Woman’s Twitter Post Shows The Important Difference Between A Healthy Relationship And Emotional Abuse
When someone is in a toxic relationship, they may not want to admit it (despite warnings from family, friends, a gut instinct) or might not even know that they’re in one. While the signs of physical abuse are blatant, emotional abuse in a relationship can be more deceptive, often hidden, and an emotional vampire to your spirit.
Emotional Abuse: A Silent Killer
Unlike physical abuse, emotional abuse is subtle. It can actually be more detrimental than physical abuse because it slowly erodes one’s sense of self and individual value. Most victims miss the red flags when their partner is emotionally abusive because they wholeheartedly want to believe that their partner is good or that their partner actually cares for them and wants the best for them.
However, while trying to convince themselves that their partner is good, they may find themselves feeling confused about the relationship, off balance, or walking on eggshells most of the time.
These subtle feelings creep up on you as you become more involved in the relationship. At the start of the relationship, the person may appear to be very attentive and kind. This period of ‘good’ behavior is part of the grooming process.
“In doing so, they win over the trust and confidence of their victims, which then makes the victims vulnerable to subsequent abuse,” – Lisa Ferentz, a licensed clinical social worker and educator specializing in trauma.
Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationship
Even though no relationship is perfect, healthy relationships are ones that bring out the best in you. They make you feel good most of the time and generally bring you up, not down.
A Twitter user posted 2 text message receipts that perfectly shows the significant difference between a healthy and non-healthy relationship. FYI – These screenshots are a year apart. The text on the left is from an ex-boyfriend and the text on the right is from her current boyfriend.
Difference between a boy and a man. pic.twitter.com/2iwE9jDEKY
— Mayc. (@MayLarsen14) August 8, 2018
The boyfriend on the left makes the girlfriend feel guilty and manipulates her into thinking she’s done something wrong. While the boyfriend on the right tells his girlfriend to have fun and to let him know when she’s home safe. See the stark contrast?
Users on Twitter had a lot of reactions and emotional feelings towards the post. One person even acknowledged that they weren’t innocent (nor proud) of having displayed this behavior in the past.
Unfortunately, I can admit I’ve acted like the one on the left. Not proud of it, but I know what it can do and I’m growing. A lot of people act that way not knowing the depth of their words. I want people to understand that the left side is in fact unhealthy af.
— ???? (@michaella_byrne) August 10, 2018
Long-term Emotional Abuse
The effects of long-term emotional abuse can cause severe psychological trauma to a person. Victims start experiencing feelings of depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and in most cases suffer from post-traumatic stress disorders and substance abuse issues.
If you aren’t sure what constitutes as emotional abuse, read the list of subtle warning signs from a toxic partner versus the signs of a healthy partner:
How to Spot a Toxic Partner
1. Overly & Inappropriately Jealous
Your partner doesn’t like sharing you with anyone. They inflict pain through jealous tantrums and threats. This can affect your connections with family, friends, co-workers, etc. and puts a damper on any plans you try to make outside of your relationship.
2. Monitors You
When a partner begins to monitor you, it can feel like you’re a child whose parent suspects you’re up to no good. It’s a subtle way of control, and it shows that they don’t trust you (or themselves). Everyone has a right to their own privacy, its a birthright. Regardless if you’re in a relationship or not.
3. Walking on Eggshells
To avoid upsetting your partner, you start second-guessing and self-editing yourself. Always feeling like you’re going to say or do something wrong can make you lose your sense of self and the ability to live authentically.
This is a tactic in which your partner leads you to mistrust your own interpretations of reality. For example, they may say to you: ‘I never said that’ ‘I never did that’ “You’re not making sense!” Gaslighting can inflict a lot of self-doubt on the victim making them more vulnerable and more easy to manipulate because they start doubting their own intuition and self-awareness.
5. Placing Blame
If your partner can’t ever take accountability for their actions, or their always blaming you, then you’re going to always find yourself in a hostile environment with no room for the relationship to grow.
