Feeling insulted and wounded. Never measuring up. Walking on eggshells. If these statements describe your relationship, it is likely you are being emotionally abused. Emotional abuse is one of the hardest forms of abuse to recognize.
If these statements describe your relationship, it is likely you are being emotionally abused. Emotional abuse is one of the hardest forms of abuse to recognize. It can be subtle and insidious or overt and manipulative.
Either way, it chips away at the victim's self-esteem and they begin to doubt their perceptions and reality. The underlying goal in emotional abuse is to control the victim by discrediting, isolating, and silencing.
In the end, the victim feels trapped. They are often too wounded to endure the relationship any longer, but also too afraid to leave.
So the cycle just repeats itself until something is done. When emotional abuse is severe and ongoing, a victim may lose their entire sense of self, sometimes without a single mark or bruise. Instead, the wounds are invisible to others, hidden in the self-doubt, worthlessness and self-loathing the victim feels.
In fact, research indicates that the consequences of emotional abuse are just as severe as those from physical abuse. Consequently, the victim begins to agree with the abuser and becomes internally critical. Once this happens, most victims become trapped in the abusive relationship believing that they will never be good enough for anyone else. Emotional abuse can even impact friendships because emotionally abused people often worry about how people truly see them and if they truly like them.
What's more, emotional abuse can cause a number of health problems including everything from depression and anxiety to stomach ulcers, heart palpitations, eating disordersand insomnia. When examining your own relationship, remember that emotional abuse is often subtle.
Can dating an emotional bully not give
If you feel wounded, frustrated, confused, misunderstood, depressed, anxious or worthless any time you interact, chances are high that your relationship is emotionally abusive. Keep in mind, even if your partner only does a handful of these things, you are still in an emotionally abusive relationship. Remember, everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.
Emotionally abusive people display unrealistic expectations. Some examples include:. Emotionally abusive people invalidate you. Emotionally abusive people create chaos. Emotionally abusive people use emotional blackmail. Emotionally abusive people act superior and entitled. If you or a loved one are a victim of domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at for confidential assistance from trained advocates.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database. The first step in dealing with an emotionally abusive relationship is to recognize that it is happening.
It seems like he loves you and most of the time you get along well. Yet, there are times when the bully shows up and you wonder about the choice you've made. Dating a bully can chip away at your self-esteem and confidence, which is never good for you or the relationship. Dating a bully comes with its own set of problems. You may freeze up or suppress your own needs and give in, doing things his way to keep the peace.
This is a natural reaction but can allow resentment to build. You might also feel apprehensive as you want to brace yourself for the next bullying episode. What can you do handle the situation and retain your self-esteem? Here's how to deal with bullies, especially when you're in a relationship with one. These will help you navigate these emotional waters and potentially turn things around. Making this decision to no longer be a victim is very empowering.
From here you can start to take steps to address the bullying behavior or focus on self-preservation. Don't bring this up in the middle of an argument. Say something when things are calm again. Never teach that lesson. Good luck trying to deescalate the tantrums. Since I could never gain anything good, the best I could hope for was to go unnoticed.
For many years I lived in fear, convinced that all the bad things were my fault, as the useless thing I was. Then, one day which I clearly remember, as I will never forget the feelingsomething clicked and I got a rebound effect that turned me inside out.
None, zero, nil. I was told all the time that I was just useless cr. Some people told me that I give the impression of sleeping with one eye open, just in case the enemy breaks through. They may be right. Despite being a horrible emotional bully, I still have to praise myself for something: I never used physical violence on anybody. Somehow, I like to think that this is proof that I can be better than the people who mistreated me for twenty years.
Jan 21, In general, a relationship is emotionally abusive when there is a consistent pattern of abusive words and bullying behaviors that wear down a person's self-esteem and undermine their mental health. 1 ? What's more, mental or emotional abuse, while most common in dating and married relationships, can occur in any relationship including among friends, family members, and coworkers. Are You Dating an Emotional Bully? Extreme Jealousy and Overprotectiveness. It is perfectly natural to get a little jealous when your boyfriend or Constant Calling and Texting. Nowadays it is normal to text your significant other frequently. However, if they're Isolating You From Your Family.
