How to Identify an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

Story by Christina Amato
Photo Illustration by Anne Langan

Healthy relationships can seem like they’re hard to come by, but they really aren’t.

What is hard to do? Escape an emotionally abusive relationship. Emotionally abusive relationships are hard to get out of, and make you feel like you are trapped.

As humans, we cling on to what we believe to be the best to be true. To quote “Perks of Being A Wallflower”, “We accept the love we think we deserve”.

But you deserve better, we all deserve better. I have seen many of my friends get stuck in the rut of being emotionally abused, and they truly believe that they aren’t. No one deserves to be treated so poorly. So, from an outsider’s perspective, here are the signs that you may be in an emotionally abusive relationship.

Note: Don’t think a healthy relationship is perfect, because it isn’t. People in healthy relationships can argue, be mad at each other and have normal human emotions. But, there are huge differences between a healthy and unhealthy relationship environment.

If you or a loved one is experiencing the signs of emotional abuse in a relationship, please learn more about Central Michigan University’s counseling options.

The Signs
1. They constantly blow you off.

You feel like you aren’t a priority to them. They cancel plans frequently and make you feel unimportant. You feel like you have to beg them to take you out into public places or simply go grocery shopping with you. You feel like you have to vie for their full attention because you feel they are canceling plans because they do not want to be with you. They may like hanging out with you in private because of isolation.

2. They push you into quick involvement.
They may say something along the lines of “I have never loved someone so quickly” or push you into a sexual act you may not be quite ready for yet. This probably happened very early in your relationship, and at the time you felt very uncomfortable, but have since become numb. You feel as if you have been taken advantage of, but it is okay because it was your significant other. They might convince you to go out or stay in because they want you to, not because it is best for you.

3. They blame you for their issues.
Your significant other does not take responsibility for their actions. If you are in a fight, they automatically blame you. You are the sole responsibility for the fight and you feel that you are always the cause of their unhappiness.

You are not.

You feel like even if you try to speak your mind, you get shut down. The thoughts in your head make you want to believe that you will do anything to make it up to them, even if you know you did nothing wrong.

4. They make fun of you in front of others.
No, not in the teasing way. If you feel uncomfortable, and want to leave, it is not okay.

You feel like you are the butt of all jokes, but at the end of the day, you are told that you are loved and it was a joke. If you feel that your feelings were crushed, and that the only reason you are brought around is for entertainment, you need to get out of that situation. No amount of  “I love you’s” can fix it.

5. They don’t make you feel like a priority.
Perhaps most importantly, your significant other will put others before you. They will make you feel like not only are you picked last in the team line up, but that you are also invaluable.

These wavering emotions are the reasons that you feel on a constant roller coaster, stuck and unable to decipher what you are feeling. If you don’t feel okay with them in public, but feel fine with them in private, that’s not healthy.

Breaking Away from the Toxic Situation
No relationship is perfect, but it is important to recognize your relationship’s imperfections to determine if you can be happy with this person. Your happiness is first, then your significant other’s happiness.

If you feel that you cannot function without their happiness before yours, maybe it’s time to think about priorities, and living a happy, healthy life.

Central Michigan University is a big campus and if you are settling for one person, know that there are many more out there that will love you for you.