6. You’re A Punching Bag
Your partner’s moodiness or negative attitude starts seeping into your relationship, thus sucking your emotional energy. A partner who is always nitpicking or complaining may be using you as their emotional punching bag to release their frustrations (which usually have nothing to do with you).
7. Personal Boundaries Repeatedly Crossed
Certain boundaries are essential to maintaining a happy, healthy relationship. If they don’t respect your personal space, let you have time with your friends and family (in peace) or don’t appreciate your opinions and ideas, this is a huge red flag.
8. Verbal Abuse
Arguments are a regular part of any relationship. However, if someone starts making threats, is screaming, and resorts to name-calling, this is a sure fire sign they don’t respect you.
9. Hot & Cold
You partner could be loving one moment and suddenly distant the next. This behavior is also known as the “honeymoon phase,” these people will maltreat their partner one day, and then smother them with affection the next day. This subconsciously makes staying in an abusive relationship more manageable because both parties come to accept this routine as normal.
10. Sexual Desire Is Gone
This is especially true for women, as they need to feel trust in their partner to become physically and emotionally aroused. If a woman feels hurt, afraid or angry with her partner, she will not feel safe and open around them.
How to Spot a Healthy Partner
1. The Relationship Doesn’t Feel Forced
You don’t feel imbalanced or feel like you’re doing things against your will in the relationship. Your partner doesn’t pressure you with things like having sex, living together, getting married, having a baby, spending time with them, choosing them over friends, etc.
2. You Feel Free
As cliche as this one sounds, ‘trust’ is a huge indication that you’re in a healthy relationship. Your partner is comfortable when you do things without them and respects your privacy.
3. Open Communication
You can talk to your partner about anything without being scared of how they’ll respond or worrying that you’ll be judged. Even if they don’t like what you have to say, a healthy partner will respond in a considerate and respectful way.
Having space and independence in your relationship to do what you desire is a big sign that you’re in a healthy/loving relationship. A partner who supports you having friends and a life outside of your relationship and doesn’t feel the need to be attached at the hip is a partner who respects your individuality.
5. Values You
You partner values your beliefs, opinions and who you are as an individual. They compliment you, support you, and do not violate your boundaries.
You and your partner put equal effort into the relationship (as opposed to one person calling all the shots). You feel heard in your relationship and are comfortable speaking up. You make decisions together and make compromises together.
7. Consistent Kindness
Your partner is consistently and genuinely kind to you. Not only when they want something or if they happen to be in a good mood. If you are going through a hard time, they will try to understand and be there for you.
8. They Are Accountable
Your partner doesn’t blame you. They apologize and can acknowledge when they are in the wrong. If they are upset they don’t take things out on you, and they try to maintain a positive attitude in order to grow as a person, thus grow in their relationship.
Loyalty comes in many forms and even goes beyond fidelity. This can mean being honest about thoughts and feelings, respecting you in public and not putting you down in front of family or friends, or just always having your back.
10. There is Joy
Your relationship should be full of laughter and fun. This doesn’t mean that there are never challenging times, but it does mean that your life together is mostly happy (even in the simplest ways). Whether it’s making dinner together, watching a good comedy together, finishing each others’ sentences, etc. You and your partner are always making an effort to see the positive side of life.
Are You Being Emotionally Abused?
If you suspect you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship, talk to someone you trust outside of the relationship. Recognizing your feelings and talking about them with a trusted friend, therapist, or counselor is crucial. There are hotlines open 24 hours a day where people are ready to talk to you and offer you suggestions in real time. (13)
The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or 800-787-3224 (TTY) is one such hotline offering 24/7 confidential support. (13)
You can also check out the resources of Stop Abuse For Everyone (SAFE), which focuses on the needs of straight men, LGBTQIA+ people, teens, and elderly people who are facing domestic violence. (13)
Crisis Text Line is another free, confidential resource available 24/7: Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the U.S. and a trained counselor will text with you live about whatever you’re going through, referring you to further assistance if needed. (13)
For residents in Canada, please check out this link:
And remember: You are not alone in this, help is always available to you.