Stuck in emotionally abusive relationship?

Emotional abuse has different manifestations. There are three main signs of emotionally abusive relationship, which include aggression, negation and detraction.


Signs of aggression show up as threats, insults, accusations, condemnation and so on. Aggression, which accompanies the emotionally abusive relationship, usually appears in obvious and blatant form. Using his superior position, abuser tends to condemn the victim or insults her personal dignity. In result, it excludes equality and independence, which are considered to be the prerequisite of healthy relationship between two adults. Such model of communication resembles to the conversation between the parent and child (which is observed in all forms of verbal abuse) and becomes more apparent when the charging party takes an aggressive position. Aggressive behavior can also be hidden or even expressed in the form of specific “help”. A set of criticisms, advices, offered solutions to the problem, analysis of the current situation, testing and questioning of the second party can look like a sincere attempt to help. However, in some cases, this behavior intends to humiliate, to get control over the victim or humiliate her human dignity rather than help. The condemning tone, which is used by abuser in such situations and his statements like “I know better” are completely irrelevant and contributes to the uneven relationship.


Acknowledgement of the partner’s failure is made in attempt to distort or diminish the significance of the victim’s view. Negation or denial occurs when the abuser refuses or simply can not accept the reality. For example, when the victim wants to talk about the concrete fact of abuse due to the fault of offender, in response he insists that he “never talked like that” or that he does not understand what she is talking about etc.

Refusal to communicate – is another form of negation. Refusal to talk can be expressed in unwillingness to listen or talking to a partner. It can also be a punishment in the form of emotional indifference. Such behavior is sometimes called “education by silence.”

Confrontation occurs when the offender sees the victim as the continuation of self and denies any view or feeling, which differs from his own opinion.


Detraction is less severe form of negation. In case of detraction the abuser may not deny the fact of abusive event, but he will doubt the importance and relevance of the victim’s feelings or her emotional reaction about this event. Statements like “You’re too sensitive,” “You’re exaggerating,” or “You’re making mountain out of molehill” demonstrate that abuser treats the emotions and thoughts of his victim as inappropriate and unreliable.

Ideology of the victim is turned into banality or vulgarity when the abuser insists that her actions or words are unreasonable, illogical or meaningless, which may be considered as a mild form of detraction.

Negation and detraction have the most harmful effect on relationship. In addition to depreciation of the victim’s personality and induction of conflict, the undervaluation of reality, feelings and concerns of the victim eventually can make her doubt own ideas and emotional reactions so that she will no longer trust them.

Every relationship is different, but being in relationship means to feel safe, loved, respected and free to be yourself. Remember, you should not be afraid of your partner, feel intimidated or controlled. If you get stuck in emotionally abusive relationship, you may need to search for a solution.