A little light of hope. Well, bullies love to disappoint and humiliate people as well as backstab them which I love to do a lot since I witnessed my own mother abusing my father and the whole family. Yes, those types of people are mean and cruel to others by putting them down to show how powerful and indestructible they are. I know arrogant bullies get bullied back so easily for bullying and manipulating others aggressively.
It stinks to want to strive for power for yourself and over others because others are so easily offended. Oh Didakos, what I hate most are parents who never do anything about their personal flaws and abuse their own kids as a result.
What I love are people who have flaws and look for answers, for ways of overcoming and improving and turning their flaws into strengths. But what it does justify is the fact of the challenges. Your difficulties with patience and anger etc, are not your fault. But like you imply, remaining that way indefinitely is not justified by the fact of your personal history.
Those who have weaknesses and do nothing have embraced their weaknesses and have essentially proclaimed to the world that they are who they are and the world better adapt to their impatience and anger.
But it seems that you are looking for ways to transcend. I also love that you have not allowed yourself to descend into physical abuse. The results of the abuse you sustained over time is not uncommon.
But I hope you are actively learning and growing. Just be sure to choose one characteristic to work on at a time. Just choose one thing most effective growth comes from developing a strength rather than overcoming a weakness-studies have shown repeatedly that people who focus on strengths reach more of their goals more often than those who focus on changing a weakness and then go to work on that until you have developed it to a predetermined level short of perfection!
Then go to the next. There are scores of books, articles and personal stories out there of people starting from where you are, climbing those mountains in their lives and succeeding tremendously at living life beautifully.
Good luck with the journey and sorry for the delayed reply. Thank you for the article it has really opened my eyes. Step one comple. The reality of the way I am. From here on although it might be tough things are going to get better. Thank you for posting. Dave, you are a light on the horizon! If that has happened, be sure to recommit. Just get back up and keep working at working things out. Get whatever help is needed. Good luck on your journey, Dave! I promise not to miss your comment this time and let so much time go by before replying!
One thing you did NOT consider that you might want to. They seem to derive pleasure from the control and manipulation. Emotional violence can take the place in some very insidious forms. You failed to include that in your lists.
Wow, thank you for this post. I am being bullied by my husband so completely that I have no voice. Most of the time I disengage because really there is nothing to say, the only thing that matters is the way he defines everything.
Thank you! I came across this article when looking for advice on how to deal with the tattered remains of my relationship and I am afraid to say that I recognised a lot of these traits in myself. I was never aware that it might be me doing the emotional bullying and I am shocked and want to change it.
However, I am in a relationship with a boyfriend who is jealous, paranoid and controlling and who refuses to listen me when I try to reassure him that I would never cheat on him or even think about it. I am very against cheating and believe that if a couple is going through problems they should talk through them and that if one feels the need to go elsewhere they should end it, so these accusations are like an attack on my entire personality.
I have never cheated on him and have tried to treat him very well and always try to move on from these arguments. Just to describe briefly, the arguments have led to him throwing me out of the house in the middle of the night with nowhere else to go, breaking up with me and leaving me just in time for my 30th birthday and going through my email account looking for evidence against me he found none.
Is there ever a situation when reacting in the ways described in this article can be acceptable or if not acceptable then maybe understandable? I want to stop the horrible pattern and stop this behaviour.
Risk seem dating an emotional bully pity, that now
If he is paranoid and jealous now, he will still be so in the future, married or not. Get out and get away. Think about the kind of father he will be. Think about the lack of respect he must have to kick you out in the middle of the night. Think about your life forever with his jealousy and accusations and your anger and frustration and the screaming. If you stay with him, there will be no joy in your life.
You should feel like your best self when you are with the guy you love. Think about it this way: If you had a daughter in the same circumstances, what would you tell her to do?
Now, do that. I have been in a relationship for 11 years with a man whom I believe is a bully. If I disagree with him, he will use the silent treatment for weeks at a time. Just recently, he got angry at his job, walked out after only 5 weeks there. Mind you he has spent the greater portion of our relationship unemployed We had an argument about this as it is a pattern and financially the burden falls on me.
