(HealthyResearch.com) – Abuse can take numerous forms, and not all of them are as apparent as a physical beating. Mental abuse can be just as bad, and it can disguise itself well. Over time, it can have lasting effects, crushing a person’s confidence and chipping away at their self-esteem. Some victims may not even be aware of their abuse until they’re able to look back on their situation and sort through all the red flags in hindsight.
If you’re being mentally abused, you may not be aware it’s happening — especially if your partner is an accomplished manipulator. Unfortunately, there’s one big problem with abuse in all its forms: it can always get worse. And it usually does.
Here are some warning signs that you’re possibly being mentally abused in your relationship.
1. Everything Seems Too Perfect
You have everything in common and do everything together — and have a blast almost all the time. You never argue, and you wonder if it all might just be too good to be true. Most of the time, if you have to ask yourself whether things are too perfect, they usually are. Yes, ridiculously compatible couples do exist, but so do master manipulators — people capable of altering their partner’s perceptions of reality. Being showered with gifts and other expensive things could indicate your significant other is trying to buy your love — and your trust.
2. You’re Distancing Yourself From Friends or Family
You’ve decided many of the people you used to be close to aren’t the people you thought they were. This could be accurate. Then again, it could be the result of a calculated move by your abuser to isolate you from anyone who might compete for your attention or spot red flags.
Ask yourself this. Did you come to your new conclusions about friends or family members while you were talking about them with your partner? Is there a possibility that you were fed some malicious ideas or that your partner persuaded you to cut them off?
3. They Make You Question Your Memory
You remember an occasion as clear as day, but your partner insists it happened way differently. They’re so adamant about it, you might even get into a heated argument over the actual chain of events. They might insist you said or did something you know you would never do, and they stick firmly to it no matter how passionately you defend yourself.
After it happens a few times, you may begin to question your own memory. Your partner might even convince you that you’ve blacked out or lost time. Reality becomes a fragile, unsteady path, just clinging to the cliffside. Sound familiar?
If your sense of recall is completely sound except for times when it’s just you and your significant other, you might not be the problem. You might be a victim of gaslighting, a common tactic manipulators use to subdue the people they want to control. If they can warp your reality, they can own your mind — and when you become mentally unstable, you become dependent. Your partner becomes vital to your survival, your lifeline, your knight in shining armor. They make it so that you couldn’t possibly leave them (and how dare you, if you do).
4. You Find Yourself Walking on Eggshells
Mentally abusive people can fly off the rails at unexpected times, leaving their victims afraid to say or do anything for fear of setting off a trigger. You might feel like your partner has become unpredictably hot and cold, always leaving you to wonder if they’re in or out. Or perhaps they’ve grown cynical and painfully sarcastic around you.
The abuse may come in the form of overt screaming and foaming-at-the-mouth ranting, or it might emerge as passive-aggression, incessant criticism or off-handed accusations. Either way, if you’ve found yourself walking on eggshells whenever you’re around your partner, you’re very likely being abused.
5. You Make Excuses For Your Partner
Have you ever made excuses for your significant other’s behavior? Ever defended the way they’ve treated you? Excuses are a good sign that you’re in denial over something bad. Ask yourself: Are you trying to convince other people that everything’s okay, or are you trying to convince yourself? Are you ignoring any potential red flags?
Do any of the above hit too close to home? Even if it doesn’t leave a physical mark, mental abuse is abuse. It leaves scars of its own, some just as lasting as anything that might need bandaging or stitching. And you deserve better.
If you need more information, or if you think you may need help, talk to someone at the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or call 1-800-787-3224 if you’re hearing impaired. Someone is available 24/7 to help you break free.
~Here’s to Your Health & Safety!
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