6 Tiny Signs You're Being Subtly Abused

Even though you may not see it, these can be signs of abuse.

An Abusive Relationship Doesn't Always Mean Bruise Yunus Tuğ | Unsplash

Your mother and your best friends say you've got to leave him. They say you are too smart for what you are putting up with. But the intimacy is quite sensational, to be honest. You love him and because you've read the manual on unconditional love, you know you are not supposed to give up.  Nobody is perfect. You are reminded of this when you look in the mirror. How do we know what to listen to: our heart or our head? What do we feel, what we know, what we've heard, or what we've read?


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Here are 6 tiny signs you're being subtly abused:

1. Does your partner hold more control and make most of the decisions in your relationship?

2. Are you often blamed or shamed?

3. Does your partner dismiss your feelings, criticize you regularly, or use threats to intimidate you?

RELATED: Ignoring These 8 Red Flags Led To Years Of Abuse


4. Is there a lot of yelling?

5. Are you changing your behavior to try to make him happy so he will not yell or humiliate you?

6. Are you isolating yourself from friends and family?

Now, here's Maddie's story: It had gotten to the point that Maddie just didn't talk about her home life anymore. If she wanted to see her parents and her sisters she did it on the sly, to not rile up her husband. He thought her family was always trying to turn her against him and that it was her fault. In the past, she'd complained about his temper and behavior. She'd even spent a few nights on her sister's couch. As a result, her family wanted her to get out of the marriage on no uncertain terms. But her family didn't know her husband's good sides or the reasons why he was the way he was; only Maddie did. So to protect everyone, Maddie shut down. She stopped talking about her marital problems when she visited her family, and be the times were so rare, she'd rather make the most of them while she had the time.

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

We know from our own experiences and work that many women live inside the ether of abusive situations and that they are often unaware. In stark contrast to physical abuse, this form of suffering can be more insidious. It is subtle because it is more difficult to see. It is harder to prove to others and ourselves. With emotional/verbal abuse, there are no black and blue marks. We understand the power of love, and we know that you love him. But we also know that for love to be healthy, sustaining, and nourishing it must start with ourselves. So we ask our clients, "Who is looking out for you?"


To love, respect, and protect yourself is your right. You deserve to know what your options are in life. Your heart says you love him, but you need to listen to your head too, and most especially to that little voice inside that says something is not right. Ask yourself, "Can you love yourself enough to get the support you need — with or without him?" Also, think about what you are modeling for your kids. Are your children watching you enable your mistreatment? Do you recognize there is only one you, and that you are too important to squander? Are you modeling for your children what it means to take charge of your life, no matter how hard? Loving someone and living with him is not always the same thing.

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: If You're Experiencing Any Of These 10 Signs, Yes, It's Emotional Abuse


Liza Caldwell runs SAS for Women, a boutique firm that specializes in helping women free themselves from dysfunctional and unhappy relationships.