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Signs of An Emotionally Abusive Boyfriend or Partner

On this page there are two lists (with some overlap) and some suggestions for what you can do

First list:

- Doesn’t want you to tell people about the problems between the two of you.

- Makes you feel guilty when you don’t want to have sex.

- Pressures you into having sex when you don’t want to.

- Physically forces you into submission when he wants sex after you have sad no.

- Doesn’t accept or respect your decisions.

- When chatting, sends you a lot of nudges when you aren’t answering fast enough.

- Implies that you lie or directly calls you a liar.

- Doesn’t trust you.

- Checks up on you.

- Comes to your home, school or workplace to look for you when you have asked him not to.

- Keeps sending you text messages or calling if you don’t answer.

- Hangs up the phone when he is talking to you.

- Tells you to hang up the phone when you are talking to friends.

- Gives you the silent treatment.

- Expects you to follow him and ask him what's wrong when he walks off.

- Apologizes but then does the same thing.

- Blames you for things.

- Makes you feel guilty for not spending more time with him.

- Tells you what you “should” do.

- Tells you to do things rather than asking you to do them.

- Tells you to do things rather than telling you how he feels.

- Says he can’t live without you or he will kill himself if you leave him.

- Makes you feel responsible for his feelings

- Makes you afraid of telling him the truth, so you find yourself not telling him things or lieing to him in order to avoid fights and conflicts.

- Says things like "I can't believe you are doing this to me." and "You promised me."

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While all of these are emotional or psychological, remember that emotional abuse is often the first type of abuse shown or used.  It often escalates and becomes a physical form of abuse.  It always involves control - one partner controlling the actions of the other.  If this kind of behavior is present, you have a potentially abusive situation that is likely to only get worse as the relationship progresses.

Grabbing your arm or blocking the door when you are trying to leave is one of the first signs the emotional abuse may later turn into physical violence.

Another early warning sign is physically taking something from you, like your cell phone to check who you were texting or talking to.

While the emotional abuse could lead to physical violence, it doesn't always lead to this. The abusive person might learn he can sufficiently control you with psychological abuse, guilt trips, fear, professions of love, apologies, gifts and other manipulation.

Links

Charateristics of emotional abuse / emotionally abused people

Lies abusers tell - http://www.hhhh.org/maia/lies.html

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List Compiled by Mary Jo Fay

1. Does your partner have a big ego and feel that others are less important than he?
2 Does your partner like to control others and the environment?
3 Does your partner feel that rules don't apply to him?
4 Does he or she take advantage of others to achieve his needs?
5 Does he or she show little respect for others, and may in fact refer to others as "idiots"?
6 Does he or she often criticize others?
7 Is he or she quick to take offense at comments others offer towards them, if those comments are not complimentary?
8 Does he have a quick temper?
9 Can his personality change at a moment's notice?
10 Does he ever exaggerate the truth or outright lie?
11 Does he deny he has any issues to work on but believes that if everyone will do as he tells them to do, then all will be fine?
12 Does he seem totally oblivious to understanding empathy and compassion for others but demands everyone jump if he is slighted or has his feelings hurt?
13 Does he blame others for all his problems?
14 Did he start out the relationship being very charismatic, charming, romantic, and almost "perfect" but those behaviors changed quickly as he became hardened, abusive, critical, and perhaps violent?
15 Did he suggest love and marriage while only in the relationship for a short time?

 

Positive Steps for Coping with An Abusive Relationship

Here is a list from an American university counseling center. I would add that it is important to document or keep a writen or verbally recorded journal of what is happening, even if it doesn't seem very signficant at the time. Small hurts, confusing remarks, disapproving facial expressions or tones of voice add up. Share this docuentation with at least one friend either online or off. - S. Hein

  • Maintain outside relationships and avoid isolation.
  • Seek "reality checks" by talking to others if you suspect that your partner has been abusive.
  • Learn about resources available to people in abusive relationships.
  • Identify a "safe place" you can go to in an emergency if your partner becomes threatening or violent.
  • Read self-help books about healthy and unhealthy relationships.
  • Seek professional counseling or talk to someone you trust to help you sort through the issues that may be keeping you in an abusive relationship.
  • Begin to develop a support system, so that if you choose to leave the relationship, you will not be alone.

Rather then dwelling on blaming yourself for what you've done in the past, focus on how you want to live from this day forward and then take steps to make this happen.

From http://counseling.uoregon.edu/dnn/SelfhelpResources/SexualAssaultSexualAbuse/AbusiveRelationships/tabid/388/Default.aspx

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Abusive Relationships



Relationship abuse occurs in epidemic proportions. Here are some recent statistics:

One in three women experiences at least one physical assault by a partner during adulthood.
Young women ages 19-29 reported more violence by intimates than any other age group.
In Oregon, ninety percent of domestic violence victims are white. Forty-seven percent have at least some college education. Forty-three percent have household incomes of at least $35,000.

