Enough: Getting Out of an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

Man Yelling at Woman on the Floor

Most people assume that domestic abuse is strictly physical. However, abuse can also extend to emotional harm. Repeatedly causing a person to feel emotional and psychological distress is considered domestic abuse, and should be stopped immediately.

Seeing the signs and symptoms of emotional abuse can be a little trickier than looking for signs of physical abuse, which can lead to people hesitating to report it. According to anti-abuse group Pave, 72% of new cases reported over the last 10 years consisted of spousal abuse. Look out for these signs of hostile physical, emotional and psychological mistreatment within the family.

Humiliating Your Partner

According to legal experts from Singapore Divorce Lawyer, public humiliation by your partner is a form of psychological abuse. Public humiliation is a way for an abuser to break down your ego and make you reliant on his or her approval. This creates a relationship in which your self-esteem is dependent on the approval of your abuser.

Emotional Blackmail

This occurs when your abuser threatens you with emotional distress whenever they can’t get what they want from you. Emotional blackmail relies on fear, obligation and guilt. Your abuser will use their intimate knowledge of you to elicit a sense of fear (“if you don’t do this, I will leave!”), obligation (“I did this for you, so you must do this for me!”) and guilt (“Why won’t you do as I ask? I’ve done so much for you!”). Recognising this behaviour is essential in determining emotional abuse.

Threatening Self-Harm

By using your latent love for them, emotional abusers will often threaten to harm themselves if you ever decide to leave or break up with them. This kind of emotional blackmail often plays on your sense of fear that your partner will harm themselves, thus making it easy for them to control and making you more open to giving in to their demands.

While this list is not exhaustive, these are the basic signs of emotional abuse. If you, or anyone you know, are experiencing these signs, do not hesitate to call the police and the Family Service Center and seek temporary shelter.