That despite the best face you are trying to put on things – and even despite the fact that your partner does do some good things for you – that you are profoundly unhappy. And that you know – deep inside – that you need to make a change in your life.
That change could be altering you or your partner’s behavior, getting professional help or an intervention – or leaving your abuser once and for all.
So take a moment and ask yourself if you recognize any of these behaviors in your partner or yourself. They insult and put you down both in private and in front of others as a method of eroding your self-esteem, which they hope will make you more dependent on them.
Then, if you or someone else protests, they will laugh it off and either claim that they are “just joking” and that you have no sense of humor or are just “too sensitive” (1).
Too often, emotionally abused partners mistake this behavior for “care”. Pay attention to that gap between how much they want to communicate when you are around and their texting, calling and checking up on you when you – or they – are away.
Similarly, beware of angry or emotional signs of “jealousy” when you talk to a person of the opposite sex or someone shows up on your Facebook page.
This is not jealousy driven by care, but jealousy driven by control.
An emotional abuser doesn’t want to hear about your pain, except to reinforce that you deserve whatever pain you feel.
That you’ve brought it on yourself, or that it’s your deserved destiny to feel bad about yourself.
If you constantly feel guilty in your relationship, but you don’t really know why, it might be because your partner is encouraging you to feel that way.