Signs of Emotional Abuse

Abusive Expectations

  • Makes unreasonable demands.
  • Requires constant attention, or that you spend all your free time with him/her.
  • Constantly criticizes. Nothing you ever do is right.
  • No matter how much you give, it never seems to be enough.


  • Calls you names, accuses, blames, threatens, or gives orders.
  • Can be disguised as “helping” or “teaching.”
  • Judgmental “I know best” attitude.

Constant Chaos

  • Deliberately starts arguments and may be in constant conflict with you or with others
  • Treats you well in front of others, but changes into a different person when you’re alone together, or vice a versa.
  • May enjoy “drama,” because it creates excitement and brings the focus back onto him/herself.


  • Denies your personal needs, especially when that need is greatest, and does so with the intent of hurting, punishing, or humiliating you.
  • Denies that certain events occurred or that certain things were said.
  • Refuses to listen or communicate (silent treatment), and withdraws emotionally.
  • Denies your perceptions, memory, and sanity.
  • Disallows or overrules any viewpoints, perceptions, or feelings that differ from his/her own.
  • Causes you to lose confidence in and question your own perceptions and feelings.
  • Causes you to doubt your most powerful survival tool: your own mind.


  • Manipulates the relationship so that the only feelings and opinions that count are his/her own.
  • Must have his/her own way, and will hurt your feelings if necessary in order to get it.
  • Holds you personally responsible for his/her own happiness.
  • Disregards your personal standards or beliefs, and may try to persuade you to do things that you don’t want to do.

Emotional Blackmail

  • Plays on your fear, guilt, compassion, religious values, or other “hot buttons” to get what he/she wants.
  • May threaten to end the relationship, totally reject or abandon you, give you the “cold shoulder,” or use other tactics to control you.

One Response to Signs of Emotional Abuse

  1. admin says:

    The ‘Master’s Manual’ by Jack Rinella may be a good resource for you. You might also check out the books by Mike Makai. Mike has some of the most down-to-earth advice about D/s than just about anything I have read.

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