If You Feel Any Of These 8 Little Things, You're Being Abused

It's not too late to leave an abusive situation.

Last updated on Feb 28, 2024

Woman Leaning on window looking depressed Diego Cervo | Canva 

Everywhere you look, you see people in love. Happy couples with picture-perfect relationships. But not your relationship — yours is different. Sometimes it feels great, but then just as quickly, it becomes messy, scary ... sometimes even downright violent. Sometimes you make up stories about how good things are in your relationship, hiding the real picture of what's happening in your life. You feel alone. It isn’t very comfortable.


You deserve better and you know it. Unfortunately, though, domestic violence and abusive relationships in general are complicated to acknowledge — especially when they're happening to you. Anyone can be abused by someone they love and care about, and it is often hard to leave. So, be gentle with yourself. Not sure if what you're experiencing is just normal relationship challenges or something worse? Here are eight clear signs it's not love ... it's abuse. (Note: If these apply to you, please know, that you are not alone. Many of us have experienced the same things and we're you every step of the way.)


RELATED: The 9 Less-Obvious Reasons Some Women Are Addicted To Abusive Men

If you feel any of these 8 things, you're being abused:

1. You're afraid of your partner

You feel like you're walking on eggshells whenever your partner is around. Sometimes you freeze in your tracks, unable to move. You're afraid of making them angry because you fear their retaliation. You always need to placate them, to keep the peace at ANY COST.

You rationalize that it is better that they mistreat you rather than anger them further, because they may resort to physical violence, whether it's hitting, punching, slapping, strangling, pushing, etc. Physical violence should never be ignored and is a sign that the relationship is truly dangerous. The presence of weapons in the home makes the situation even more lethal.

2. Your partner treats you like an object, not a person

When someone treats you like an object, they can justify any action towards you. Your partner makes you do things you don't want to do. This includes being forced to do things you don't want to do. Yes, you can be assaulted by the person that you love. They make you feel humiliated, and it takes its toll on you until it makes you feel less of a person. It is often painful and embarrassing to ask for help.


RELATED: 5 Painful Signs Your Toxic Relationship Gave You PTSD

3. You feel feel off-balance and crazy

Your partner blames you for their behavior. For example, if you find out they're cheating and confront them, instead of admitting it, they accuse you of cheating, as well. When you want to discuss something or feel worried, they turn the issue around and throw it right back in your face. 



They also belittle you, blame you for everything, criticize you, and make you feel stupid. They call you names and every demeaning word there is. But, when confronted, they will deny it all and say that you're acting crazy and overreacting. ​They also gaslight you — in other words, manipulate you into doubting your memory, perception, and sanity. (Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse and was coined from the 1944 film starring Ingrid Bergman).


4. Your partner threatens you

When you try to leave, your partner destroys your possessions as a warning. They also threaten to kill you and themselves or threaten to hurt your family and friends. They may also involve your children, threatening to hurt or take them away or turn you in to the local child welfare office.​

5. Their behavior is unpredictable

Your partner's mood often changes — loving, fun, and friendly one minute, and in the next, angry, abusive, and violent. You're constantly on your guard, always watchful, hyper-vigilant, and defensive. ​In a car with them, you never know when they'll drive like a maniac, and you feel like they're constantly watching your every move. 

RELATED: 12 Types Of Toxic Men That Wreak Havoc On Your Emotions

​6. They control your entire being

Your partner is jealous and possessive and limits your access to family, friends, money, transportation, and even the phone. They constantly play mind games and distract you from focusing on important things. Not only do they control your behavior through words, gestures, and glances, but they routinely check up on you and even steal from you. Sometimes, they try to sabotage your career by making you miss work or make your day miserable through upsetting words and actions. 




7. You feel ashamed

You feel isolated and misunderstood, with nowhere to run. Once upon a time, you were so confident, but now you've lost your sense of self-worth. You're also feeling overwhelmed like you're not good enough, that something is wrong with you, and you feel like a prisoner in your mind. Sometimes, you feel guilty, but you don't know exactly why. You also have anxiety and panic attacks, which sometimes lead to depression and suicidal thoughts. 

8. You feel angry

When you finally recognize the behavior as abuse, you start thinking. You realize that your abuser only stops their bad behavior if it benefits them. You start noticing the physical marks in places that people can't see, and the mental and emotional abuse leaves far deeper scars.


You're extremely angry about the entire situation. ​​Yes, it is entirely possible to feel rage, fear, shame, and pain all at the same time. If you were abused in any way as a child or young person — or grew up in an alcoholic or violent family — then these feelings may be even stronger and more confusing. For people of color, it is also more difficult because racism experienced and often inherent within so-called systems of justice further silences people.

If you think you may be experiencing depression or anxiety as a result of ongoing emotional abuse, you are not alone.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone and is not a reflection of who you are or anything you've done wrong.

If you feel as though you may be in danger, there is support available 24/7/365 through the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-7233. If you’re unable to speak safely, text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474.

RELATED: How To Recognize Even The Most Subtle Signs Of Domestic Violence

Ellyn Bell is an intuitive and spiritual coach who uses Tarot to help people overcome obstacles and reconnect with their intuition. She's co-author of the book, Singing with the Sirens, as well as a social justice activist.