Emotional Abuse Signs are Everywhere!

There are emotional abuse signs everywhere in society. In fact, we are likely abused multiple times daily in a majority of our relationships and interactions. Most of the time, when we think of emotional abuse, we think of our romantic relationships, such as marriage or common-law relationships. Sometimes we think of the relationships we have with our parents, but the truth is emotional abuse is rampant, and it permeates every aspect of society in every possible relationship.

Psychological, Verbal & Emotional Abuse Signs

Psychological, verbal and emotional abuse signs are the most easily recognized and the list of examples is very lengthy and likely not complete.

  • Abandonment
  • Angry attacks
  • Another person acts like a false martyr
  • Another person behaves hyper-defensively all the time
  • Another person behaves hyper-reactively all the time
  • Another person behaves in a reckless, dangerous way so he/she gets hurt often
  • Another person constantly sabotaging their own immune system so he/she is sick all the time
  • Another person uses false self-guilt to manipulate and coerce you
  • Being ungracious when receiving gifts and kind gestures
  • Belittling a person
  • Betrayal
  • Blame-shifting
  • Brainwashing
  • Bringing up old issues
  • Certain mannerisms, such as snapping fingers in someone’s face
  • Coming home drunk or stoned
  • Constant criticism
  • Degrading another person
  • Deliberately creating a mess for someone else to clean up
  • Demanding an accounting of a person’s time and routine
  • Denying or taking away responsibilities or privileges
  • Disbelieving a person
  • Dismissing one’s ideas and opinions
  • Egging a person on, challenging a person to engaging a person in physical violence
  • Expecting a person to conform to a role
  • Failing to keep commitments
  • False accusations
  • Finding fault
  • Friendship or support of people who are abusive
  • Giving the “silent treatment”
  • Gossiping
  • Having a double standard for another person
  • Having pictures that indicate hate or violence against another’s gender
  • Hostile looks
  • Humiliating
  • Ignoring
  • Inappropriate expression of jealousy
  • Indifference
  • Insisting on always getting your own way
  • Insulting
  • Intentional embarrassing
  • Intimidation
  • Isolation (physical or emotional)
  • Labeling
  • Lashing out
  • Laughing in a person’s face
  • Lying
  • Making fun of appearance or ability
  • Making one feel inferior, not ‘good enough’, worthless
  • Making someone do illegal things
  • Making someone drop charges
  • Making someone feel crazy or stupid
  • Making someone feel guilty
  • Manipulating a person
  • Minimizing a person’s work or contribution
  • Name calling
  • Neglecting a person
  • Never really forgiving, holding grudges
  • Not coming home
  • Overpowering another’s emotions
  • Picking fights
  • Pressuring a person
  • Pressuring a person to stay while drugs or alcohol are being abused
  • Prolonged silence
  • Punishing a person by not sharing in household chores
  • Put-downs disguised as jokes
  • Putting a person on a pedestal
  • Real or suggested involvement with other persons
  • Refusing to deal with issues
  • Refusing to do things with or for another person
  • Refusing to talk and listen
  • Rejection
  • Repeatedly pointing out mistakes (real or perceived)
  • Ridiculing a person
  • Ridiculing food preferences
  • Sarcasm
  • Saying one thing, meaning another
  • Scapegoating
  • Snide remarks
  • Spiteful comments
  • Starting arguments
  • Staying focused on the negative (fundamental attribution error)
  • Taking advantage of fears
  • Teasing
  • Telling jokes that belittle or indicate hatred toward the other’s genders or the other’s sexual orientation
  • Threatening a person with the loss of immigration status
  • Threatening suicide unless…
  • Threatening to get drunk or stoned unless
  • Threatening to unjustly report a person to the authorities
  • Treating a person as a child
  • Turning a situation against her
  • Unflattering nicknames
  • Verbal threats
  • Withholding affection
  • Withholding affection and emotional support
  • Yelling

Emotional Abuse Signs Surrounding Reproduction, Pregnancy & Childbirth

A lesser known category of emotional abuse signs involves the experience of childbirth, reproduction and pregnancy.

  • Blaming her because the infant is the “wrong” sex
  • Demanding sex soon after childbirth
  • Denial the child is his
  • Denying her access to her newborn child
  • Forcing her to have an abortion
  • Not supporting her or helping out after she comes home with the baby
  • Refusing sex on the grounds that her pregnant body is ugly
  • Refusing to allow her to breast-feed
  • Refusing to allow or forcing her to use contraception
  • Refusing to support her during the birth
  • Refusing to support her during the pregnancy
  • Suggesting or promoting pregnancy pacts
  • Sulking or making her feel bad for time spent with the baby

Employment-Based Emotional Abuse Signs

Emotional abuse signs in the career and employment realm are magnified because of fear of economic instability if one takes a defensive stance.