He posted nasty things on facebook and has seemed to make me the villain to his cousin and his wife as they are allowing him to stay on their couch, taking him out to dinner, letting him use their caretc. I was ready to leave him this round but then he always seems to have a way to pull me back in. I am not sure why. I am a reasonably intelligent woman, who has a great job, owns her own house, and does get regular compliments from the opposite sex.
I feels he will break me down until I feel like nothing and then somehow I am fighting to be back with him. I am not sure how to fight this cycle. I hide this from my family because I am mortified that I would allow someone to treat me this way and think that it is love.
When you can identify what your emotional need is, you can find another way to morally meet that need and be freer to let go of him. One alternative semi-step to just ending your marriage, is to give him an ultimatum that he must start going to couples therapy if he is to stay.
If he storms off again, cancel the appointment, let him know what awaits him, then let him know when he comes back when therapy will be. If he leaves again, kick him out and let him know he can only return when he shows up for his first session.
But it will at least give you some help sticking to the right course and him the opportunity to decide. Great post. This articulates a lot of things, and more or less confirms that I am married to an emotional bully. I do not know how to deal with it. Point 8 is a fantastic phrase, and exactly how she makes me feel Marriage Guidance did not work, as she never ever admits any fault in her behaviour. Without acknowledgement there seems no way of going forward. It is always my fault. Hi, thank you so much for the article.
It captures what is playing out in my home perfectly i think. I remarried 3 years ago to a man who has many positive qualities. The more he insults, shouts, swears and callsnamesn tmore endiveve I become and the more the arguments escalate. He wins all the arguments. How can I get a message through? Sometimes when men feel they have no control, like nothing they are doing has any positive effect, that helplessness can drive some to try harder to control and manipulate the desired outcome.
Perhaps the first step should be a hand-written letter from you to him. Letters can create an emotional distance that allows us to think about the thoughts being expressed rather then go into self-defense mode and miss the entire message. I love you.
But my first responsibility is to my daughter who preceded you. The only question is this: Now what? I need you to back down. I need you to release control to me.
This is my girl. She is mine. I MUST be able to ensure she feels loved and accepted and valued. We can talk about this, but not to negotiate whether or not. Only how and to what degree. And the conversation MUST be civil and cooperative and humble. This is what I need from you. Again, this is just what I would be inclined to do under similar circumstances. You would be better situated to know what may or may not work, but this may be a good starting point.
I wish you the best, Donna. Let me know how it goes if you decide my suggestion is a good idea. If you suspect violence in any way, be cautious and get support, but you must leave. My prayers are with you. I was an emotional bully for a large part of my 15 year marriage. My bullying was infrequent in the early part of my marriage but as the lack of respect, honor and support continued my bullying became more frequent. Her behavior made me more insecure and damaged than I already was.
7 Ways Childhood Trauma Follow You Into Adulthood
In all relationships the behavior of both people define what that relationship will be most of the time. Both people need to work on building up the other person and making them feel secure and loved. Playing the victim role will only insure the relationship will worsen and fail. You article is doing a disservice to all that read it.
I also learned through counseling that you can change someone by giving them your honor, respect and support. Adults are no different that children. You give them praise, respect, encouragement, etc. Give them blame, a lack of respect, lack of support and you shape them for the worse. Very interesting perspective, John.
So, an article that is centered on signs of emotional bullying and what the bully can do to stop, is somehow taking the victim view? How is this represented in what I wrote? If you bullied your wife, then YOU were the bully. We all choose how to react to the circumstances of our lives-both good and bad.
Her lack of respect etc did not MAKE you bully her. THAT, my friend, is the victim mentality. That is not only an emotional issue, it is a character flaw. She was just asking for it! They beat because they are violent, undisciplined, impatient and crappy people. Your wife may have helped create an emotional climate, but you are responsible for how you act within that climate.
THAT is emotional, character and spiritual self-responsibility, again, the opposite of victimhood. But the bullet is still loaded and the gun still fires. You changed the circumstances, but not the person inside. Okay, I may have come out with both guns blazing on this one, but I would love to hear your thoughts on my reply. Thank you for the great post and the responses it has generated.
This is not John, but I see he has not responded, however, I sympathize with many of his views, which you may have not appreciated fully.
