Men are often overlooked as victims of abuse, but the numbers are indeed alarming. It is estimated that as many as 48% of the victims of emotional abuse are male. They are a hidden problem as society’s norms often prevent men from coming forward or seeking help. This needs to change. Using that estimate of victims, consider what this means for our law enforcement community or our military. How about professional sports or even the IT industry. These are positions dominated by males and, if the estimate is accurate, means nearly 1 of every 2 are victims.
This is not a checklist, so please do not treat it as such. It is simply a collection of evaluation criteria that should cause you to stop and consider whether you need to research further. If you suspect that you, or someone you know, is a victim of emotional abuse (or of a person with a disorder such as Sociopathy, Psychopathy, BPD, or Narcissism), consult with a mental health professional.
She isolates you from your friends and family
Take a look around. Since your relationship started, how many friends do you no longer hang with or contact? How many new ones have come and gone in that time. What about your Family? Do you still communicate with your siblings, cousins, aunts & uncles, or your grandparents as much? How often do you see them now as opposed to before. Has your relationship with parents or other family members become strained since you met this person?
This is typical in a relationship with a person who suffers from one of several mental disorders, but is most common with Sociopaths.
She is verbally abusive to you, whether vocally or in emails and text messages.
Thinking back, are there many times she has called you worthless, a bum, perhaps used a series of expletives to call you names? Browse through your email or text messages from her. Do you have a collection of messages that are derogatory and demeaning?
Several Anti-Social Personality Disorders (ASPD) describe this as a common behavior and another way to break down your will so they can control you. It is also a well-established brainwashing technique used for hundreds of years and is a very effective way for a person to gain the upper hand and break you.
Does she accept responsibility or avoid blame?
If she is the type that always has an answer for a misdeed or mistake, and the answer is rarely herself, that should be a warning sign as well. This is especially true if you are the one that is often targeted for the blame. This is not a healthy relationship sign and yet another way that someone with an one ore more ASPDs will try to break you down.
Does she have a history of substance or alcohol abuse?
Self-medication is another sign that your female partner may be suffering from a mental disorder. It may not even be on a regular basis, but do they prefer to deal with tough issues out of a bottle or through pharmaceuticals? Be careful here too as another common ploy is to lead you to believe that they do, but truly do not. This is to gain your sympathy.
Are you afraid of her?
This may be physical, but not always. Did you avoid doing things because you weree afraid it will “set them off”? How about shaping your decision-making and actions around whether or not you will upset her? These are power tactics that Sociopath’s and Psychopath’s, both ASPDs, use to subjugate their victims.
It is also a way to get you, on your own, to restrict your freedom of choice.
Do you get “punished” for being away from her?
Like the isolation technique, abusers want you all to themselves. If they have Sociopathy, this can go to extremes. They will do anything to get inside your head to try to ensure that you are only thinking of them. This may include (in the modern age) constant calling or texting, stalking you in person or through your mobile phone or other device, or creating a “situation” just before you leave. The “situation” may be a fight/argument, a threat, or some words to make you concerned for the relationship.
If you do go somewhere or do something without her, or even if he or she goes along but others are also there, an emotional abuser will punish you later. An abuser may shout, insult, threaten or worse, all because you were not exclusively hanging out with her.
This can happen even when there is no choice in the matter, such as work or necessary travel. In cases where a Sociopath is involved and the separation may last for days, they may even threaten self-harm or to end the relationship so as to get inside your head the whole time she is not with you.
Are you more of a Servant instead of a Partner?
Do you find yourself doing more of the household chores? Thinking about the tasks needing done, do you do more of them while she sits in front of a TV? Even worse, if the answer is generally YES and she doesn’t even work, or only works part-time, then there is little question that you are her SERVANT and not her PARTNER.
If you come to this conclusion, then definitely research more about Sociopathy as it is another clear attribute of the disorder.
Is she extremely jealous?
In terms of other people, an abuser will be jealous of anyone getting your time and attention as it takes away from them. This is an area that Sociopaths, Narcissists, and those with Borderline Personality Disorder have in common; they do not want to share you ore lose any amount of control. They will often go as far as to accuse you of having affairs and cheating on them.
One place where the Sociopath is generally different from the other diagnoses is that they will accuse you of things that they, themselves, are doing. So, if she thinks you are seeing someone, it is most likely because she is cheating on you. The difficulty here is that the Sociopath is more calculating that the Narcissist or BPD, so such accusations may be used to put you on the defensive so you are less likely to discover their indiscretions.
Does she use emotions to control you?
Abusers are master manipulators. Whether a Psychopath, Sociopath, Narcissist, or BPD, they all achieve their goals through manipulation of all types. The Psychopath tends to be more opportunistic and off-the-cuff, while the other three types are planners and generally think things through. You may never realize that you are being manipulated.
Your abuser will use guilt to subvert your own will; be loving and apologetic to get your guard down; and, emotionally punish you for not bowing to their will.
Do you notice anything in her friends and people she hangs around?
A true abuser does not just focus on a single person, such as you. They are always working to manipulate everyone around them. Many will notice it and gravitate away or even confront her. But, over time, she will have a cadre of friends that she has asserted her control over. Many will be male as her most powerful tool is sex. Don’t think for a single moment that she doesn’t use it as often as necessary to gather more victims into her web.
What to do?
Again, this is not a checklist and not emphatic and scientific proof. However, if you find one or more of these to apply to you or her, then the one sure thing is that you need to perform more self-assessments and research a bit more. There are many avenues for help. Do not let being a man dissuade you from seeking help from competent mental health professional.
In closing: DO NOT BE A VICTIM!
Many resources were used in creating this post, including these online articles:
10 Signs You May Be in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship – Health Central by Remedy Health Media
Top 10 Signs of an Abusive Wife – Every Day Life at GlobalPost.com
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5 ®) – American Psychiatric Association
9 Signs You’re Being Emotionally Abused In Your Relationship, Because Love Shouldn’t Feel Manipulative – Bustle.com
Are You In an Emotionally Abusive Relationship? – Dr. Phil Web site
What Drives Emotional Abuse in Relationships – Psychology Today article by Steven Stosny, Ph.D.
Is Your Partner Emotionally Abusive? – Women’s Health Mag