How would you know if you exist in an emotionally abusive relationship? Let’s face it; emotions are part of any relationship. A critical factor, however, is controlling the expression and use of strong emotions. Many relationships begin with passion and intense emotion, but can evolve into emotionally abusive relationships. Here are the 5 key warning signs of such a relationship.
1. You walk on eggshells. You do not want to trigger your partner. What can be worse? You don’t even know what can trigger him/her! In order to avoid upsetting your partner, you are vigilantly careful not to do anything that will trigger a negative emotional reaction.
2. Your partner mistrusts you (and your emotions). Often, emotionally abusive individuals have low self-esteem, which leads to a lack of trust in the partner, as well as a belief that your expression of displeasure are designed to hurt. Any expression of emotion on your part becomes an attack.
3. Your partner can express emotions (and opinions), but you can’t. These kind of relationships are imbalanced. It’s ok for your partner to rant and rave, but if you express negative emotions, perhaps even mild ones, you are subject to criticism, or, even worse, a strong emotional backlash.
4. You can’t discuss relationship problems and issues. Any criticism is viewed as an assault on the emotionally abusive person, and you avoid discussing problems in order to maintain a calm emotional environment.
5. You feel constantly confused and trapped. Being a victim of an emotionally abusive relationship can leave you emotionally confused and trapped, constantly. The emotionally abusive partner may use emotional appeals to keep you in the relationship (“I need you to help me!” or “You can’t leave me alone!”). Often, as a victim, you feel helpless to do anything about the situation.
Wondering what you can do about it? There really are only two choices: Seek counseling, both joint and individual or get out of the abusive relationship. No one should have to endure psychological or physical abuse.