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How To Leave An Emotionally Abusive Relationship? 

How To Leave An Emotionally Abusive Relationship?

The Invisible Wound: Don’t you just love when your partner makes you feel less than who you are and what you deserve? I remember working at a hotel during one summer and I got the shock of my life when I witnessed an interaction between a woman and her husband. The wife wanted a mimosa, and right as she completed the order, her husband was there to shut her down. He made it crystal-clear that she would not be getting a glass of mimosa, but a cup of coffee instead. The level of power and authority that he had over her was so great that the mere thought of arguing with him seemed pointless and a waste of her time. An emotionally abusive relationship consists of one partner controlling or manipulating the other by crippling his or her confidence, trust, growth, and/or emotional stability.

An emotionally abusive relationship is normally the epitome of a fairy-tale romance at first. It feels like God answered your prayers because they are everything you want in a partner and more! You create a bond from certain attributes that they possess; attributes that you love and appreciate. However, emotional abusers are very skillful in the art of manipulation and deception.

The attachment to them gets stronger by the minute and you are so invested in the relationship, that by the time you notice things have changed, the abuse is in full effect! Not only that, but there are persons who are aware of the abuse but refuse to acknowledge it simply because “they weren’t always like that”, “he can change”, or “she’s just going through a lot right now”.

Am I In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship?

Quite a number of people are unaware of being in an emotionally abusive relationship, simply because it is not physical. Some signs that you should look out for in an emotionally abusive relationship are:

  • Your partner gaslights you to maintain control. Your partner constantly contorts reality for you and makes you feel that you are at fault and not making sense. Look out for phrases such as “I never said that” or “I never did that” because over time these retorts can create self-doubt and you will lose trust in your own perception and become easier to control.  
  • You apologize even when you know you are not wrong. Persons that have been emotionally abused by their partners believe that they are in the wrong and/ or inconsiderate because of what their partner has repeatedly told them.
  • You feel sorry for your partner even though they hurt you. Emotional abusers are the best manipulators as they know just what to say and do to make themselves the victim. They bring up childhood trauma to play on your emotions. Victims tend not to think too much about their abuser’s negative behavior, but instead choose to acknowledge the ‘hurt’ that he/she may have gone through.
Warning signs of an emotionally abusive relationship and the steps needed to learn how to leave an emotionally abusive relationship.
Photo by Liza Summer on
  • Your partner demands to know your whereabouts and with whom at all times. At first, this might have seemed like authentic concern from your partner but after a while, it develops into a way for him/her to have complete control over you. When your partner requires a constant account of where you are and with whom, limits where you can or cannot go, and who you can spend time with is a prime example of emotional abuse.
  • Your partner controls your finances. You are not allowed to make purchases without receiving permission from your partner and any transaction must be approved by him/her. You are completely dependent on your partner because you do not have access to your bank accounts as your partner refuses to give you the passwords. He/she has complete financial control.
  • Make hurtful “jokes” at your expense. Emotional abusers are professionals when it comes on to being slyly disrespectful and cruel. They have a way of cloaking it with humor or sarcasm, but it is obvious when they are trying to be mean

How To Leave An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

Leaving an emotionally-abusive relationship is probably one of the most difficult things to do. Every situation is different and should be dealt with accordingly. Below are some common ways to go about leaving an emotional relationship:

Acknowledge The Emotionally Abusive Relationship

  • You will first have to come to the realization that you deserve better. It is not something that will happen overnight, but trust that it will happen. Your mindset will begin to change and soon you will notice that you start to love you for you.
  • Accept that you cannot “fix” your partner. They must be willing to change their ways, there is nothing you can do about it.

Reach Out For Support

  • Before talking to anyone, ensure that they won’t tell your partner that you are thinking of ending the relationship. This will ensure your safety, as your partner may retaliate.
  • Speak to someone who you trust about your situation, whether a doctor, teacher, a relative, or a friend. Tell them about what you have been going through and your thoughts about leaving. Share all your concerns, cry if you must; it’s all about your healing.

Develop An Exit Plan

  • You cannot leave an abusive relationship blindly – you must ensure that a strategic plan is put in place. Start saving money and looking for new places to live; think everything through and come up with the best plan you can!

Ending Contact For Good

  • Do not engage in contact with your partner after you have left the relationship. Remember that they are skilled in manipulation. They will do and say whatever to get back in your good graces.


So many people suffer from abuse and suffer alone.

Pamela Stephenson

Being in an emotionally abusive relationship does not define who you are as a person. It does not make you weak. It takes a lot of resilience for someone to go through the roughest of waters and still be able to bounce back. Leaving this type of relationship is not the final step in becoming whole again. Make it a point of your duty to seek help because this form of abuse takes a toll on your mind. You are not alone, as there are people who are willing to listen and care for you. You are loved, you are beautiful, and no one should have the power to make you feel otherwise.

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