Healthy Living Relationships

How to Recognize if You’re in a Mentally Abusive Relationship

Did you know that an average of 20 people per minute are experiencing physical abuse by their partner in the US? However, there are other forms of abuse.

Like physical abuse, there are many signs of a mentally abusive relationship. You need to recognize toxic relationship signs because if you don’t, you’re putting yourself in danger.

Here’s everything you need to know to recognize a mentally abusive relationship.


It can be difficult to recognize that you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship, especially when it starts with subtle manipulation. It can be helpful to pay attention to any changes in behavior or interactions.

If your partner is making demands or expectations that are no longer realistic or that you don’t feel comfortable accommodating, then this could be a sign of an abusive relationship. Other signs of manipulation include verbal abuse, public humiliation, gaslighting, blaming, and criticism.

Over time, your partner may make it difficult for you to make decisions, set boundaries, and express yourself independently from them. If you’re feeling suffocated, lied to, or coerced into doing something you don’t want to do, take a step back.

Mismatch in boundaries and power dynamics results in an abusive relationship. The sooner you recognize the abuse, the sooner you can ensure your safety and seek resources to help.


Threats can be in the form of verbal or physical from your partner. Your partner may threaten to harm you or someone close to you if they don’t get their way.

They may also threaten to hurt themselves if they don’t have their way, pushing you into making decisions that you don’t feel ready for. It is important to recognize these behaviors, as no situation should involve threats, and they are often a sign of psychological manipulation.

Threats can also be in the form of destroying things out of fit or showing any act of violence in front of you. This is a form of psychological abuse used to scare victims.

If you feel threatened in any way, it is important to take all necessary steps to ensure your safety and reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or professional. Don’t hesitate to involve the police or get a lawyer if you are experiencing domestic violence in relationships.


Recognizing when someone is isolating you is key to understanding your relationship better. If you are constantly being told “no” or “you can’t” when you try to go out to social events or put up boundaries, then this could likely be a sign of mental abuse.

Isolation may also manifest as your partner preventing you from talking to other people, such as family and friends, or demanding they be present while you do. Your partner may also use social media to track you and what you’re doing.

If your partner is excessively jealous, insecure, or possessive, this could be a cue that they are manipulating and controlling your life to isolate you. This is a manifestation of obsessive behavior that may become harmful in the long run.

Get Out of a Mentally Abusive Relationship

Recognizing signs of a mentally abusive relationship can be difficult. They are often subtle and insidious. 

In general, if your partner’s behavior is causing you to feel constantly worried or anxious, it is important to take a step back and check the relationship. Seek help immediately and take the necessary steps to get out of the mentally abusive relationship that you might be in.

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