehow your partner tries to convince or tell you that no one in the whole entire world could accept you for who you are but them. They also use this and your love for them as leverage to get what they want. “If you don’t do this or you do do it, I’ll never speak to you again” or “If you do this I’ll never love you again” can be part of this.

7. They never give you support when you deserve it.

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Ever question why it is that any time something good happens to you, whether it’s a promotion a salary raise, your birthday, the birth of a niece, that somehow they always end up picking a fight with you? Even in your highest of times and achievements they end up making you question whether or not you deserve what you’ve gotten and your self-worth. That’s an abuser.

8. They don’t like when you talk to other people.

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They don’t like to hear anyone else’s opinion but they’re own and they want you to feel the same. Their efforts to isolate you from others like family and friends who could help you get out of the abusive relationship is a major red flag.

9. You’re always to blame.

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Somehow you’re always doing something to make your partner upset. They raise their voice, punch a whole in the wall, throw a plate and you are somehow the one that made them do it. They are never to blame for their actions and you are the one “asking for it.

This is a huge problem and a major sign that you are in an abusive relationship.

10. They make you doubt your feelings.

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It’s hard to understand how to question someone’s motives when you should be able to trust them. If you have a hard time describing your situation to friends and constantly call into question whether your friend is truly getting understanding “of both sides of the story” in order to justify your partners behavior you might want to consider what parts of your relationship might make you do this and whether they are signs of abuse. 

11. They don’t want other people interfering.

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They just want things to be “between you and them.” They don’t think your problems are other people’s problems and that your friends should “stay out” of your business. 

12. They express their aggressiveness by hitting and throwing objects.

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Everyone takes it out on a door every once and a while, but if your partner starts throwing, hitting and destroying objects to demonstrate their strength you should definitely consider this a threat that suggests you could be next.

13. They yell.

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Raised voices happen, but consider how excessive yelling gets in your relationships. Are you and your partner raising your voices to be heard or is your partner yelling AT you. Constant yelling and screaming in a relationship can be a sign of escalation that leads to violence.

14. They hit you.

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This is abuse. GET OUT.

15. They promise they won’t do it anymore.

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Your partner is repentant and sorry that they’ve treated you like a punching bag or louded into you with their loud voice, criticisms and name calling. It doesn’t matter how expensive the gifts they send you are or how nicely written their notes are you must come to terms that you are in a relatinoship with an abusive partner and you must get out. 

16. You’ve started to believe it’s all your fault.

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After all the arguments your partner has started to make you believe that you deserve the abuse. This is your abusive partners effort to make you feel like what they are doing is justified.

17. They make you nervous.

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Partners should make you feel secure and love. Not as if they are going to break up with you for decisions you’ve made, something you’ve worn or how you cooked dinner.

18. They make you feel like you are not enough.

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They cheat on you because you don’t like to do certain things in bed or aren’t up for having sex as often as they are. They tell you that it’s your fault, “if only you would __“. It’s caca girl. Walk away.

19. You are constantly fighting to make them happy.

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Nothing’s wrong with wanting to keep your partner happy. But once you find yourself constantly doing things to make them love you and feel happy you need to know that you’ve got problems. If you find yourself keeping quiet about something they’ve done to bother you to keep the peace, avoid going out with your friends to avoid a fight there’s a problem.

20. Get help.

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Talk to someone you trust, or get support at the National Domestic Violence Hotline via their live chat option or at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), which is available 24/7.


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