I think he meant that in his situation both parties could be blamed for bullying. I think this describes my situation as well. I am married for twent-five years and love my wife who is intelligent, smart and beutiful and I cannot imagine my life without her. I am also attracted to her very much. Yet we have regular and frequent fights, in recent years increasingly. From my point of view, it starts that she blames me for something I do not deserve or I admit that I made a mistake but this does not satisfy her so she goes on and repeats the same blame.
She also recalls things from the past making connections with the present situation. Then I respond with many of the things you describe. For many years I always looked at myself as the victim who has been tricked in to the fight by inappropriate comments, etc.
I realized that I should also control myself, and I tried this by trying to be controlled and answering calmly. Sometimes this worked, but some other times it made the opposite effect and my wife responded with more blaming saying I paternalize or lecture her.
I also admit that my threshold is low and perhaps these fights made me hypersensitive. From your post I realize I respond with the same tactics or maybe I start them, who knows. The worst situation is when I want to be kind and positive with her but she refuses that without any apparent reason. If I feel being refused that makes me really scream and shout, eventhough I always regret this afterwards. Having read this and similar posts I want to control myself more of course, just it may not work.
Really what I cannot tolerate is her emotional refusal. We discussed these things previously and it seemed to work to some extent but the effect was transient and the situation got even worse. I also have the feeling that when she blames me with crazy things there could be some other issues behind what but bothers her yet she does not mention them directly. I felt that in many ways we are very similar and this has been the basis of our relationship.
We share the same views in many things but it seems that we are similar in creating these fights as well. Well, I know I am. He has anger issues and does the silent treatment and needs things done his way. And he apologises now. I just feel so sorry for him: the cards he was dealt. And I love him.
And he loves me. Is he worth it? Anyway, just thanks. We all have baggage right? I have been told that i am an emotional bully. I did not believe it but when I read through your article, every single thing applied to me, i hope i can change before i loose my loved ones. Sita, the first step to any personal growth and self-improvement is to recognize what needs to change.
Some people open them far too late, after marriages have fallen apart and children have fled and become estranged. So being able to see what needs addressing is a wonderful blessing. I wish you the best as you start this new adventure in your life. Remember to be patient with yourself as you work to improve.
Be sure to also focus on just one or two problem areas. If you spread your energy and focus too wide, you may not get much of anything done. You might even want to call your family together, let them know of your discovery, apologize and ask for their patience as you start to build on strengths and overcome challenges.
One of the worst cts of emotional bullying is how invisible it is to those outside - the bully is usually very careful to play their games only on those within their powerand also how you come to accept it as normal when your home life is so insular which they actually contribute to by assisting to cut you off from others they perceive as a threat to their domination.
For the victims - I liken it to the story of the elephant calf who was chained to a small spike in the ground early in life, and then when it gets to be an adult, that same small spike can hold it because it knows no different. I am an adult and can try at times stand up for myself with massive arguments and dramatics every time of course but I am realising all too late what impact this has had on our two boys now 18 and Part of the issue is that they know no different.
They accept this situation as normal.
Naturally, at every point I have tried to shield them but that generally turns into a greater heated argument. I am sick of feeling bad about myself. I am by nature a self critical person and I can tell you that the emotional bullying makes this worse - particularly when there is no equality with the other person unwilling to look at themselves critically and their own behaviour. As mentioned, I am not so much concerned for me but for my sons who have lived with this all of their lives.
But, I am beginning to wake up and I have shared this article with my boys - not in the hope that it creates division, but in the hope they can recognise the bahaviour for what it is.
No one wants to feel like they have failed in a relationship but there is little chance IMO that I will get my wife to recognise her bahaviour, let alone attempt change. Compounding this - I am a gentle guy, and little equipped for this sort of warefare. Not saying I am a wimp in any way but I have been brought up to be nice, polite and considerate of others.
I will be doing something about it - despite the fact that I know it will leave my two beloved boys within her power. If nothing else, it will show them an example of not being willing to put up with this. I just need some peace more than anything else and hopefully my boys can find some too whether with me or otherwise going forward. Sorry about the delayed reply here, Andrew.
Opinion you dating an emotional bully question consider
I have let my blog flounder a bit of late. But thank you so much for sharing your story here. Yours is a tough one, especially because you are leaving your boys with your wife.
It may demonstrate that you won;t put up with the abuse, or it may be interpreted differently depending on the spin your wife puts on it.
