12 Subtle Signs You’re Being Psychologically Abused by Your Partner

By Nicole Yi According to psychotherapist Avery Neal, over 50 percent of Americans, both men and women, have been in a psychologically abusive relationship — and that statistic only includes those who report it. Psychological abuse is often carried out through manipulation and control tactics. Though it doesn’t leave any visible scars, it can be just as traumatizing as physical abuse. And because it may not seem as extreme as physical violence, many people overlook the warning signs and suffer in silence. Any degree of an abusive relationship is still an abusive relationship, and should not be ignored. If you can relate to some or all of the questions below, it could be a sign that you’re being “subtly abused,” according to Neal. Does your partner use humor to put you down? Does he or she make you feel bad for being overly sensitive? Does your partner play devil’s advocate, leaving you feeling defensive and unsupported? Is your partner evasive, not answering your questions or concerns directly? And does he or she get defensive or imply that you’re crazy or jealous when you ask for transparency? Does your partner seem really loving, but is intense and overinvolved (calling or texting incessantly)? Does your partner lack empathy for you and/or others? Did your partner come on really strong in the beginning, wanting to get too serious too quickly? Or was your partner charismatic and charming and overly engaged, especially in the beginning? Do you have to work hard in your relationship to please your partner, feeling that it’s harder and harder to get warmth and approval? Does it feel as if your partner works against anything you need or want? Do you feel like you’re going crazy or do you feel guilty for having negative feelings about your partner, especially because they seem so logical and has a reason for everything? Do you trust your partner to make the decisions even when you’re not there? Do you feel unheard, invalidated, missed, put down, made fun of, like you’re always apologizing? Just because the signs aren’t glaringly “abusive” doesn’t mean they should go ignored. “Some of these behaviors are really hard to identify because they’re not as obvious as with physical abuse,” Neal told POPSUGAR. “That’s why I think it’s so important to look at some of the behavioral patterns of the abuser, but also how you feel in a relationship.” It’s also important to note the consequences of staying in such an unhealthy situation for a long period of time. In addition to having self-doubt and low self-esteem, the effects of staying can range to more severe damage: anxiety, depression, substance abuse, self-harming behaviors, and suicidal thoughts. “Depression and anxiety...

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The Baby Transition

The Baby Transition

A Few Words for Couples Most of us know what a difficult transition it can be to have a baby, and it can be even more complicated if you or your partner is experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety. Whether this is your first child or not, the transition period after having a baby impacts your relationship with your partner. Try to keep in mind that the first months are the hardest, and once you find your rhythm, things get a little easier. I was recently talking to a friend of mine, going through her own struggles after the birth of her second child, when it occurred to me that I should write down some of my own observations after working for years with women and couples. Women tend to follow certain patterns as they adjust to life after having a baby, and men tend to follow certain patterns in reaction to their partner. The following paragraphs are just a few words to shed some light onto the new dynamic you and your partner may be experiencing. For the new father… I am sure it seems you have lost your wife for good! You may not recognize her or your new life together. She is probably a shadow of her former self. But things will get better and you will get your wife back. There are some things to understand about this. First, the more you try to talk her out of her feelings or get her to see things in a rational way, the worse she gets. Even though it seems counter-intuitive, she is feeling completely overwhelmed which is an emotional response to the situation and it cannot be intellectualized or dealt with logically. You must appeal to her emotions. That means, when she is upset the best thing you can do is reassure her that you are there and willing to help in whatever capacity she needs. In addition, during this time women need lots and lots of reassurance. Even if you feel that you have already said something, say it again, and again. It won’t always be this way, but for now, her anxiety is probably through the roof, and the reassurance is comforting, even if it is only temporary. Realize that the depression/anxiety is a symptom that will go away at some point. The very best way to get it to go away is sleep. Women should only be put on medication after they have gotten enough sleep for many weeks following sleep deprivation. In order for the brain to replenish itself it needs 5 consecutive hours a night, plus some. Although this is not always possible, getting as close to that is ideal. Please be...

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