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Being in an emotionally abusive relationship is never a good place to be. And unfortunately, one of the worst aspects of being in one, is that the abuse can be covert and sometimes overlooked.

Over time, the abuse begins to snowball and oftentimes becomes undeniable. But at that point, the damage is done. It’s best to understand the signs in he early stages so you can get away and move on to a better situation. The longer you stay, the more you are harmed by the abusive partner. If you have a bad feeling about your relationship, and feel like you are being abused, look for these signs.

1. They isolate you.

Your partner cannot stand for you to have other people in your life. They get jealous of your friends, of your family and even of your kids. When you spend time with other people, they start drama or find a reason as to why you shouldn’t be around other people.

2. They cycle between idealization and devaluation.

In toxic relationships, there is typically a cycle of idealization and devaluation, especially if your abuser is a narcissist. The abuser will typically love bomb in the beginning, acting as though you could’t get anymore perfect. But as soon as you cross them or do anything they do no approve of or agree with, they tear you down.

3. You feel unsupported.

In a relationship, you are supposed to feel supported and loved. When you go to your partner with good news, they should be excited about that. They should make you feel supported. If your partner is always raining on your parade and making you feel badly about yourself, that is abuse.

4. Everything is always your fault.

With an abuser, nothing is ever their fault. Don’t ever expect them to apologize, because they won’t. Instead, they will turn the tables and find a way to make it your fault. The reason they yelled at you is because you looked at them funny. The reason they ignored you for two weeks is because you didn’t do what they asked you to do. There is always a reason for them to be cruel.

5. Jealousy issues are present.

Abusers are jealous and obsessive. They will stalk you down, go through your phone, and will try to keep you from talking to others. They get weird whenever you spend time with anyone else who cares about you. Be careful with jealous partners, especially those who are already abusive in nature.

6. You are always walking on eggshells.

If you have to tip toe around your partner and word yourself carefully, and do exactly what they want or else risk being blown up on, this is walking on eggshells. Not only is this unfair to you, but it’s flatout toxic.

7. The relationship is one-sided.

A one-sided relationship can be frustrating, because you are always going to be putting in the work, while simultaneously hoping one day they will too. Unfortunately, most people do not change and if you’ve begged them to and still nothing has – it isn’t likely they will.

8. They manipulate you to stay.

When you get ready to leave your partner, they immediately try to manipulate you into staying. They may claim they are going to kill themselves if you leave. Or they might threaten to harm you. In other milder cases, they may claim they are going to change.

9. Nothing ever changes.

But, if someone keeps saying they will change and then reverting back to the same bad behavior, it’s a bad sign. If someone is promising you to change but never changing, you are dating a promise, not a person.

10. They smear campaign you.

Smear campaigning is when your partner goes around and tries to smear or ruin your name when you don’t do what they ask you to do. Examples of this are if you didn’t do exactly what your partner wanted, so they called one of your friends up and told them a lie about you. Or if they want to isolate you, they may tell your friends that you said something awful about them that isn’t true.

11. They gaslight you.

Gaslighting is when your partner tries to make you feel crazy. Gaslighters often use phrases like “you’re crazy!” or “You’re too sensitive!” whenever they are doing something harmful to you.

12. You feel like they are trying to break you.

Overall, when you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, you are likely going to feel like you are being broken down. Sometimes, the abuse will be so outrageous that it’s undeniable and then in other cases, they will act like an angel. Nothing makes sense with an abuser, and if you are being abused, don’t stick around for it to get worse.