If she has full custody, my best guess is that everything you do or say to them will get filtered through her perspective. But your decision to leave would put them more deeply under her influence.
Yes, you have the right to be happy, to pursue that path, more precisely, but you also have an obligation to your boys. Where one stops and the other begins is a difficult question to answer.
There are also unanswered questions that need to be answered to get the best possible solution: Is your wife emotionally abusive to your boys too? Do you have the ability to have custody of them?
Let your answers guide your decision. In the end, you have a tough question to answer.
I wish you luck and blessings as you figure out what is best for all people involved. Hi Andrew, your post was so similar to my situation that I thought I written it myself! Even down to the numbers - my marriage is 23 years and I have boys of 18 and We have been apart for almost 2 years and it has taken me this long with a new relationship and therapy to begin to stand up for myself when discussing the kids.
Yet now I am expressing my opinions where I never used to for fear of being shouted down in a respectful and civil manner, she tells me I am harassing her and bullying her and that she will only talk to me with a mediator present! To me that is a classic case of bully projection - she is projecting her own bullying nature onto me and by making me out to be the bully, she is describing herself in the process.
I too am an emotional bully. I only just realized a couple of months ago. Reading this article helped really drive the point. Thank you so much for writing it. They all deserve better. Thanks so much for sharing this K. Recognition is the first step to improvement. Unfortunately, not everyone take the NEXT step in the process. Sometimes developing a positive trait will supplant a negative one. Let your family, boyfriend and friends know you are going to commit to the necessary changes.
This can help you feel a sense of accountability. Make it a daily effort. When you stumble, get back up and keep at it. You are capable. Allow your friends and family to call you out when you are reverting to old behavior. Remember, you are the one behaving that way.
They are not doing it, only calling you out for doing it. Be patient. Big change can take a while. For everyone. He has pissed in a bag he packed with some clothes that were too small to fit that someone gave me and I had tossed in the hallway cabinet until I got around to throw them out.
He denies he pissed in the bag he packed for me. My own daughter told he did but still he denies and abuses. Tried to make me loose my kids and my housing systematically terrorizing me emotionally which I am a very sensitive person. But I love my kids too much too give up. But to him, everything is my fault and his actions are really my actions, at least this is how he role plays in everything.
Corey, assuming everything you wrote is accurate, you are married to a man who should not be a husband or a father to anyone. You need to fully accept that a man who would rape you while passed out, then brag about it in front of his nephew is not a man, should have been prosecuted, is dangerous and a bad person.
To pee in a bag he packed for you means he does not respect you, your children that your daughter even knows about it is disturbingor basic human decency. I have no idea what kind of dynamic exists between you and your husband.
Situation familiar dating an emotional bully are not right
I have no idea whether you are provoking him, or, in one way or another, adding fuel to the fire that is your destructive relationship. There is nothing that would justify pissing in the bag he packed for you. You married someone unfit for normal human relationships and certainly should not be a father. To the degree that all you wrote is, in fact, accurate, you MUST get your kids away from him. They will grow up twisted and messed up if you stay in that home with him.
Yes, you do need one-on-one counseling. But you also need to leave and take your kids with you. It also sounds like you may need police protection as well. If you have family who can help, give them a call. Talk to the authorities. Your needs are far beyond the resources a happiness blogger has at his command. You need to seek professional advice to get and keep custody of your children while you leave that poor excuse for a man and start working through whatever issues exist in your life that has even allowed you to marry, have three kids with and remain with this guy.
They need you right now more than ever.
They need their mommy to step up to do what may be the most difficult thing she may ever do. They need you to protect them, to do whatever is legal and moral to get them away from the corruption that their father is to them.
So document the craziness. Build a case against him. Seek legal counsel. Find out what your options are. Talk to family about what they are able to do to help. But whatever you do, start doing it. If what you say is true, you need to be the mommy your children deserve and get them to an environment that is safe, where their mommy is not abused.
But act. I wish you the best, Corey. And I wish your beautiful kids the best as well. It hurts too much too bear cause I love him but its this that is caused my suffering to be so greatly prolonged. Your children are watching. And learning. Then he should also be a convicted sex offender. Take your kids and go NOW. Moses makes a great point, Corey. Not even sure what to say about parents who never stepped up to do something about a 25 year old pursuing their little junior high school girl!
