Relationships, like marriages, are not easy to keep. They’re overwhelmingly pretty on some days – blissful even – but most days they are draining and difficult. This can even be more daunting if you are emotionally abusing your partner without even realizing it. This means that not all partners are bent up at terrorizing their partner by planning to emotionally abuse them. However, you may not be aware of it, but you have practiced habits that have made your relationship and the life of your partner distressing.
Maryann W. Mathai, LPCC, LMHC, LPC, NCC once said, “Humans are complex and all of us experience emotions like anger and sadness, so it’s very normal that at some point in the relationship, you will disagree with your partner.” If things have been rough with your partner lately, recognize the possibility that you may be abusing your partner emotionally. Look for warning signs. Experts suggest that anticipating the signs and doing something about it can tremendously save your relationship.
Below is a list of signs that you can watch out for, so you know that you have been emotionally abusing your partner.
- You’re Doing The Silent Treatment. Although you’re not yelling at your partner, you are instead shutting her off and keeping her from knowing what’s really wrong or how bad your situation is. Psychotherapists say that silent treatments are a means of controlling your partner as an antecedent to abuse. “Power exists in all relationships. Having power means to have a sense of control, to have choices and the ability to influence our environment and others.” Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT explains.
- You Won’t Accept Responsibility When Arguing. Although it is normally difficult to say sorry during a misunderstanding, it is vital to accept that you are partly to blame in an argument. If you can’t, then you are pushing your partner to take all the blame, and this is a sign that you’re abusive.
- You Are insulting. Blunt and frank are two words with the same meaning. It can be a positive trait to be blunt, but when you’re too blunt, you are already insulting the other person you’re talking to, and that of course, is a clear sign of being emotionally abusive to your partner.
- Your Partner Becomes A Crowd Pleaser. If you have lately been criticizing your partner of being such a crowd-pleaser, then you may think twice about why she’s like this. Partners who are emotionally abused have a tendency to act confidently in front of others to compensate for her low self-confidence and the fear she has towards the other person. They want to be appreciated by others, which is why they sometimes overly react in parties or other gatherings.
- You Downplay An Ongoing Issue. Most often, when you know you’re at fault and you don’t want your partner to rub it in, you tend to minimize the issue at hand. However, if it’s your partner fault, you keep pressing on the issue so that she has to say sorry and cry for things to be okay. Isn’t that obviously unfair and abusive?
- You Pull Her Down. As a partner, you are there to be her rock and support in all things. You build her up so she would emerge an achiever and succeed in her endeavors. Instead, you ridicule her and pull her down by telling her she’s won’t be able to make it. If your partner is the opposite of who you are, then she doesn’t deserve you at all.
- You Are Gaslighting. This happens when you psychologically manipulate your partner into thinking that she is crazy or she’s not in her right mind. This is especially true if you’ve done something wrong and your partner attempts to ask you about it. You’re trying to play mind tricks on her as a way of controlling her. This is totally downright abusive. “Love is not about power and control. Everyone deserves a healthy relationship.” Nicole Tammelleo, LCSW-R said.
If you have seen these signs in yourself, then you are absolutely abusing your partner emotionally, and the underlying issue is definitely in you. But don’t be too harsh on yourself. Have a chat with your partner and tell her that you need help and that you want to save your relationship. Through honesty and the help of a therapist, you’re headed to a healthier you and a happier relationship.