See also: Ten reasons to change your behavior.
When we talk about abuse, our focus is often on the effect it can have on abuse victims. And their stories and feelings are absolutely important. Abusers will often make their feelings and needs a priority, and focusing on the needs and feelings of their victims is a way to reverse the damage of abuse. There is however, not enough being done to prevent abuse in the first place. We tell women not to get raped, but we don't tell men not to rape nearly as often. We tell women to leave their abuser (which is often well-meaning but terrible advice- abuse is more likely to turn fatal when a victim tries to leave), but we rarely face abusers head-on and tell them that their behavior is unacceptable.
1. You feel your bad moods and frustration are caused by the people in your life and you think it is their responsibility to resolve them.
2. When your partner hurts you emotionally, you seek revenge or retribution 'to show them how it feels' instead of discussing the issue.
3. You feel you constantly have to overlook your partners' flaws or shortcomings and expect them to change.
4. A fight or argument ends when you've said all you have to say and you've gotten what you want; you always have the last word.
5. When your partner brings up a behavior that bothers them you respond defensively instead of discussing how to change it.
6. You think your partner spends too much time with friends and family other than you.
7. When someone you care about does something you don't like, you ignore them completely or leave without telling them where you're going.
8. You feel that your partner is always "doing things the wrong way" and that you need to "set things right".
9. When things go wrong you know it is because of something your partner did (or did not) do. They have a way of "pushing your buttons" or putting you in a bad mood that others don't.
10. You negatively comment on your partner's appearance or intelligence and rarely compliment or praise them.
These are all tactics of emotional abusers and they're not okay.
Yes, we all do one or two of these things once in a while. Abusers do almost all of these things often, and they typically will escalate the longer they are allowed to go on. If you see yourself doing these things, if you feel justified doing these things, ask yourself: Do I want to be an abuser? Will I be proud knowing my partner fears me? What does it say about me that I need to control another human being to get them to love me?