  • Accolades and gratitude are offered in a forced way
  • Being berated for being inaccessible while on vacation
  • Being disrespected in alternative work arrangements
  • Being reminded you can be fired
  • Company policies are not evenly enforced
  • Constant criticism
  • Constantly being told you are lucky to have a job
  • Constantly complaining about your right to vacation time
  • Deliberate misinformation
  • Exploitation of time and talents without receiving agreed upon compensation
  • False accusations
  • False emergencies and being assigned useless make work projects when you are on vacation
  • Gossip and lies
  • Important problems are trivialized
  • Impossible schedule
  • Jumping to conclusions about you
  • Lots of yelling, screaming, cursing
  • Making assumptions about you
  • Objects are physically thrown at you
  • Passive-aggressive retaliation
  • Performance reviews are misused to force hidden agendas
  • Playing favorites
  • Public humiliation
  • Refusing to listen to pertinent information
  • Remembering your mistakes
  • Sabotage
  • Significant lack of resources needed to do work
  • Stolen work credit
  • You’re not invited to relevant meetings, projects and gatherings (deliberate exclusion)

Emotional Abuse Signs in Social or Public Settings

Emotional abuse signs are obvious in social or public settings, but so few step in to help and often times victims will work hard to pretend there is no problem.

  • Being rude to a person’s friends or relatives
  • Censoring a person’s mail
  • Change of personality with others
  • Controlling what a person does
  • Controlling what a person reads
  • Controlling where a person goes
  • Controlling whom a person sees
  • Controlling whom a person talks to
  • Dictating a person’s behavior
  • Dictating a person’s mode of dress
  • Failing to pass on messages
  • Habitually choosing friends, activities or work rather than being with a person
  • Insisting on accompanying a person into the doctor’s office
  • Interfering with a person’s family or friends
  • Making a “scene” in public
  • Making a person account for himself or herself
  • Not allowing a person access to family or friends
  • Not giving a person space or privacy
  • Putting down or ignoring a person in public
  • Treating a person like a servant

Emotional Abuse Signs Involving Children

Emotional abuse signs surrounding our children are a touchy subject because most likely believe it is none of our business.

  • Assaulting a person in front of the children
  • Embarrassing a person in front of the children
  • Initiating false child-abuse charges against a person
  • Making a person stay at home with the children
  • Not sharing responsibility for the children
  • Putting down a person’s parenting ability
  • Teaching children to abuse the other parent through name calling, hitting, etc.
  • Threatening to abduct the children or telling a person he or she will never get custody

Emotional Abuse Signs During Separation or Divorce

Emotional abuse signs during separation and divorce can be particularly heinous.

  • Buying the children’s affection with expensive gifts
  • Denying the other parent access to the children
  • Failing to supply a valid phone number and being inaccessible much or all of the time
  • Not showing up on time to pick up children or not having them back on time
  • Public shaming
  • Pumping children for information about the other parent’s new relationships.
  • Telling children the other parent is responsible for breaking up the family
  • Using children to transport messages to the other parent

Emotional Abuse Signs in the Home Environment

A person’s home should be a haven of comfort, familiarity, safety and security, but emotional abuse signs in this environment often tell a different story.

  • Harming pets
  • Locking her in or out
  • Mowing over her garden
  • Punching walls
  • Ripping clothing
  • Slamming doors
  • Throwing objects or food
  • Throwing or destroying her possessions

Emotional Abuse Regarding Vehicles

Few people would say that emotional abuse signs related to vehicles are a form of abuse, but they are very much so.

  • Behaving in an aggressive or excessively frustrated manner towards other drivers
  • Chasing or hitting another person with a vehicle
  • Deliberate tail gating
  • Driving recklessly, pounding the steering wheel
  • Driving too fast
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Forcing another person into a vehicle
  • Grabbing the steering wheel while another person’s driving
  • Hitting another person while he or she is driving
  • Killing or injuring another person in a deliberate accident
  • Prohibiting another person from using a vehicle by tampering with the engine, taking the keys, etc.
  • Pushing or pulling another person out of a vehicle when it’s in still or in motion
  • Putting your foot over another person’s foot on the gas pedal
  • Refusing a person a ride home from an agreed upon destination
  • Threatening to kill another person by driving into an oncoming car, etc.

Sexual Abuse Signs

Emotional abuse signs related to sexuality are in many people’s eyes are the worst of the worst and there is no question on this, in my opinion.

  • Accusations of affair
  • Any unwanted sexual contact
  • Being rough
  • Criticizing another person’s sexual ability
  • Degrading another person’s body parts
  • Displaying pornography that makes another person feel uncomfortable
  • Forcing another person to have sex
  • Forcing another person to have sex with animals
  • Forcing another person to have sex with others
  • Forcing another person to view pictures of the sexual exploitation of the other gender
  • Forcing sex after childbirth or surgery
  • Forcing sex when another person’s sick
  • Hounding another person to have sex
  • Knowingly transmitting sexual diseases
  • Pinching, slapping, grabbing or poking sexual organs and body parts
  • Pressuring another person to pose for pornographic photos
  • Purposely not washing and expecting sex
  • Sexual name calling
  • Sleeping around
  • Telling sexual jokes that are uncomfortable for another person to hear
  • Treating another person as a sex object
  • Unwanted fondling in public
  • Using sex as the basis or solution for an argument
  • Uttering threats to obtain sex

Religious or Spiritual Abuse Signs

(Emotional Abuse is Often a Large Part of Religious or Spiritual Abuse)

The emotional abuse signs related to religious abuse should not be ignored or glossed over. They can be very troublesome and often involve many other types of abuse.

