While we may be able to spot the signs of physical abuse pretty easily, there are other, more insidious types that can easily sneak up on you. If you notice these things happening in your relationship, you’re being mentally abused and you need to get out of the situation as soon as possible.
- He makes you question yourself. When you bring up his mean behavior towards you, he’ll deny and deflect. He’ll twist your world perception and deny any wrongdoing on his part. He’ll place all the blame on you, always. He can never do wrong. Besides, you’re the crazy one. This is a vicious form of slow torture. In the beginning, you’ll know you’re right in the situation but he’ll end up changing your own view of reality. This lowers your self-esteem and shifts you into a cycle of blame and shame.
- He lies all the damn time. If you’re catching him in lies constantly, you should be concerned. He can be lying about where he was Saturday night or maybe he fibs about drinking all the milk. He lies so easily because it gives him a sense of power if he’s holding the truth from you. Even with the itty bitty lies. For some men, lying becomes a strange addiction. You don’t need a partner who lies to you. You need a partner that’s trustworthy and respects you enough to be honest, even when he messes up.
- He treats you like your feelings aren’t valid. When your boyfriend does something disrespectful or rude to you, you’re going to react. Your feelings can’t be pushed down forever. They’ll erupt and you’ll let them out. When you finally tell him how he’s making you feel, he treats you like you’re overreacting. He says that you’re “hysterical”. This is part of the tactic of making you feel crazy and making you question yourself.
- He makes fun of you. Mentally abusive men will know how to lower your self-esteem with a little comment or joke. He will deliberately tease you about something he knows you’re sensitive about. It can be about your weight or how you look in your favorite dress but he’ll try to pass it off as joking. This behavior opens old wounds and he’s aware that what he’s saying is stabbing you with daggers whether you react to it or not. Again, it’s all about gaining power in your relationship and over you. If he lowers your self-esteem, he knows he can keep you. He thinks you’ll never leave because you won’t feel you’re worth better. Honey, you’re worth so much more than some scumbag!
- He goes through your phone. In a healthy relationship, you don’t go through each other’s phones due to someone’s jealously. You should trust each other so there’s no need to invade your privacy. In an unhealthy relationship, he’s invading your digital privacy. He might grab your phone from you to go through texts and e-mails. Maybe he’s doing it behind your back, but you’ve caught on due to his little snide comments about an e-mail your co-worker sent. Either way, it’s not okay. It’s controlling and he’s probably the one actually hiding something.
- He always has something negative to say about your loved ones. Whether it’s your best friend or your mom, he always has something mean to say. He points out their worst flaws to demonize them. He wants you to disconnect from them because he thinks they’re bad people. Or, he creates a situation between them and you that can only end in hurt feelings. Truth is, he wants you to cut ties from them so they can’t see the way he treats you. If he has you cut everyone that loves you out of your life, you feel like the only one you can rely on is him.
- He downgrades you behind your back. When you’re in a relationship and you’ve been together for a while, you’re expected to get annoyed from time to time. There are flaws that can drive you mad if you’re in a negative mood already. But you’re together because you love each other, right? Then you find out from his friend or even your friend, that when you’re not around he degrades you. He never has a positive thing to say about you to others. He talks behind your back and wears a loving mask when you’re together. It’s a slap and the face when you find out how what he really thinks of you.
- He controls your money. One thing he might be trying to control is the finances, including the money you make yourself. Maybe you have a joint banking account but to access any money, you need his permission. He might take your debit card away. Maybe he borrows large amounts of money to never repay you. Or maybe he berates you for spending money. He wants control of the money so you can’t leave. How are you going to leave him if you don’t have any money?
- He throws fits. When your boyfriend doesn’t get what he wants, does he freak out? A fit can be breaking things, screaming, or even the silent treatment. This form of abusive behavior can be detrimental to your mental health. If he’s throwing constant fits about things and you constantly give in, you start to ignore your own needs. This lowered self-esteem leaves you giving him whatever he wants, no matter how harmful it is for you. It’s time to toss him out!