Although some relationships are mutually abusive, more frequently there is an imbalance of power in abusive relationships. While abuse may take the form of physical violence, abuse can also occur on an emotional and verbal level.
Signs of Abuse

Persistent put downs or statements that diminish one's worth or ability.
Controlling behavior.
Intense jealousy of friends, family, or other outside social contact.
Yelling, shouting, and intimidation.
Interrogating one's partner about time spent apart from the relationship.
Feeling threatened and intensifying the abuse when one's partner begins to move toward autonomy or independence, e.g., getting a better job, going back to school, making new friends, seeking counseling.
Demanding or coercing sex when one's partner is not interested.
Borrowing money without repaying it or taking things without asking and not returning them.
Physical abuse or the threat of physical harm.

Individuals who abuse their partners sometimes abuse substances as well or display other addictive behavior.

While appearing to be powerful, abusive individuals are often very dependent upon their partners for their sense of self-esteem. Sometimes they expect their partners to take care of day to day tasks which most adults handle for themselves. Abusive partners often feel powerless in the larger world; the relationship may be the only place where they feel a sense of power. Attacking their partner's abilities or worth is one way that abusive individuals maintain a sense of power, esteem, and control. At a deep emotional level, abusers often feels that they are not good enough and fear abandonment. By keeping their partners in a diminished, fearful, or dependent state, they attempt to ensure that their partners will not leave them.
Steps for Abusers

If you have abused your partner physically or emotionally, the following steps may help you begin to change this pattern:

When you start to feel angry, take a deep breath, focus on your body, and walk away from your partner. You can return once you've cooled down.
Recognize that anger is usually a secondary emotion masking more vulnerable feelings. Try to recognize the fear and hurt that lie beneath the anger.
Reflect upon the fact that your angry outbursts, while exerting a sense of control in the short term, may ultimately drive your partner away.
Redirect your anger in a way that does not hurt other people, such as engaging in intense physical activity.
Start keeping a journal. When you become angry, sit down with your journal and write down your thoughts and feelings.
Allow yourself to question your assumptions and expectations of your partner. For instance, when you feel hurt, this may reflect your own vulnerabilities, rather than any attempt by your partner to hurt you.
Recognize the need for help and seek it out. Talk to friends and others who can support your effort to change.
Work with a counselor to learn how to express your feelings without hurting or belittling your partner.
Join an anger management workshop or group.
Partners of abusive people often engage in "enabling" behavior. In essence, enabling behavior consists of taking care of the abusive partner, making excuses for him or her, and otherwise going along with the pattern of abuse. Enabling behavior may include the following:
Denying that a problem exists or convincing oneself that in spite of all evidence to the contrary, things will get better.
Maintaining a "front" to the outside world that everything is fine. Cleaning up after the abusive partner's messes or outbursts, e.g., intervening for them at work, apologizing for starting the fight, fixing broken doors and windows, putting on make-up to cover the bruises.
Smoothing over or tiptoeing around conflict areas in order to stay out of harm's way and to maintain a sense of peace.
Taking over everyday tasks that most adults do for themselves.

Enabling behavior is often a symptom of poor self-esteem. By taking care of one's partner physically or emotionally, one can feel needed or even loved. At a deeper level, a person who enables an abusive partner may feel that no one could love them for who they are, but only for what they can provide to others. This is why abusers often try to convince their partners that "no one else would want them." Enabling behavior not only traps one in an unhealthy, unsupportive relationship, but keeps one's abusive partner in a dependent position as well. The point here is not to blame oneself, but to understand one's relationship patterns.
Positive Steps for Coping with An Abusive Relationship

Maintain outside relationships and avoid isolation.
Seek "reality checks" by talking to others if you suspect that your partner has been abusive.
Learn about resources available to people in abusive relationships.
Identify a "safe place" you can go to in an emergency if your partner becomes threatening or violent.
Read self-help books about healthy and unhealthy relationships.
Seek professional counseling or talk to someone you trust to help you sort through the issues that may be keeping you in an abusive relationship.
Begin to develop a support system, so that if you choose to leave the relationship, you will not be alone.
Rather then dwelling on blaming yourself for what you've done in the past, focus on how you want to live from this day forward and then take steps to make this happen.

Eugene Resources for People in Abusive Relationships

Womenspace: counseling and support groups for women in abusive relationships, emergency shelter for battered women and their children, 24 hour crisis line, 485-6513.

Sexual Assault Support Services: Offers domestic violence support groups, self defense classes, etc., 630 Lincoln, 484-9791.

UO Crisis Line, para-professional counseling evenings and weekends, 346-4488.

University Counseling Center: drop-in clinic, individual, couples, and group therapy, 2nd floor Student Health Center Building, 346-3227.

American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence: Information, advocacy, and policy development. Website: http://www.abanet.org/domviol/home.html

Written by: Mark Evans, Ph.D., University of Oregon Counseling Center