Unlike physical abuse, emotional abuse isn’t straightforward, so you may not actually know it even if you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship.
And just because your partner doesn’t hit you doesn’t mean your self-esteem doesn’t take a hit if they constantly shame, control and criticise you. If anything, your confidence probably crumbles faster than you can say “enough”.
Can’t figure out if your partner has been anything less than respectful? We got Jean Chen, a psychotherapist at Relationship Matters, to tell us about eight signs that point to an abusive relationship.
More stories from CLEO
A Polyamorous Man In Singapore Tells Us About How He Sees Love
CLEO Asks: Guys Tell Us How They Show That They’re Interested In You
Your Attachment Style Affects The Way You Behave In Relationships
1. Your partner belittles you and makes you feel worthless
“This can be in the form of hurtful words such as ‘stupid’ and ‘useless’. They make sarcastic comments about you or disguise an insult as a joke to leave you feeling small.”
2. They embarrass you in front of other people
“They criticise you in front of others or scold you loud enough for others to hear. They may also deliberately drop something on the floor just so you pick it up.”
3. They make you feel like you're always in the wrong
“They don’t consider your feelings and often give a ‘logical’ reason as to why they’re right and you’re wrong.”
4. They constantly make you feel guilty about your thoughts and feelings
“You feel blamed for most of the things that go wrong in the relationship and don’t feel like you’re able to voice your fears and needs. You’re never given the right to be angry and are constantly told that you’re selfish, demanding, paranoid or unreasonable.”
5. They talk down to you
“They talk to you in a harsh or authoritative tone and make you feel like you’re a child instead of a partner.”
6. They make you feel ostracised
“They paint you in bad light to friends and make you feel unaccepted in a group setting.”
7. They socially isolate you
“They make it difficult for you to keep in touch with friends and family.”
8. They stonewall you
“They give you the cold shoulder most of the time. This is a form of emotional disengagement that results in emotional hurt and isolation.”