Theresa Zettl

During the Orange Days from 25th of November to the 10th of December, we European Liberals for Reform want to raise awareness to the matter of violence against women. However, women who do not experience physical violence, might have to deal with this special form of domestic violence, the emotional abuse. Emotional abuse in relationships occurs through behavioral patterns by the partner with the hope to break down the woman’s self-esteem, as by controlling and manipulating her and isolating her from family and friends. Emotional abuse is not easy to recognize, and it leaves victims feeling wounded and trapped. Until something is done to stop the cycle, such as ending the relationship, the abuse continues.

Why is emotional abuse also domestic violence?

A woman in an emotional abusive relationship experiences so much different patterns during the abuse such as name-calling, accusations, gaslighting, and verbal abuse in domestic violence situations. It is difficult for victims to establish a sense of self because their self-esteem and self-image became distorted. Therefore, it is also hard for the abuse to be detected: Women worry what others might say about them or spread rumors about them and their relationship. Additionally, emotional abusive partners will try anything to isolate their partner from friends and and will call into question the relationship of trust with friends and family of the woman. These might lead to it that women isolate themselves voluntarily even more as they feel like nobody will believe, understand or would like to be around them anymore. However, it is important that you, as a woman in an abusive relationship, have someone you trust and who will help you to get out of this spiral of domestic violence.

Typical signs that you are in an abusive relationship:

For women it is hard to see abusive behavior in their partner. “If he didn’t love me, he wouldn’t be with me!”. Let me put it differently: “If he did love you, he wouldn’t treat you the way he is treating you and make you suffer and question yourself.”

  1. You stopped doing things you enjoyed in the past, that might now make your partner jealous or angry, such as going out alone or with friends and co-workers or being active on social media.
  2. If you are out, you must check in with your partner, let him know where you are and with whom you are, even when it is family members you spend time with.
  3. Your partner has extremely mood swings. From one moment to another he turns from loving to distant and not available. This is called gas-lighting.
  4. Your partner doesn’t acknowledge any of your accomplishments, for instance success at work. He will find pleasure in putting you down and belitting your strengths to make you question yourself in order to have more control of you.
  5. Your partner acts as if he is better than you and knows more than you do. He acts as if he is entitled or superior to you while treating you as inferior. He is being condescending, uses sarcasm and acts as if he is right all the time. He loves to mansplain you to show you, how low educated you are – even when you are not.
  6. Your partner has expectations you cannot or are unwilling to meet. He wants you to do things, and when you don’t, you get heavily criticized by him. He expects you to put him first and make him your highest priority in life.
  7. Your partner makes you feel like your opinion does not matter and makes fun out of your (gut) feelings.
  8. He makes you apologize for things, even if he was the one being wrong and enjoys seeing you feel stupid or selfish towards him.
  9. Your partner enjoys making fun out of you and discredits you – also when with other people.
  10. Your partner controls you through isolation. He may take away possessions such as your phone, tablet, or laptop, make fun of your loved ones, or use envy or jealousy to keep you from others as a way of love and only caring about you. He will want you to only spend time with him alone.
  11. Your partner keeps things (such as money, affection, or sex) from you as a punishment.

Typical feelings or impressions you have when you are in an abusive relationship:

The advice site of has put together a few changes in your own perception, we would like to share with you:

  • You feel shame. Your confidence and self-esteem are eroded because of believing things said by your partner what they say works to demean, criticize, humiliate, or shame you.
  • You lose motivation and strength. You may question how you view reality. You may lose trust in yourself based on things said by your partner
  • You are isolated. You may go out with friends and family, but your partner starts questioning why you spend time with others or use similar tactics to increase your vulnerability. Your partner wants you to themselves. Relationships with friends and family members suffer.
  • You feel like you have no control over your life. You can’t choose what to wear, eat, or where to spend your time. Your partner makes decisions for you to be in control, and you feel uncomfortable with their results. They have to know your choices first.
  • You’re told no one else understands you. An abuser will make it clear that no one else wants you or wants anything to do with you. They may say no one else can love you like them to keep you from leaving.
  • You wonder about their mood swings. Your partner may show different emotions that are extreme from a bad mood to be romantic. Emotionally abusive partners can be unpredictable, making the relationship unhealthy.
  • You are angry you’re not standing up for yourself. The abuse makes you weak and affects how you fight back. You may have given up or felt too confused to know what to do. You may think your partner is right and start hating yourself.

If you have been reading this article with having the impression this is about you, kindly rethink your relationship and talk to close friends and family members to take a time off and get out of this abuse spiral. Please note: the above can happen by both culprit and victim of any gender. However due to the Orange Days raising awareness for violance against women, we are sharing this information from the view of a woman being abused.

Need more information?

During the Orange Days 2021 you will find more articles here in our blog and videos on our youtube channel. Feel welcome to share our content with your friends and family or women that might find themselves in an abusive relationship.

Emotional abuse as a special form of domestic violence
Post Disclaimer

The opinions on this blog are of the authors themselves and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of ELfR.


Co-Founder of European Liberals for Reform Chairperson of ELfR Working Group Health ALDE Individual Members Steering Committee Member (2022-2023) Social Media & Digital Marketing Expert, Blogger Favorite Topics: Health, Society, LGBTQI

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