How to recognize and get out of Emotionally abusive relationships?


Emotionally abusive relationships may appear to be happy and healthy to outsiders. A person who undergoes the trauma of such a relationship too puts up a bold front, hiding the pain till it becomes unbearable and unavoidable.

Emotional scars are more damaging than physical abuse as they run deeper and can never be healed.

Relationships are natural anchors that keep us together and the insecurity of losing a dearest person keeps the hope of a new dawn alive.

But that day never comes!

Abusers get bolder with your surrender. Slowly they get to know your weaknesses and start exploiting them in their favor.

Are you trapped in such a relationship?

  • Are you emotionally weak?
  • Do you feel stifled?
  • Are you living according to the wishes and desires of your spouse?
  • Do you do this out of love?
  • Do you feel helpless and powerless, at times?
  • Are you scared of your spouse/partner?
  • Do you yearn go out alone with friends but can’t?
  • Have you become immune to humiliation?

Living in denial:

It may seem incredible that your loving relationship has suffered a transformation; you may refuse to accept it in the beginning and may even fail to recognize the signs of denigration.

You may try to save it by being kind, giving and forgiving those moments of belittlement. You only realize when the assaults of your partner make you emotionally numb.

Pick up early signs:

Please don’t ignore these warning signals:

  1. Abusers are extremely possessive. Their love is very selfish and they play with your emotions to show their love.
  2. They are so self-centered that they find ways and means of getting all the attention.
  3. They deliberately show destructive anger to intimidate and control you.
  4. They try to isolate you from your friends and relatives.
  5. They can assault you physically but apologize most sincerely, the very next day, to win your trust and love.
  6. They can pretend to be frustrated and helpless to win your sympathy.
  7. They expect you to support them in all their decisions and can get aggressive if you don’t follow them blindly.

“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.”- Alice Walker.

How to Quit?Pain

It is very difficult to move out of such relationships because your abuser will never let you do that. He will use every possible tool to keep you trapped. So you have to tip toe out of it but before taking that final step you have to prepare yourself mentally as well as psychologically.

Think and decide:

Those who live with such a double-faced person find it quite difficult to quit because one day they feel extremely miserable and the next day everything seems rosy and comfortable. So the first step to get out of this relationship is to decide once and for all that you are not going to be cowed down, come what may.

Be strong and firm:

Follow your decision firmly. A wavering mind can be easily manipulated. Once you have made up your mind, you must snap off all emotional ties. I know it is not possible within a few days. Do it slowly if you have stayed too long under this subjugation.

Don’t share your plans:

Never breathe a word about the struggle of unshackling emotions; that might weaken your efforts. Don’t confide your plans to anyone if you are living in a joint family. The pressure of other family members may talk you out of your efforts to break free.


A dialogue with your own self on daily basis can help you analyze that you don’t deserve that suffering. It can help you understand your worth. If you have children, would you like them to grow up in such an atmosphere? Do you think they would appreciate your weak character?

Find Support:

There must be somebody in your life whom you can trust – a parent, a sibling or a friend. Get in touch with one of them and disclose your plan. If you don’t get a positive answer and have to walk out all alone, be sure that you have some money. If you are employed, then that is a blessing in disguise at such an hour.

Just Vanish:

This is the final step and you must take it very cautiously. Wait for the right time and steel yourself. Leaving all the emotional baggage behind, just walk away to whatever destination you have chosen. You really deserve that freedom. Change your mobile number or discard that old one just like you have abandoned that oppressive and abusive relationship.

If you know anybody who is in the grip of such a relationship, please guide and support. If you have any more suggestions, please add them in the comments below.

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Thank you for your support. Please add your valuable comments, they are much appreciated.

Balroop Singh.

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17 thoughts on “How to recognize and get out of Emotionally abusive relationships?

  1. Very Familiar. LOTS of emotional, philological, manipulating.
    Kay’s husband had many of these signs, but she thought he’d change.
    We all did.
    He. Never. Did.
    When she decided to finally leave, none of us knew this was the most DANGEROUS time for a woman. WHY DIDN”T WE KNOW?
    He killed her as she was walking out the door..

    1. Hi Kim,

      I am so thankful that there are persons like you who work for these kind of issues. Kay couldn’t pick up the signs because love blinds us to them. A good and kind person sees others with the same lenses that she/he wears. That is the sole purpose of writing about such a topic – to spread awareness, to not let any more Kay fall a victim to such a sick mentality.

      Words seem so lame when I say I am sorry for your loss, Kim. I know this vacuum can never be filled.

  2. Fantastic advice Balroop! I especially believe that keeping your escape absolutely secret is crucial. He may pressure your trusted source. I would add arranging your own bank account and credit card in your own name. A joint card or account is no good.

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for adding these important points to the article. I have seen a few of my friends in such relationships but they could not quit due to societal fear and stigma. One who walked out with two little children on her lap took a lot of time to reconcile and admit that she has snapped her ties off!

