15 Signs of Emotional Abuse and Control In Relationships

Relationships Are Not Fair

At some point, you have to realize that some people can stay in your heart, but not in your life. That’s what Sandi Lynn said. It’s true, you know. There are those people who will stay in your life forever; and then there are those for who we are better off when they remain within incalculable distance. I learned this the hard way… but I’m grateful that I learned it anyway.

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If you look back on your relationships – yes, family included – you will see that relationships are hardly ever fair. The sooner you recognize this, the quicker you learn to navigate through them.

Let me explain.

From the day we are born, we begin taking. We take our much needed nutrition and substinance from our mothers. We take the hands of those older than us so that we can learn how to walk. We hang on, never minding or even knowing that they have to bend and break their backs in the process of keeping us upright.



How Relationships Thrive

Relationships thrive when we are able to give or take – or both – from the other. And this goes on well into our adult years.

Your best friend? You love how she makes you laugh, or how she listens to you when you are broken and in tears.

Your first boyfriend? You loved him because he was the first boy to give you attention and make you feel beautiful.

Your parents? They provided for you as a child. And you returned to them when adulting was not as easy as you thought.

Your ex-husband? You married him because you felt secure in his love.

Words of Wisdom That Weren’t

My mother once told me… actually no. My mother told me a million times over, that you should be with someone who loves you more than you love them. I can’t recall the many situations in which she would put forward this golden piece of advice. But I trusted her. “I’m the only one who will ever tell you the truth”, she would say.

It took me a long time and years of pain to learn that this golden piece of wisdom was nothing but plain narcissistic thinking.

Being with people who loved me more than I loved them, made me undervalue the power of love and happiness. Little did I know that being with someone who loved me more than I would ever love them only made me the loneliest person… for it was because of this that I never knew how amazing it would feel to truly love someone, regardless of whether they loved me more or not.

What is Emotional Abuse and Manipulation?

We often talk of toxic relationships. While there is no real finite definition as to what a toxic relationship is; to put it simply, a toxic relationship is one that destroys your self-esteem and corrupts your sense of self through emotional abuse and control.

There are many signs that you should be aware of and which, as soon as you identify them, you should steer clear from and wave sayonara to.

The first thing you should know for certain is that toxic relationships don’t start off as being toxic. No. It happens ever so slowly that you don’t even see it happening. It can take years… so that when it finally hits you, you think – “no, it can’t be”.

Relationships turn toxic when we allow them to. When we ignore and allow toxic behavior in our relationships to continue, they have the power to harm our sense of self and destroy our well-being.

The second is that toxic relationships are not always romantic relationships. No – far from it. Relationships with just about anybody, if you allow it, can turn toxic. That includes your friends, family, coworkers, and even your own children.


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15 Signs of Emotional Abuse and Control:

  1. It doesn’t feel good – When being with someone you love doesn’t actually feel good, then you know that something isn’t right. Love should come easily.
  2. You’re walking on eggshells – If you worry that you don’t know what will set them off, and that you have to tread carefully; then this isn’t a good sign.
  3. You feel like you can’t say no – Saying “no” should be an option that is open to everyone involved. You should not be afraid to say no to someone.
  4. They put you down in front of other people – While it may seem like it’s done in a joking manner, if it happens too often; you know as much as I do that this isn’t healthy.
  5. They have nothing good to say about you or what you have achieved – Life is full of ups and downs. It’s a wild ride, right? So you should surround yourself with the people who cheer for you and take pride in your achievements, no matter how small.
  6. They take your opinions for granted – If what you think doesn’t matter to them, then why should they matter to you?
  7. They control your thoughts and the things you do – Are your thoughts demeaned? Are the things you do always put down?
  8. They always point out your flaws or never have anything nice to say about you  – We all have our own quirks and flaws, so what gives?
  9. They blame you for everything that goes wrong – Some things are outside of our control. No actually, a lot of things are outside of our control! Not everything is your fault.
  10. They do not respect you – Whether you are younger or older, the mother or the daughter, the boss or the employee… you deserve respect. That’s all there is to it.
  11. They do not respect your boundaries – do they go through your things without your permission?  Do they hold a grudge when you say no?
  12. They don’t care about how you feel – because it’s always about them.
  13. They make you an extension of themselves – Instead of being your own person with your own life to manage, they expect you to manage things for them too.
  14. They make threats to control you – They threaten to hurt themselves if you go against their wishes.
  15. They do not take accountability for their actions, and instead blame you or others



But I Love Them

Disassociating or walking away from someone who is emotionally abusive or controlling can be one of the most difficult things you may have to do in your life. How can it not be? It’s not easy to walk away from someone you love. They could be your husband… or even your own mother or child.

I Can’t – I Feel Guilty

I get it. I really, really understand how you feel. I too have been in a couple of relationships which were toxic. Relationships where I was emotionally controlled and abused. So I know how you feel.

For years and years, I allowed myself to be emotionally abused and controlled by two people I loved. Two people whose relationships I valued and never thought of as being controlling. Because they were my own mother and my now ex-husband, I never – not for a single moment – thought that there was anything wrong. I thought it was MY responsibility to keep them happy in life. I thought that because I was the stronger one… I should remain strong and keep serving their needs.

Little did I know that I was actually the weak one. I was the one who couldn’t walk away… couldn’t say no, and took all the blame.

My mother blamed me for my father’s death. And every time something went wrong, she would without fail, bring up my father’s death.

My ex-husband blamed me for the lack of success in his career… and even for his lack of friends.

It’s a long story… but no, I did not cause my father’s heart failure. No, I did not sabotage my ex-husband’s career. And no, it’s not my fault that he couldn’t make friends or forge substantial relationships.

And to you, my dear, I say:

  • No, you’re not too fat.
  • No, you’re not ugly.
  • No, you’re not a loser.
  • No, you’re not a failure.
  • No. Just because she is your mother, it doesn’t give her the right to treat you that way.
  • No. Just because he is your husband, it doesn’t mean that he is right.
  • No. Just because you are a stay-at-home mom, it doesn’t mean that you have to do it all.
  • No. Just no.

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5 Things You Should Do Immediately

If you’re in a toxic relationship with one who is emotionally abusive or controlling, the first step is to recognize and acknowledge it. When you recognize and acknowledge the situation, you accept that it exists.

  1. Make a decision to change it. Now that you have recognized that there is something wrong in your relationship, make a decision to change it. Make the decision that you will no longer allow yourself to be used and manipulated.
  2. Put yourself and your needs first. Look after yourself. Love yourself. As you will have already seen, the rise of emotional abuse and control in your relationships did not happen overnight. You have been programmed to think and act in a certain way. No more. That’s enough. Put yourself first.
  3. Set boundaries for yourself. Say no, when you need to.
  4. Accept that you cannot change them. They are who they are, and YOU cannot change them. Only they can change themselves.
  5. Walk away and do not look back. Lastly, do not blame yourself. This is not something that YOU have done. Reach out for support, and make plans to move on. And when you do… don’t look back. Why? Because you love yourself and you deserve better.

Go Further:

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How to Be Free from Emotional Abuse and Control in Relationships - This Blended Home of Mine _ Signs of Emotional Abuse, Toxic Relationships, Walking Away from Toxic Relationships
Emotional Abuse and Control 15 Signs You Should Know - This Blended Home of Mine _ Signs of Emotional Abuse, Toxic Relationships, Walking Away from Toxic Relationships

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