We often have quarrels, misunderstandings, and conflicts with people surrounding us. This is normal as any relations matter, and to learn more information about the value of a healthy relationship, read this article on our website. 

Nobody is perfect, and if someone says there are no quarrels in his or her life, be sure that is a lie. Some people are inclined to disputes, even for no particular reason, but you have to understand the difference between an ordinary quarrel (conflict) and emotional abuse.

Conflict is a natural part of any healthy relationship. This is the way for (two or more) people to express emotions, recognize a problem, and have a chance to discuss any issue that bothers them.

Emotional abuse is the way to belittle another person. Such behavior includes insults, blaming, shame, verbal threats, manipulation, etc. that may make another person feel threatened, useless, ashamed, and even degraded.

Comparing emotional abuse to a conflict, it is necessary to admit that emotional abuse does not involve any kind of physical harm. However, being emotionally abused, and feeling this pressure all the time, might cause even more severe problems, such as emotional instability, psychological traumas, depressions, stress disorders, anxiety, and so on.

The Signs of Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is very complicated, and it is hard to identify it. Here are the signs of emotional abuse that might help you recognize this kind of violence.

Criticism and judgment towards you

You might know you are emotionally abused when you notice that the following signs are present in your life:

– criticism about everything you say or do;

– always get an objection about your point of view, how you look, how you dress, what you watch, what you are interested in, etc.;

– putting you down in front of others;

– insulting and embarrassing you;

– teasing and hard jokes that can make you feel severely uncomfortable.

Putting you under total control

The abuser may try to limit your actions through unreasonable jealousy, such as:

– watching your actions;

– always calling or texting when you are not nearby;

– becoming upset when you have a wish to spend time alone, or with family, or friends but without your partner;

– isolating you from people surrounding and/or activities, the job you like or enjoy.

The ignoring of your boundaries and the violation of your privacy

Everyone needs personal space. But sometimes it is hard to distinguish between the rush of new relationships and a violation of your own space. It happens when your partner:

– is trying to move a relationship faster than you are comfortable with either emotionally or physically (for example, to say “I love you”), and pressuring you to do the same;

– checks your texts messages, email or social nets accounts without your permission;

– watches you when you are out.


An emotional abuser will try to make you do the things that might make you feel bad, such as:

– giving you no affection when you do something “wrong” or that he does not like;

– ignoring you;

– making you doubt your words and actions;

– trying to change your point of view, proving you are wrong while you are sure you are right.

Feelings rejection

The emotional abuser is trying to put down your emotions or feelings by:

– saying you are too sensitive, you see only negative in everything, or even calling you crazy;

– making fun of your dreams, wishes, goals, and achievements;

– refusing to discuss or take responsibility for their actions;

– blaming you for their words and actions (they are always right, and it is never their fault)

– being indifferent to your feelings.

If any of these signs are present in your current relations, you have something to think about.

emotional abuse stories, healing from emotional abuse, covert emotional abuse

What Is Covert Emotional Abuse?

Emotional abuse is hard to recognize. There are couples and families in which, at first glance, everything is fine, but if you “dig” deeper, you can find many problems, one of which is emotional abuse.

Covert emotional abuse (also called “hidden abuse”) does not consist of externally controlling behaviors, such as violence, belittling, threatening, and insulting. 

Covert emotional abuse implies systematic manipulation of your mind and your emotional responses using mind games, such as blame-shifting, evasion, fake ignorance, twisting of words or actions, and covert aggression because they are not visible. It is tough to detect, describe or confront.

In public, the abuser is kind, loving, caring, and affectionate. He/she knows what to say and what others want to hear. All the people around are sure that he or she is a nice person because of the ability to convince everyone around with words and actions, and sometimes even the victim thinks so because of being convinced as well.

Such abuse can be long-term, and some people, mainly women, live their lives experiencing covert emotional abuse because they are unable to overcome it.

Covert emotional abuse is challenging to determine because you can regard such behavior as an average person’s behavior or someone who was offended or insulted. It all depends on your opinion.

Covert emotional abuse is mainly experienced by trustful, kind women who do not criticize others and also allow others to assert themselves at their own expense.

For example, your abuser simply ignores you silently, while you go through thousands of options for what could be the reason for this. At first, you try to make out, talk. When you do not get any reply, you silently start to recover events, hoping to understand what’s wrong. In the end, you even admit your guilt, feel suppressed by resistance, even though you don’t always understand what your mistake was and what you did wrong.

But in reality, the answer can be straightforward and silly – your abuser was just tired, he did not want to talk to you, but he preferred to suppress you emotionally rather than telling you the exact reason for such behavior. This is called covert emotional abuse.

Emotional Abuse Stories

There are hundreds of emotional abuse stories that people have in their lives. Many stories are repeated, and there are already proven ways of reacting and even overcoming this type of violence. On http://peelsaysnotoviolence.org you can find some examples of such stories.

However, there are stories in which people simply do not know what to do, but because they are silent to the last, enduring this emotional abuse, allowing their partner to scoff at their personality.

emotional abuse stories, healing from emotional abuse, covert emotional abuse

Healing From Emotional Abuse: Where to Start?

If you want to get rid of emotional abuse, try to follow the next steps:

You are a priority. Take care of your physical and mental health, your needs. Have enough rest, and do everything possible to have more positive moments in your life.

Love yourself. Do not allow your abuser to shout at you, call you names, insult you, be rude to you, and so on.

Do not blame yourself. Very often, the emotional abuser will make you feel guilty for something you did not do. And being emotionally abused, you will think it is normal. You have to stop it if you want to get rid of emotional abuse. Stop blaming yourself, especially if there is no reason for it.

Stop “feeding” your abuser. When your abuser starts to quarrel with you, begins insulting you, demands something from you, or he is anger from jealousy, do not make explanations or excuses, as your any action will be considered as a wrong one, so, save your nerves, and stay calm.

Get support. You can address such a problem to a close friend or a relative. Talk to a person you trust, share everything that bothers you, and probably together, you will find a way to overcome this issue. You can also address a professional counselor who can provide you with a professional consultation.

If none of these pieces of advice works, you can reach a crisis counselor by texting HOME to 741471.

To get rid of any kind of emotional abuse – clear your life from those who are making you feel emotionally abused, be more self-confident, and never forget that you are the only creator of your own life.

Anton Kurapov

Anton Kurapov

PhD, a professor assistant at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Fascinated by the role of psychology in lives of people and simply astonished by the complexity of the brain and its functions.

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