  3. As you can imagine, your message talks to me A LOT Balroop. I am out of it. The only thing I would say is to prepare your escape is very very important. I did it in a rush, cause it was life threatening in my case. I HAD to get away. But still away, my ex husband thinks that he can control my mind and tell me what to do and how to do it. I did a lot of work on me to stand on my own now, and not feel guilty or bad about anything that he says to me.
    But it’s hard and tough some days. You NEED people around you, friends, support. You NEED people so you don’t fall back for empty promises and manipulated love.

    May all women find solace in your words and may that find the courage to leave their abuser.
    Stay blessed and full of light always.

    1. Hi Marie,

      I can understand your state of mind but I know how brave you have been and I am proud of such persons who refuse to be cowed down by mere circumstances, who know that their love is being manipulated into controlling them. I have seen many such cases and all persons do not have the resources and the courage to stand firm and tall to fight the abuser. Yes, it is very very difficult but I am so happy for you that you have been so decisive.

      Thanks dear, for adding so much value to this article by mentioning your personal experience. May God bless you with a lot of happiness in future.

  4. Hi Balroop,

    Your post reminded me of a post I wrote too on the signs of an abusive relationship, where you can make out such an abuser, pretty much on the same lines, but knowing me, you know the great lengths I would have gone into 🙂

    Yes, such people are smooth operators and will make every attempt to hold you back or seek forgiveness, so you have to be very careful and know whether they are really being genuine or not. You are the best person to judge yourself and your core feelings, and you have to listen to that as it always guides you right….so know whether you want to stay (depending on the kind of relationship and what all you can take), and if nothing works, even after you have tried – just leave without second thoughts….no two ways about it for sure.

    Such abusers deserve no second chance. Sadly, sometimes they turn out to be the ones we’ve been close to, which makes it all the more tough, but sometime you just have to break all ties and call it quits, which happens when you reach your saturation point, isn’t it?

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

  5. Hi Harleena,

    I know you have blogged about every possible topic…who can beat you!!:) However having seen some abusers close by, makes us repulsive and this post is a natural reaction to all those memories I have about such persons. I had held them too long, they had to come out as this blog talks about my experiences.

    Sometimes I wonder how people can be so insensitive and monstrous that they can go to any extent to control your mind and life. You are right, they deserve no second chance and those who keep ignoring their atrocities can never get out of this mire.

    Thanks for adding your perspective, always appreciated! You too have a nice week!

  6. I’m so glad you are writing about abuse for women of your culture. I’ve often wondered how women gather hope from those of us who live differently and who can get away (physically, not emotionally perhaps) more easily. Many blessings for speaking up, Balroop

  7. Also, Balroop, perhaps it’s only my experience, but when I try to click onto your blog from the “link” given with your name under comments you leave, it doesn’t work. I had to Google you to come here. It would be a shame if you are missing chances for more visability.

    1. Welcome to my blog and thanks for the kind words. What I have mentioned here is just a grain in the sand, in which women have to bury themselves to survive in some societies. Only a few fortunate ones can escape the life long agony or even utter a word!

      Thanks for pointing out that my name link is not working. However, none of my friends have brought this to my notice. Thanks once again for reaching me despite that. I am truly blessed.

  8. My abuser was my dad, but I also had to be careful in leaving. Three times. First by graduating from high school a year early -he threw a fit. Second by marrying -he didn’t approve. Third by moving out of state -another fit. I got away but I had to tell others of my plans first, so it was already set in place before he knew.

    Girlfriends and wives are in much more life-threatening situations and should heed your advice to leave in secret.

    1. Nothing can be more painful than what you had to go through, Denise. I know how you had to struggle with all this and finally have emerged stronger. It is so unfortunate that your own closest persons try to snuff life out of you! I am so glad that you managed to get out of those situations as soon as you could.

      Thanks for sharing your story with us. I just hope it helps others.

  9. I didn’t like the emotionally weak question. I think abused people think they are weak and this self definition makes them feel worse. Someone has to find their strength not continue to define themselves as weak.

    1. Hi Jodi,

      As a healer, it is natural for you to think of all positive and encouraging points, I appreciate your perspective. I have seen how emotions are slowly used and abused to make them weak, to subjugate, to enslave so that they don’t think of walking out. Strength doesn’t come from inside at such times, some external force has to step in but when no such opportunity seems in sight, it becomes quite hard for the abused to have positive thoughts.

  10. Hi Balroop, thank you so much for writing an article like this for people who find themselves in emotionally abusive relationship. Your advice is solid – everything from gaining support by sharing with others to simply leaving. Emotionally abusive situations are very difficult for the person being abused to leave. They need courage, strength and hope and I bet this article will have a positive impact on anyone who feels like they’re trapped. You continue to write with hope for people in emotionally difficult places and it’s much appreciated.

    1. Hi Vishnu,

      Thanks for your kind words. You are right, those who get trapped in such situations become indecisive and weak. That is why it is essential to pick up early signs. I just hope more people realise that such abusers never make amends. They just can’t as they always think they are right.

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