Words Will Never Hurt You? Understanding the Signs of Emotional Abuse

Posted on: 5 May 2016

Creating a bond with another person and beginning a relationship together can be wonderful. Unfortunately, a relationship does not always end up as the fairy tale you thought it would be. An estimated 35 percent of married women or women in a common-law relationship have experienced emotional abuse. 

Since emotionally abusive relationships do not leave physical scars, cuts, or bruises, most women do not realize they are being abused. Using this guide, you will understand the signs of an emotionally abusive relationship and learn the best option for finding help.

Name Calling/Belittling

As a child, your parents may have said the phrase, "Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you." While this is partly true, a partner that constantly calls you degrading names can wreak havoc on your self-esteem and emotional well-being.

If you show anger, disappointment, or sadness after your partner or spouse calls you names, you may be told you are being overly sensitive. However, constant name calling and belittling from someone you love not only hurts your feelings, but also decreases your sense of worthiness. If your significant other constantly calls you upsetting, degrading names or belittles you, you are most likely in an emotionally abusive relationship.

Physical and Emotional Control

If your partner attempts to control your feelings, interests, relationships with others, daily tasks, and finances, you are in an abusive relationship.

Abusers like to have control and feel powerful over others, so an emotionally abusive partner may become irritated and angry if you feel or express a certain emotion or desire. Controlling what you do or say is also common. Your emotionally abusive partner may also forbid you to spend time with certain people or go to specific places.

Having this control is a way for the abuser to retain power over you, but it also prevents you from living a more independent lifestyle.

Financial Control

Since most emotionally abusive partners have control over the household finances, the abused are unable to find the funds to support themselves or their children. This can lead to the abused woman leaving the home, fleeing for safety and a better life, even without money, a home, or a job. If your partner does the following, they are controlling your finances and abusing you emotionally:

  • Tracks spending in detail—Your partner may constantly check bank accounts and credit card statements for "unapproved" expenses.
  • Gives an allowance—Emotionally abusive partners will give you an allowance and no other means of making purchases.
  • Forbids purchases—Your partner may forbid certain purchases, even if they are necessities.
  • Rewards—The abuser may reward you like a child by giving you money or allowing you to spend money if you "behave well." They may ask for forgiveness of their abusive behavior by giving you money or bringing you a gift.
  • Sabotages your job—If your abusive partner forbids you from working due to their jealousy or constantly makes you miss work, it is a sign of financial control and abuse.

Having a spouse or partner that controls every aspect of the household finances and your career can be devastating, reducing your ability to leave the abusive relationship. Fortunately, many national programs are available to help individuals escape from dangerous relationships.

Understanding the signs of emotional abuse is a smart step to realize that your relationship is in danger. If you believe you can save your relationship, consider couple or individual counseling sessions to learn the reasons behind the abusive behavior so you can learn how to cope with emotions in a healthier manner and repair your relationship. Contact a representative from an establishment like Associates For Counseling & Psychotherapy to learn more.


Getting The Help I Needed

After spending my entire life suffering with almost debilitating anxiety, I realized it might be time to see the doctor. I was medicated almost immediately, but my doctors explained that a few pills might not be enough. They enrolled me in counseling, and I started working with a therapist the next day. It was amazing the difference that it made. My counselor took the time to help me through my problems, and within a few weeks I felt at peace. My blog is all about the benefits of counseling, so that you can experience the life-changing results of this much-needed therapy.

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