For Couples: 5 Clear Signs of Emotional Abuse that Lower A Victim’s Self-Esteem

For Couples: 5 Clear Signs of Emotional Abuse

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Romantic relationships may not be perfect and may not be all rainbows and butterflies always, but they should remind you of the beauty and grace of loving and being loved. Being in a relationship should not bring you damage and harm inside and out. Your emotions are big factors in it, and though surely there will be roller coaster rides of emotions while in that place, your emotions must not be played at and taken advantage of.  

When in a romantic relationship, you will know when certain kinds of abuse exist because something feels and looks wrong. One of them highly involves offense towards one’s emotions. It is called “emotional abuse” which comes in many forms, like manipulation, controlling, shaming, and threatening among many others. They adversely affect the victims’ frame of mind, which eventually influences the way they live and see life. 

There’s no physical aggression here, but the wounds within could be bleeding harder than visible lacerations. Words and actions that tend to hurt and assault the other party’s emotions are the weapons that the wrongdoers use. The abuse happens over and over again. Their self-confidence, image, and esteem are all wrecked in many different ways. Worse, not all victims immediately realize or admit that they are being emotionally abused, so it’s hard for them to even recognize their situation. Nonetheless, they need huge help. 

To understand romantic relationships even more, for your current relationship or for the one you’re about to have in the future, you should know what healthy relationships are and what they are not. This allows you to keep out of and protect yourself from emotionally slanderous partners. 

Here are 5 clear signs of emotional abuse that lower a victim’s self-esteem.

1 – Rude name-calling

Sometimes, it becomes normal and natural for people to tease and make “little fun” of others by calling them names. For groups of close friends and family, it does not seem wrong most of the time, typically addressed as a “joke”. However, if it becomes hurtful, below the belt, and frequent, it could be called rude name-calling, and it’s very problematic. If your romantic relationship has such kind of bad language, it’s emotionally abusive. 

Rude name-calling is when your partner calls you “weak”, “stupid”, “dumb”, “useless”, “ugly” and other insulting, derogatory, and humiliating words, and labels. Shamelessly, they tell you that they are just being “sweet” and that they use those demeaning terms as an endearment to you. That’s total nonsense.  

Name-calling disgraces and degrades victims by connecting them to negative words. When your partner does this to you, you get hurt, and at the same time, your perspective above yourself gets negatively affected. “Am I dumb and stupid?” “Everything I do is useless and lacking.” It taints your emotions and distorts your self-image which causes your self-esteem to drop eventually. 

2 – Acting like they are superior to you

If your lover acts superior to you, then you have an inferior role in that relationship. They decide on everything even when you try to disagree and give your thoughts and opinions. They always brag about what they have achieved, which you have not or which you have but not on the same level as theirs. 

This presents emotional abuse that leads to low self-esteem because they make you see and feel a competition in your romantic relationship when the truth is you should be pulling each other up and not making demoralizing comparisons. They are arrogant. Worst, they treat you as their slave. 

3 – Slandering your physical appearance

Inward attributes will always be the best standard, but outward appearance also says a lot, and it makes you confident when you have it well. 

There is a clear sign of emotional abuse in your relationship when your partner slanders your physical appearance. Instead of telling you how good you look or what areas you need to improve on, they offend you by telling you to look “terrible”, “tasteless”, “out of fashion” and other remarks that don’t help, but that makes you question your look and that reduce your self-esteem. Body shaming is something they do.

4 – Violently screaming at you

Your partner does not talk to you gently. They violently scream at you, and that is even when you have done nothing wrong. But of course, even when you have made a few mistakes, they still should not heatedly shout at you like you are nothing and nobody. When you are being shouted at by an emotionally abusive lower, add to that being cursed, you feel small and powerless. They are not laying a finger on you but greater is the wound that’s inflicted in your heart through their voices. 

5 – Dismissing your ideas and decisions

Voiceless – that’s what you are in that emotionally abusive relationship. Your partner dismisses your ideas and decisions most of the time or all the time. They are not interested in what you have to say about decisions that should involve both of you and your viewpoints. Sometimes, they hear you but don’t value what you say. Frequently, you are just there to listen and follow them but have no significance in terms of making choices for you and/or for your relationship.



Emotional abuse is one of the worst things to exist in some romantic relationships. While none of these kinds of violence is acceptable, physical injuries will heal and fade away afterward, but the emotional damage that abusive words and doings leave on a victim’s life might remain endlessly. They cannot be seen by the naked eye, which makes them even more difficult to detect and cure. Sometimes too, more emotions that flow out of the emotional abuse itself make them even harder to be determined and addressed. 

When you are in a romantic relationship, you cannot just be in love all the time even when you are being mistreated. You cannot just give your all while losing sight that you also deserve the kind of love you give. If your emotions are being invalidated and your identity is being erased by that intimacy you call ‘love’, be alarmed, and wake up. If you notice these clear signs that you are being emotionally abused, know that you must not suffer any further. 

You are not worthless just to be steered and deceived. It’s not worth it to stay in a relationship that does not know your worth and that makes you forget your valuable worth. Be with somebody that knows you are dear and precious, you and all your thoughts and feelings too, because love is more than just physical touch and endearing words. It’s also about making your mind and heart at ease while everything else in the world is harsh. It’s also about having a haven where your emotions are taken care of. 

Seek lawyers and legal help for any charges you need to file against abusive partners. Speak with relationship counselors, violence victim programs, and other concerned institutions for emotional health help. You are not alone.



Nicole Ann Pore is a writer, an events host, and a voice-over artist. She is a daytime writer for Adams Lawyers, a team of professionals that offer well-rounded services for all legal needs. Nicole graduated Cum Laude from De La Salle University Manila, Philippines with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts.

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