Emotional abusers manipulate and control and convince their victims that everything wrong in the relationship is their fault. It can be explicit abuse--verbal attacks--or more subtle, such as constant disapproval or refusal to be pleased
  1. Often both abusers and recipients of abuse themselves had childhoods where they were emotionally abused. They either identified with the aggressor or repeated the victimization or sometimes both, alternating being aggressor or victim
  2. First--The Seduction--emotional abusers know how to make their victims dependent on them. They seduce and overwhelm any doubts you might have about them. They are master manipulators. They convince you that you need them and can't function without them. You feel powerless.
  3. Emotional abuse is mind control. Abusers convince their victims that they are worthless and inadequate. There is a constant unrelenting attack on your core sense of self. Sometimes the abuse is a verbal assault such as blaming, humiliating, attacking your flaws. Other times it is withholding affection, stonewalling, or contempt.
  4. In addition to trying to dominate, emotional abusers will use threats to try and control you, especially for people who have abandonment anxiety or sensitivity to rejection, this kind of blackmail can be devastating
  5. Emotional abusers get sadistic pleasure from publicly humiliating and shaming you, for example, contemptuously dismissing anything you say and making fun of you in front of others. They get enormous pleasure out of making you look stupid
  6. Emotional abusers fuck with you in other ways by being completely unpredictable. One moment they are lovey-dovey--the next moment they are attacking you. You never know where you stand
  7. Emotional abusers will gaslight you. They will deny that they said or did something, or they will try and convince you that you said or did something you know you didn't do. It all operates to make you feel completely dependent on this crazy person
  8. You can never meet their expectations. It doesn't matter how much you give it's never going to be enough, whatever you do, it's going to get attacked and criticized. Their MO is to make you feel guilty and because you are guilty you are dependent on them for approval
  9. Those of you who've experienced this, suggest your own observations.
  10. Next list--part 2. How to get out of an abusive relationship or change it and yourself for good.
  11. Love, Doc P
  12. Emotional abusers will identify and then specifically exploit your weaknesses. You will feel like if you can fix this one little thing about yourself, they will love you. But then the love/approval is withheld.
    Suggested by @ChrisK
  13. This is related to gaslighting, but I was struck (upon leaving) by how LOGICAL the world seemed once I was out of that relationship. I'd gotten used to agreeing with (and even believing) things he said that didn't make sense. I wasn't ready to leave, and somehow it was easier to believe I was crazy and just live with constant cognitive dissonance.
    Suggested by @rebeccalou