June 3, 2023


Where's The Health?

When Healthy Conflict Becomes Emotional Abuse – 5 Signs of Emotional Abuse

All growing, healthy relationships involve conflict, at least on occasion. When two different people with different histories and personalities merge lives, there are bound to be occasional misunderstandings and/or disagreements. However, healthy conflict still involves mutual respect and caring toward the other person. If the communication is heavy on criticism and attempts to control the other partner, it can become emotionally abusive in nature. Here are 5 signs that your conflict with your partner has become emotionally abusive:

1. When you disagree, your partner calls you names or criticizes you for even the mundane tasks you do each day. Sometimes, the abuse can actually come in the form of “helpful” suggestions about how you can do things “right.” Over time, this communication undermines self esteem and can lead to feelings of inferiority, incapability, or may even cause the traumatized partner to wonder if he or she is crazy.

2. At the end of the day, you feel obliged to report your activities to your partner. Often, your partner gets upset of critical about how you spent your day and you feel defensive, attempting to justify your choices. You might even get to the point where you start tailoring your time around activities that won’t upset your partner, just to avoid the fight.

3. You feel limited about how much time you can spend with outside friends and family. This might be because your partner prohibits you from seeing certain people, or you argue about the fact that you choose to have coffee with your sister once a week instead of being available to your partner, for example. You might also feel limited when it comes to work or education opportunities – anything that increases your independence.

4. You have conflict about intimacy because your partner is using it as a method of controlling you. It could be that sex is demanded without regard for your feelings, or the opposite may be the case – affection and intimacy may be deliberately withheld.

5. You feel as if you are tiptoe-ing on eggshells when you interact with your partner. You spend a lot of time considering how best to not upset him or her. Occasionally your partner might do something kind, but it is random or a calculated move to draw you back into the relationship, not a new pattern of behavior.