Unfortunately, abuse in a relationship comes in all different shapes and sizes. Emotional abuse is typically quite subtle, so it can be hard to tell if it’s happening in your own relationship. That’s why we’re here to help give you some clarity by providing a list of 4 signs of emotional abuse in a relationship.

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Constant Criticism

Criticism is never tolerable or acceptable in any relationship.  Criticizing, putting someone down, and belittling are all common forms of emotional abuse. While teasing a partner is harmless, there comes a time when it crosses the line and pushes it too far. If your partner says things to you that make you feel bad about yourself, it’s a clear sign they’re abusive, and it’s best to end the relationship before it gets even worse.

Controls Where You Go & What You Wear

Does your partner try and control what you wear and where you go? If so, this is a sneak form of emotional abuse in a relationship. While it may seem flattering that your significant other doesn’t want people checking you out, it’s a form of control and should be treated as such. This form of emotional abuse most likely stems from your partner’s insecurities. You can try and talk with them about it, but if they refuse to work on themselves in that regard, it’s best that you call it quits with them. A healthy relationship requires two healthy individuals who are always willing to work on themselves.

Shuts Communication Down

If your partner talks over you or gives you the silent treatment when you’re trying to have an open conversation with them, this is a sign they’re emotionally abusive. While not all people who retreat during conflict are emotional abusers, it’s usually pretty easy to spot the difference. If your partner refuses to talk to you out of spite, this means they’re trying to punish you – which is never okay in a relationship and is definitely classified as abuse. However, if your partner is more introverted or prefers to think things through before continuing a heavy conversation, this usually isn’t indicative of a toxic partner.


Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which someone tries to make someone question their own reality. It’s an incredibly toxic behavior that’s common in abusive relationships, and it’s a clear sign to tell if your partner is emotionally abusive. If your partner is constantly saying things like, “I never said that” when you know they did or making statements like, “You’re crazy, that never happened,” it’s important to note that this is a form of gaslighting and is incredibly damaging to your mental well-being.

Final Thoughts

There are no types of abuse that are acceptable in a relationship, and it’s important to recognize if your partner has any of the signs they’re emotionally abusive to make a plan to leave the relationship. Your mental and physical health isn’t worth it, and usually, abusive relationships only tend to get worse the longer they continue.