11 Things That Look Like Love But Are Actually Emotional Abuse

You might laugh at the idea that you could mistake emotional abuse for love, but you might be doing so without even realizing it. After all, abusers can be manipulative and incredibly charismatic, sugar-coating toxic behaviors to make them look like they’re being done out of care or concern. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to get out – you’re in danger.

  1. He love bombs you. He comes on very strong in the beginning, showing you how much he cares by showering you with flowers, champagne, and tons of attention. It feels amazing for sure, but it’s also a bit… too much? Don’t feel guilty for thinking that because it’s like, what does this guy have to prove? Why is he trying so hard to impress you? Remember, abusive relationships always fool you into thinking they’re a fairytale at first.
  2. He regularly “teases” you. He calls you names that aren’t cool but he says that he’s just joking. What the hell? Those derogatory pet names aren’t cute and they’re certainly not signs that he’s smitten with you. They’re actually a way of putting you down.
  3. He’s a green-eyed monster. Is it cute or loving when he loses his mind with jealousy because you were seen chatting to some other guy at a party? No, it’s actually sick. If your boyfriend is extremely jealous, he’s insecure and controlling. Don’t be flattered by his actions. He’s not in love.
  4. He wants to be with you 24/7. Yes, new love is addictive. You want to spend every free second of your time with your new partner but you also know that logically, you need to spend time at work, with other people you love, and focusing on your dreams. He won’t have it, though. He gets upset when you have to do you. No, it’s not cute when he gets all sulky. It’s stupid and controlling. It’s even more of a red flag when he throws a tantrum because you can’t hang out. What he’s really showing you is that he won’t accept “no.” Run.
  5. He wants you to be available 24/7. While it was cute for him to want to see you all the time, now it feels like he’s demanding that you be at his beck and call whenever he wants. He might call you at three in the morning and expect you to answer. Woah. This guy wants you to meet all his needs but he’s totally trashing yours, like your need to sleep.
  6. He gives you unsolicited advice. He loves you so much he wants to see you succeed, so he’ll tell you how to run your business or deal with clients, and even how to manage your friends. When did you even ask this guy for his advice? He’s not trying to help because he loves you, he’s actually trying to control what you do and how you do it.
  7. He tries to “protect” you. He thinks your BFF isn’t being genuine with you and you should guard your heart around her. He cares about you so much that he doesn’t want to see you get taken advantage of by other people. Hmm. Surely you know your BFF better than he does? Make sure this guy’s not trying to control you with his so-called care.
  8. He has crazy fights. He might say he’s passionate about you and your relationship, which is why he smashes plates against the wall and screams the house down during an argument. But honestly? That should have you running for the nearest door! It’s not normal and it points to him having major issues as well as not being able to handle his emotions (man-child alert!) or communicate properly.
  9. He tries to save your reputation. You want to try your hand at being a comedian or writing a book, but he tells you that you should be careful not to embarrass yourself or get hurt. Um, what? This guy might seem like he just doesn’t want to see you get rejected, but honestly? He wants to hold you back. It’s classic for the emotional abuser to try to keep you under his thumb and not let you progress in life. He’s a jealous jerk.
  10. He sugar-coats his insults. He tells you that your hair is a wreck or he hates your t-shirt, which is hurtful, but then he pretends that he’s just being funny or you should know that he’s got a weird sense of humor. Oh, so now it’s your fault for not “getting” his stupid joke? It’s common for emotional abusers to put you down and humiliate you because they know it hurts and gives them power. So twisted.
  11. He guilts you. When you confront him about how rude he was to your friends or how you hate the silent treatment he gives you at times, he might get teary-eyed and say that he loves you so much but he feels like you don’t appreciate his love. See what he did there? He’s trying to turn the tables on you and make you seem like the bad guy. This guy’s toxic!
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.