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how do we know when we are being emotionally abused?

Community Member

Hello everyone,

I would like to know how do when we are being emotionally abused when we suffer from depression. Because depression makes you overly sensitive to criticism and causes frustration for our family. When I described my situation to three different psychologists, all said I was being emotionally abused. These incidences were; my partner went and received a a sexual service when we were in an online relationship, before we met in person, and claimed he's done nothing wrong because he didn't consider us in a relationship at that time; several occasions he has blocked my number and ignored me for 3 days at a time when he got angry at me- he claims everyone gets angry in relationships and why does it hurt just not speaking for a few days? and lastly, he said I'm lazy and not meeting up to his expectations because I'm currently off sick from work.

I don't know how to differentiate what is acceptable and what isn't because of my state of mind. He said the idea he is being abusive is absurd because he never shouts or hits me. He thinks emotional abuse is a fake construct. Thoughts?

14 Replies 14

Community Member

Hi Geoff,

I am very interested in your comment of withholding finances as a form of emotional abuse, as my recent partner has accused ME of being the abuser in our situation:

He has a gambling addiction. One that has improved over the last 2-3 years, but is still an addiction, nonetheless.

He ASKED me if I would accept his work payments into my account. At first I said no, that I didn't feel comfortable taking over his money like that. That was until it became clear he couldn't be trusted not to stop at the pub & gamble it away on the way home.

(To be clear - I am aware many people enjoy a "tap" to unwind, but this really was a serious addiction)

I told him I had changed my mind & told him he could give his boss my details. He did. His money came into my account every week & I had regular transfers set up to automatically take care of bills, rent etc. He was sent back $100/wk "allowance" - money for him to use as he pleased. Even his fuel was covered by my budgeting. I took care of groceries & things the kids needed.... I thought this was a good arrangement.

But it didn't take long for him to become resentful of me holding "his" money. I tried to explain to him that he was the provider for his family & that "his" money was "our" money. He was upset because he thought I was trying to rob him.

Unknown to me at the time, he began sneaking his commissions back into his own account & lying to me about how much he was earning - sometimes $200-$300. He would go to the pub instead of coming home, and would usually lose everything he put in. When he actually won he would come home bragging & be upset with me for not being excited.

He would always try to justify his thought process & I could never quite explain that playing them at all was upsetting because of his addiction.

Question for clarity... Am I the abuser in this scenario?

.....just swinging passed....

I don't think u r. It sounds like he wants more of his earnt money though...to then spend on ..yep, dar...gambling...poor persons habit. Sorry about him being a drain....there's always gamblers annon- only, thing- he has to want to go which I can't see happening. A phone call to them though could be a solution.

Hi monkey_magic,

Sorry - I don't know anything about anonymous organisations like that... do they really accept calls from non-sufferers & non-family members/friends? He would know for sure it was me if they were to call him 😕 .

My family thinks I'm the dumbest person on the planet for seeing anything in him. They say I'm wasting my time & energy on him (which is probably true), but I know there is a silver lining buried deep in there, if only he would seek & accept the help he needs to bring it out.

He is the father of my son & I see him once - twice a week. In some ways I feel stupid for wanting to help someone who could hurt me the way he has. In other ways I know he has hurt me because of the hurt he feels himself. And that last tiny bit wants answers, if only for our son (Family Medical History).

Am I crazy???? I feel crazy.

Hello White Rose,

My most recent partner did the exact same thing to me! I have severe GAD & narcolepsy. He told me he "didn't think the narcolepsy would be such a problem."

Um... it's a neurological disorder beyond my control. I take medication & it helps, but I'm not Wonder Woman.

GAD is also exhausting, so I am not very good with housework or strenuous activity either. That doesn't mean I don't WANT a nice home & to engage in family activities. But I needed (need) help.

Did you ever feel maybe your partner was suffering from something, also? I often wondered (and still do wonder) about my ex, but he would never accept any suggestion for finding help.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Tinkermel,

I think yours is a (somewhat) unusual circumstance and it’s not what I’d consider economic abuse. I’m sure that you would love for your husband to be trustworthy with money and put his family first, but that’s not the reality, and as you are dealing with an addiction I think it’s fair of you to want to look out for your family if he isn’t. I would consider economic abuse what I have seen with a distant family member (woman) who is a stay at home mum and takes all of her husband’s 300k salary, he doesn’t even have the PIN numbers to his bank account or know how much is in there and he is not allowed to withdraw a cent, while she happily spends tens of thousands of dollars on the house. But she is also quite verbally abusive, so I think it’s all part of the abusive spectrum.