Hi Ken! You article is so thoughtful and really helped me sort out some things. My husband is emotionally abusive and has used stonewalling for the most part of our relationship and we have been together over 20 years with three beautiful children. I am not sure how I ended up with someone so cold-I actually get so depressed when I see a husband do nice things for his wife or seems to care about her.
I feel like a heavy weight on my chest that is hard to take. I am actualyl a very cheerful person and the glass half full kind of person so I guess I was a perfect target for him. I think when the kids were younger, I could hide his moods and deal with the kids on my own when he was in a funk.
I was always laughing with them and bringing them to fun places when he was down or angry. Once my beautiful daughter became a teen, the problems came out more. I found out later that he while spending time with her hanging out etc. I guess is got progressively worse and I was oblivious but could not understand the animosity my daughter was showing towards me. We went to counseling and not always great for someone who displays narcissistic traits since they twist things to their favor.
Then the parental alienation came out and as time went on I realized how bad it got. I think he did not plan for it to be that way and I think he honestly thought I was doing that to him but I kept telling him that no matter how strict or unreasonable he was with our daughter, I would always tell her he did it out of love.
Never would I campaign her against him. He had an bad car accident 6 months ago, was diagnosed with PTSD, depression and anxiety and he is now so over the top that nothing he does is wrong and we are all the enemies. Over his unreasonableness, he is now not talking to my daughter and it is 4 months now and she is mad but devastated also. He blames her and thinks she needs to come to him but it is all him. She apologized but nothing good enough. I know he is in a lot of pain and has the PTSD but I think he had some form of it before the accident because it was always there bit just not as bad.
I want to leave so bad but I honestly feel that he is so emotionally out of control that he could do something serious so I am giving it a last try to wait and see if the counseling works this time. He now goes to weekly counseling for insurance purposes so this is the first time he has to stick it out. Since the accident he actually lies to people about me but I think he believes it-almost made me look inappropriate by saying I sleep with my 4 year old even though for one thing he kicked me out the bedroom months ago which I was fine with but also I have no where else to sleep.
So I want to help him get to a better emotional place before that -if that makes sense. Plus as callous as this sounds, he may receive a lot of money from the accident and he has financially abused me all our marriage-and the stress this has caused is huge. I call all bills to ensure nothing gets turned off etc and I am sick of it. If I leave, I will not get a penny for my kids and he will live a fantastic life while I struggle paying off half our debt and saving for education.
So I sound callous but for my children, I feel it worth it to get him at a good emotional place hopefully and who knows-maybe this is what may change him. But right now-I actually feel so depressed about my life that I seem to carry a heavy weight around and it is affecting my health.
I look tired and drained and although I work, I goes days without showering. It is a huge effort to go on. I hide it from my kids and cry in the bathroom, but he sucks the life right out of me.
How can people be like this and does cognitive therapy actually work? Hard to imagine someone changing so drastically.
How can he not find one nice thing to say about me and I do everything around the house and for our kids but I see wives who do way less than me and their husbands say wonderful things about them.
Boy that can mess you up no matter how intelligent you are.
LB, again, sorry I took so long to get back to you. Life gets complicated for sure. When children are raised in a household where criticism and anger and name-calling, and his negative campaign against you goes on, they learn that being nice and grateful and kind and thoughtful are not the valued traits that help them get by at home.
Now, of course, he will still pass judgment and call you names based on his perception, I suppose. But you can mentally discredit him as a valid source of criticism and learn to smile inside as he meaninglessly attacks you.
Dating an emotional bully
An attack hurts only if the sword hits flesh. Marriage should never be a prison sentence. I think it is noble of you to give counseling another shot, but you also need to talk to legal counsel to figure out what your rights and responsibilities are. Initial consultations are usually free, but check first. You can also find some solid free legal advice online. But search it out. Know where you stand, what the facts are, what your rights are, how to protect yourself against his possible accusations and the like.
Then, at least, you will have answers and your fear of the possible future can be seriously reduced. And remember, his pain does not make you an appropriate victim to his meanness. How he feels is not a valid excuse to treat others poorly. You need accept that before you make any big decisions.