How can I identify psychological abuse?

Most people assume that the signs of abuse are readily apparent. While this may be true with some instances of physical abuse, which often leaves behind visible reminders like bruises, psychological abuse can be harder to detect.

Additionally, psychological abuse can take on many different forms. Being able to identify possible signs ensures you can get the help you need to break the cycle of an abusive relationship. While the following signs do not always mean abuse is an issue, they can be problematic when they feature within an interpersonal relationship.


A healthy partnership should increase your confidence in your abilities and talents. Conversely, an unhealthy relationship will have the opposite effect. You may begin to question your judgment as a result of your partner’s constant criticisms and insults. This causes confusion in your personal life, which can extend to every area.

Increase insecurities

While it is normal to have insecurities, many abusers exploit these insecurities to maintain control over their partners. For example, if you have concerns about your ability as a parent and your spouse constantly calls into question child-rearing decisions you make, it is bound to worsen your insecurities. This is the goal of many types of abusive behavior.


Most people can make decisions capably on their own. If you are a victim of abuse, you may feel the need to confer with your abuser on major decisions. Indecision results when a person is constantly questioned about their abilities and choices.


All of the above effects can combine to create increased anxiety. You may experience general anxiety or more acute episodes, such as panic attacks. Anxiety can have many other causes, but when it emerges suddenly it can be the result of an unhealthy relationship.