It’s not hard to recognize emotional abusers because you will definitely find yourself feeling drained when you are around them.

Emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse. It leaves the victim with no self-worth, low self-esteem, they can feel totally dependent on their abuser. It can be incredibly destructive to their mental health, but how can you avoid getting into a relationship with an emotional abuser?

Are there tell-tale signs that raise red flags to warn us that they could be emotionally abusive? We think so.

Here are just some of the ways you can spot an emotionally abusive person:

1. Verbal Put-downs

An emotional abuser will delight in putting his or her partner down in public and want to cause the most embarrassment for them.

2. Emotional abusers can be cruel

They typically have no empathy for people, their partner or animals. Their only concern is for themselves. If it doesn’t hurt them they really couldn’t be bothered.

3. Isolation from Family and Friends

Getting a partner isolated from their nearest and dearest is one of their very first tasks. This could be by physically moving away or by making it difficult to see other people.

4. Wants you to think they are perfect

Emotional abusers do not accept flaws from other people and as such, they want you to think they are perfect, but they are far from it. They might work hard at projecting an image of perfection but look more closely and you’ll see the cracks. From their image to the work they do, it is all smoke and mirrors.

5. Controlling the finances

Having absolute control over the money that comes into the home is a sure way of keeping someone exactly where you want them. Preventing them from working and holding onto money keeps their victim subjected.

6. Constant mood swings

Never knowing what mood your partner is going to be in is not only extremely draining but can produce high levels of anxiety. It can also make you want to please your partner more so that they are always in a good mood.

7. Initially charming and helpful

Many people that end up with emotional abusers say that they were attracted to their partners because they were so charming and confident. It made them naturally gravitate to them.

8. Emotional abusers can be childish

Initially, emotional abusers may appear charming but if they do not get what they want their childishness soon comes out. They will make unreasonable demands and leave you wondering what you did wrong.

9. They have issues but don’t acknowledge them

It is clear that people who emotionally abuse others often do so because of something that happened to them in their past. When people confront these issues they become healthier human beings, but refusing to accept that anything happened is extremely damaging, not only to that person but those around them.

10. They blame you for their unhappiness or problems

If only you hadn’t gone out that night, if only you hadn’t looked at that guy in the supermarket, if only you hadn’t had so many previous lovers, etc. etc. etc. The abuser will blame all their problems on anyone but their own actions.

11. They can be very jealous

Jealousy is a sign of insecurity. The abuser’s subconscious will be asking ‘Why is this person with me?’ Their conscious self, however, will be warning them that their partner is disrespecting by flirting with others, even if this is only happening in the abuser’s mind.

12. Emotional abusers are judgemental about others

An emotional abuser will be quick to judge another person. Anything can set them off, they could have gone to the wrong school, wear the wrong kind of clothes, hang out with the wrong type of people. If an abuser sees them as any kind of threat they are out.

13. They want to project the perfect image

Image can mean many different things to an abuser, and not even concern them directly. For instance, projecting a good image could mean that they have sent their children to the best school, or their kids got the best grades. So long as something to do with them turned out well they are happy.

15. They sulk or withdraw for days when upset

This goes back to childish behaviour and follows a pattern where the victim will realise it is easier to placate the abuser and not upset them in the first place by modifying their own behaviour, rather than put up with days of not speaking.



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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Mary Kingsley

    That was a very interesting article. One of the most grounded.

    Than you for what you must have gone through in order to write it %)

  2. Frank

    Was married for 29 years to the exact person you described and he tried throughout the entire time to destroy myself and my children throughout the marriage and for the following 16 years – he put a beautiful family through horror and though it took every ounce of strength we could muster we fought back and survived his malice and we know we are very good people and very kind and he cannot take that away from us – just bang on in your assessment of abuser – if someone out there is living in that hell – don’t be afraid – just get out – I stayed way too long and it was the wrong thing to do – we had nothing when we left and everything when we left

  3. Kim Newsom

    You forgot number 14.

  4. Clarissa Harris

    I have been through every abuse imaginable,but I am not going to identity myself as a victim and I am not going to keep being a victim


    I sent this to my boyfriend now my ex today .when I sent the text . I said in the text interesting. Not blaming or accusing. He immediately sent me a text back saying you know your describing yourself.!! I couldn’t do anything but chuckle to myself and texted back . You know you just validated everything in what this article said. His reply Dig it…

  6. Jose Hernandez

    I emailed this article to my boyfriend. As a former victim of physical abuse, as well as an aggressor, I am conflicted about my position and my my feelings. I wish I could control myself but my willpower remains defeated with this uncontrollable fits of anger

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