How to Recognize Signs of Psychological Abuse

It can be difficult to know when you are being psychologically abused. 

The signs are often subtle and easy to overlook. In fact, many people don’t even realize they are being abused until it’s too late. Likewise, it can be hard to detect the signs in someone else’s life. 

If you think you or someone you love may be in an abusive relationship, it is important to know what to look for. The following lists four red flags that can indicate psychological abuse is happening.

Please get educated on signs of psychological abuse, like verbal insults, isolation, and constant criticism.  Share on X

How to Recognize Signs of Psychological Abuse

1. Verbal abuse

Verbal abuse is a key sign of psychological abuse. If your partner is constantly insulting you, putting you down, or making you feel inferior, this is a major red flag.

2. Isolation

Isolation is another key sign of psychological abuse. If your partner is trying to isolate you from your friends and family, or is preventing you from participating in activities you enjoy, this is a major warning sign.

Need mental health support? For professional, confidential assistance, contact one of our partner agencies, like The Urban League of Essex County.

3. Constant criticism

Constant criticism can also be a sign of psychological abuse. If your partner is constantly finding fault with everything you do, and never seems to be happy with anything you do, this can be a sign of an abusive relationship.

4. Threats

Threats and intimidation are also common signs of psychological abuse. If your partner is threatening to hurt you, or intimidate you in any way, this should be a major red flag.


Want to learn about recovery from psychological abuse? In Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse, author Shannon Thomas, LCSW, offers words of wisdom and hope and “spot-on” steps to healing. 

Consider grabbing a copy for yourself and be encouraged by the applicable recovery stages that are shared. 

Wonder what other resources the professionals recommend on understanding mental illness? Get a list of the 10 most popular books on mental illness when you download our free ebook.

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