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Emotional abuse is one of the most misunderstood things in the world, especially among those who have never been through one. What makes things even more confusing, is that many are taught that abuse is purely physical, however, the reality goes much deeper than that.

If you asked most people who have been with an emotional abuser, they would tell you they didn’t even realize they were being abused. That might sound crazy to those of you who have never been there, but up until recently, there hasn’t been a lot of information about emotional abuse. And while you might believe that emotional abuse should be pretty clear-cut, it’s important to realize that it isn’t always.

Emotional abusers are highly-manipulative, and oftentimes pick out partners who are the most vulnerable to abuse. If you are unsure of what emotional abuse looks like, here are 12 signs that many ignore until it’s too late.

1. Your partner humiliates you.

Even if the humiliation is under the guise of a joke, if your partner is always working to make you feel bad about yourself, this is abuse. In some cases, abusers will act as though they are trying to “better” their partner by drawing attention to their flaws and weaknesses, but no matter how you want to paint humiliation, the effect is all the same.

2. No matter what you do, it’s never enough.

You could jump through every hoop, and do every single thing your partner says, but if they are abusive it will never feel like you’ve done enough. There will always be something more you should have said or something more you should have done.

3. Your partner is always undermining your sanity.

Abusers often gaslight their partners, which put simply is when someone tries to make you feel crazy. Going a step further, those who gaslight will play off of their partner’s vulnerabilities and call them “crazy,” or “too sensitive.” They will intentionally work to make you doubt your perception of reality.

4. Your partner is obsessive about you.

It’s one thing to fawn over your partner, but to obsess about them to the extent of control is straight-up abuse. If your partner is always keeping tabs on you, demanding when you can come home, and telling you what to do, this is abuse.

5. Your partner is overly jealous of you.

Abusive partners will often go into a jealous rage over nothing. Another person can simply look at their partner, and it will send them over the edge. In other cases, they may go through their partner’s phone with a fine-tooth comb, searching for alleged affairs that have never happened.

6. During disagreements, your partner yells over you, and never allows you to say how you feel.

When you try to communicate with your partner, they yell over you or otherwise stonewall you. You are never able to say how you feel or get your point across at all.

7. Everything is always your fault.

No matter what it is- it’s your fault. When your partner does something wrong, they always find a way to turn it around on you. When something in their life goes wrong, they blame you.

8. You feel isolated.

It feels like your partner is intentionally isolating you. No one is ever good enough to be around you, and they don’t trust anyone around you. In turn, you are blocked or banned from seeing certain people.

9. There are a lot of double standards.

If you were to treat your partner the same way they treat you, it would not stand. They can do as they please, with zero repercussions, but it’s as though you are always under a microscope.

10. Everything results in a fight.

Every incident turns into a major fight. You can’t even express an opinion without them blowing up and making it into a massive fight.

11. You have to defend them with your family and friends.

Your friends and family have noticed the behavior and mentioned it to you. When they have, you are quick to defend your partner and take up for them. But you are beginning to realize that you probably shouldn’t be defending them.

12. You are always walking on eggshells around them.

When you are around your partner, you always have to walk on eggshells. Every little thing makes them blow up, and their emotional state is so volatile that there is no telling what will push their buttons next.

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