Invisible Scars: How To Tell If You’re The Victim Of Emotional Abuse

Anna Sudit

Not all bruises can be covered with makeup.

Abuse in the movies always seems to be portrayed in the same stereotypical way:

The timid wife hides her black eye under makeup after her husband has had too much to drink.

The scared teen is grabbed by the wrists and pulled away from the party by her jealous boyfriend.

But these common portrayals of unhealthy relationships only show the visible, physical side of abuse. In reality, many relationships are plagued by a more covert form of abuse — one that does not leave visible bruises or scars but that is equally as damaging.

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Emotional abuse is abuse. And the invisible scars often run much deeper than a black eye.

The psychological effects and trauma that occur in emotionally abused victims can endure for years, if not a lifetime. But because there are no physical wounds, the signs of emotional abuse can be much more difficult to spot.

Recognizing the signs of domestic abuse requires you to take off the blinders of love you have for your partner and to be honest with yourself.

If you think you might be in an abusive relationship, ask yourself the following questions:


Does your partner make fun of you or put you down in front of other people, including friends?


Do you feel like you need your partner's permission to make decisions or go out somewhere?


Does your partner regularly point out your flaws or shortcomings?


Does your partner try to blame you for his or her own mistakes and problems?


Does your partner act emotionally distant or unavailable?


Does your partner try to make you jealous in order to control you?


Do you ever feel threatened or frightened when arguing with your partner?


Does your partner withhold money, food, sex, etc. in order to punish you?


Do you feel like your partner is a completely different person than he or she was during the honeymoon phase?


Does your partner treat you like you are property or an extension of him/herself rather than an individual?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may be in an emotionally abusive relationship.

For more information and support, check out the Women's Aid Federation.