According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), close to 20 people on average are physically abused by their partners every minute. In a given year, there are some 10 million men and women who suffer from such forms of abuse.
In an article published at the National Center for Biotechnology Institute (NCBI) website, domestic violence was defined as abusive behavior that involves an individual gaining power or control over another through stalking, physical and sexual abuse, and psychological aggression. Emotional abuse and neglect were also identified as forms of domestic violence.
Incidentally, many victims fail to notice subtle forms of emotional abuse, so they end up staying in an abusive relationship and suffering further without them realizing. If you do see any of these warning signs, you should immediately seek help from a competent divorce attorney for proper advice and legal help. Keep in mind that you don’t deserve to be abused in any way, only given the love due to you as a person.
Here are 10 subtle signs of emotional abuse that you must keep an eye for:
1. You’re on the receiving end of hurtful “jokes.”
Abusers often throw ‘’jokes’’ or sarcastic comments that are meant to belittle or hurt you emotionally. These verbal comments can be so cleverly disguised or subtle that you are taking them as actual jokes that are harmless.
2. You’re constantly made to report your whereabouts or activities.
If you’re always ordered to tell your partner where you’re going to or located and if your partner wants to know every minute detail of your activities, you’re being emotionally abused subtly. These check-ins are often disguised as a form of showing concern over your safety and welfare, but they are a way to put you on a leash and control your movement without you even realizing that’s the case.
3. You avoid talking about things you feel would anger your partners.
If you used to feel free to talk about every topic under the sun and then suddenly feel constantly avoiding to even mention them in passing, you’re most likely already experiencing emotional abuse.
4. Your partner has been asking you to stay away from family and friends.
Abusers often direct their partners to refrain from seeing or talking with family members and friends for unknown reasons or reasons that are meant to resemble care and concern. This is a subtle way of keeping you from maintaining or establishing meaningful relationships with people close to you.\
5. Your partner is unreasonably possessive or jealous.
Many emotional abuse victims have partners who constantly throw fits of anger due to jealousy and possessiveness. If your spouse tells you not to talk with a member of the opposite sex even if you have legitimate reasons to do so, then it’s a red flag for emotional abuse.
6. You’re told what to feel and think.
In the guise of giving a piece of loving advice, your partner may try to control your mental and emotional being by telling you how you should feel or think given a certain situation. Many abusers have turned this manipulative technique into an art form, so be mindful of your spouse’s behavior similar to the ones mentioned above.
7. Your partner withdraws emotionally, physically, and sexually following a disagreement.
Among the common forms of subtle emotional abuse that victims fail to notice is a partner’s sudden distancing after a fight. This gesture could come in emotional, physical, or sexual withdrawal to make the other party guilty about the situation. If your spouse shows this kind of habit, it should serve as a wake-up call that you’re already in a toxic and emotionally abusive marriage.
8. You’re constantly being criticized, even for the smallest mistakes.
Abusers love the make their victims feel low about themselves, which is why they constantly point out ‘mistakes’ that the latter does. What would otherwise be an opportunity to correct the perceived mistake or shortcoming becomes another chance to make the person feel self-doubt. If your spouse criticizes you and you honestly believe that you’re being unfairly singled out, it’s your better judgment telling you that abuse is happening.
9. You’re constantly feeling tired in their company.
It may seem like just a normal reaction to a stressful day at work or something that’s been bothering you, but if you always feel tired whenever you’re with your spouse, it could be because you’re being emotionally abused without you realizing it.
10. Your opinions or achievements get dismissed or downplayed.
Abusive spouses do not want their partners to achieve better things than they do, and they don’t see their partners’ opinions as valid or substantive. If your spouse does these things, think twice about spending another day with him or her.
With these red flags spelled out, spotting emotional abuse should be a lot easier for you.