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Physical abuse may have clear signs you can watch out for, but signs of emotional abuse in relationships can be a bit more subtle to the outsider. Emotional abuse is not always directly about hurting the other person. In many cases, emotionally abusive relationships stem from one partner’s insecurities, which lead to an overwhelming desire to control the other person. More often than not, this abuse is to attempt to prevent the other person from leaving the relationship for any reason. If you notice that someone you know appears to be in an emotionally abusive relationship, it is important to do what you can to get them the help they need to break free.
One of the top signs of emotional abuse in relationships is an overwhelming fear of angering or displeasing their partner. This is especially worth noting if this kind of fear is out of character for the person you are observing. If it suddenly seems like your friend is basing every decision they make on whether or not it will please their partner, these are signs of emotional abuse. Try to get a feeling for where these feelings are coming from to determine if it is stemming from insecurity or behavior within the relationship.
Emotionally abusive relationships are all about control. If you notice that a partner in a relationship is calling or texting constantly, to a point where it is difficult to continue plans then you might be dealing with an emotional abuser. This is especially notable if the calls or messages come with increased frequency as the calls continue, or if they demand excessive amounts of detail. One of the most common signs of emotional abuse in relationships is a partner that needs to be in constant contact, or even goes as far as to contact friends or family of their partner if they are unable to get the information they desire. This is an intimidation tactic that is used to control their partner’s movements.
In most cases, the signs of emotional abuse in relationships that you notice will be results of the abuse more often than the abuse itself. Your friend or loved one may seem excessively preoccupied or stressed when this type of reaction did not occur before. They may become defensive about their relationship or about their actions regarding their relationship. You may also notice that this person starts to withdraw from other aspects of their life that they once enjoyed.
Conclusion: If you notice signs of emotional abuse you will want to help this person break free, but confronting them with your accusations may not be the best tactic. Start by subtly letting your friend know that they can trust you to be discreet if they wish to talk, but do not put pressure on them to do so. Make note of the signs of emotional abuse in relationships that you see present, and find local resources that you can consult regarding getting your friend the help they need to break free. Above all, try to maintain a meaningful connection with this person so that they have an outlet outside of their relationship that will help them break free.