Every relationship has its ups and downs; no one expects a smooth-sailing relationship all the time. Sometimes the ups include friendly ribbing and teasing on both sides, while the downs include fierce arguments and frosty silences. Either way, arguments are inevitable. But how do you draw the line between harmless banter and emotional abuse? We have a few signs for you to take note of. If your relationship starts to reek of emotional abuse, please seek help from the nearest abuse shelter immediately, or turn to someone you can trust.
If you think that emotional abuse doesn’t matter because of the lack of physical scars, think again! Words still have the ability to hurt you, and with enough time, they can worm themselves into our thoughts, warping your personality and perceptions of the world.
Your Partner Invalidates Your Feelings
One sign that something is wrong would be your partner refusing to acknowledge your feelings. If it was just harmless banter, your partner will stop if he or she realizes that they are making you uncomfortable, or after you make it clear to them that you are uncomfortable with their teasing. This is a sign of a healthy relationship, as in healthy relationships, both parties respect each other’s personal boundaries, and if someone says they are not alright with something, the right thing to do would be to apologize and back off.
In an abusive relationship however, your partner invalidates your feelings. He or she may humiliate you or degrade you. For instance, does your partner make fun of you or degrade you in front of other people even after you tell them to stop? Do they use sarcasm as a way to tease you and degrade you even after you made it clear this is not okay with you? This is a sign that something is wrong. Your partner may push the blame back onto you, claiming that you are ‘too sensitive’ and should ‘learn to take a joke.’ He or she may tell you that your feelings and opinions are wrong.
If this happens often you may have a big problem. If your partner regularly dismisses, disregards and ridicules your feelings and opinions, you may be in an emotionally abuse relationship.
Your Partner Likes to Control You
Another sign that something is wrong would be your partner controlling nearly, if not every aspect of your life. From where you should eat to the friends you are allowed to meet, you feel like you have to ask for permission to do simple things on your own. This is not normal.
Unless you and your partner have specifically agreed on some slave roleplay in bed and in your private lives, this kind of controlling behavior is not healthy. No matter what 50 Shades of Gray states, having someone control your life is neither normal nor erotic; it is incredibly nerve-wrecking and drains your spirit like nothing else.
If you sense that your relationship resembles one of a master-slave without both parties agreeing to it, you probably should leave as soon as possible. Healthy relationships are full of compromise and mutual trust, full of support and love even when the chips are down, and not you frantically arranging your entire life just to please your partner, or letting your partner arrange your life without your full consent.
Your Partner Never Blames Themselves
Another sign that something is wrong is when your partner never takes responsibility for their own actions, always choosing to blame someone else, namely you for their behavior. They may say that it was your actions or your feelings that pushed them to say or do the things they did. If the arguments are mostly caused by one party who refuses to take responsibility for his or her own actions, you may be in an abusive relationship.
In healthy relationships, the arguments that take place are likely to be caused and resolved by both parties. Most healthy relationships do not have one person constantly picking fights and the other party constantly apologizing. Harmless banter is something that occurs both ways, both you and your partner take turns to rib each other playfully throughout the course of your relationship. If your partner is unable to take your harmless banter, yet is fully capable of degrading you in public, you may be in an abusive relationship.