  • Excessive spending for religion
  • Interpreting religion your way
  • Mocking another person’s beliefs
  • Preventing another person from attending church
  • Requiring sex acts or drug use as religious acts
  • Using church position to pressure for sex or favors
  • Using another person, then demanding forgiveness
  • Using religion to justify abuse or dominance

Financial, Economic, or Material Abuse Signs

(Emotional Abuse Often Underlies Financial Abuse)

  • Canceling another person’s insurance
  • Forging another person’s name
  • Giving another false receipts or accounting of finances
  • Insisting on perfectly even distribution of expenses by tracking all receipts
  • Keeping family finances a secret
  • Not paying fair share of bills
  • Not spending money on special occasions’
  • Pressuring another to take full responsibility for finances
  • Pressuring or controlling another person’s working conditions
  • Preventing another person from taking a job
  • Sabotaging another person’s efforts to attain economic freedom
  • Spending money foolishly or beyond means
  • Spending on addictions, gambling, sexual services
  • Taking another person’s money
  • Withholding money

Physical Abuse Signs

(Emotional Abuse Signs Often Indicate Physical Abuse)

Emotional abuse in is a major part of physical abuse.

  • Any unwanted physical contact
  • Breaking another person’s bones
  • Cutting or burning another person
  • Denying or restricting another person food or drink
  • Force-feeding another person
  • Hiding or withholding necessary medication
  • Hitting her with objects or whipping another person
  • Ignoring another person’s illness or injury
  • Intimidating another person
  • Kicking, punching or pinching another
  • Knifing or shooting another person
  • Pressuring or tricking another person into alcohol or drug abuse
  • Pulling or pushing another person
  • Restraining another person in any way
  • Slapping, hitting or shaking another person
  • Spitting on another person
  • Standing too close to another person
  • Threatening to kill or injure another person
  • Throwing her or throwing things at another person
  • Urinating on another person

Ritual Abuse Signs

(Emotional Abuse is Often a Large Part of Ritual Abuse)

Most of us don’t really consider ritual abuse when we think of abuse in general, but it’s a large problem in society, none the less.

  • Animal mutilation
  • Forced cannibalism
  • Forcing another person to participate in rituals
  • Forcing another person to witness rituals
  • Human sacrifices
  • Mutilation
  • Ritualized animal sacrifices
  • Suggesting or promoting suicide or suicide pacts

Why are We So Troubled as a Society?

A major part of the problem seems to be that we live in a society of induced helplessness and blame. We do not take responsibility for ourselves and we need to be able to blame others for all of our mistakes and problems. We have to because blaming ourselves would only make the  pile higher of things for which we already hate ourselves.

It seems, we no longer have have emotional control and as a result we let the natural human tendency known as fundamental attribution error (the tendency to see everything through a negative filter) run amuck.

Because so many of us see so many things through this negative filter, we feel bad a lot of the time. And because we feel so bad, we want others to feel bad as well. There is a saying that “misery loves company.”  The result is that the list of emotional abuse signs grows long indeed.

Emotional wellness is completely out of balance in today’s society. If you think you are the victim of emotional abuse, you probably are, but chances are you are also victimizing someone in your life as well.

Unfortunately, the problem is not going to go away anytime soon. We are so driven to get out from under the blinding glare of blame that we don’t even realize how abusive we are behaving.

Chronic disease is a huge part of the problem too.  We have let our immune systems get so weak over the years with bad food and stressful lifestyles that we have depleted our bodies to the point of being under constant attack and now so many of us are so sick that we have become true burdens on society.

We are miserable and we are taking it out on everyone around us. We have Chronic Depression and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia and every other ailment known to man. We feel like crap all the time so we see nothing wrong with making other people’s lives miserable too. In many cases, we miss the very serious emotional abuse signs happening all around us.

Signs of Emotional Abuse are Everywhere

The abuse is everywhere.  There are emotional abuse signs in family relationships. The abuse flows in all directions in this setting. She is abusing him; he is abusing her; they are abusing their children; the children are abusing the parents.  Home-based abuse shoots in as many directions as there are points on a compass.

There are emotional abuse signs at work; there is emotional abuse in the community; there are emotional abuse signs in churches; there is emotional abuse in politics; and there are emotional abuse signs in all our school environments. You can’t escape from all the emotional abuse and other types of abuse all over our society.

It truly is the ultimate wellness challenge to be solved. Emotional wellness or emotional well-being is achievable; though, it will take significant effort.

Just like any other wellness category, it will take serious critical thinking skills and problem solving skills to fix the mess.  You may not believe that it can be fixed, but I still believe there is hope.  An excellent starting point is a smile and the simple words, “I am truly sorry, please forgive me.”  

We all have bad days, bad weeks, bad months, even bad years and bad decades.  But, it is not the next guy’s fault.  It is our own fault.  And we can choose to solve all our wellness challenges so that the emotional abuse signs in our world can be reduced. Get started dealing with the emotional abuse in your life by calling these resource numbers to get more information.