There are six telltale signs that you are a victim of emotional bullying or abuse that you need to keep an eye out for in any relationship.

There are a multitude of signs that indicate a person is in a relationship with a bully or an abuser. These signs range from obvious red flags, to subtle or secret hints. The six signs we have chosen are the most crucial signs that emerge when a person is in a relationship with an abusive bully. Many people are drawn to relationships with abusers and bullies meaning that everyone should keep an eye out for these warning signs.

#1 They play the blame game.

According to Bustle, one major warning sign of an abusive relationship is if your partner blames their bad mood on you. People who constantly blame their bad moods on other people are trying to saddle you with their personal problems and negative emotions. Meanwhile, Huffington Post says this blame can be pushed even further. They argue that an emotional abuser will find a way to blame anything and everything on their partner so they don’t have to shoulder any of their own responsibility.

#2 Their mean jokes and criticism go too far.

Huffington Post writes that abusive partners are more interested in tearing you down than building you up. An emotionally bullying partner tends to criticize you often and make mean jokes at your expense. Bustle writes that emotional abusers will constantly be humiliating their partner through cruel jokes and harsh criticism. This is a clear sign of emotional bullying.

#3 They are withholding.

Emotional bullies can withhold all types of support from you when they want to punish you. Bustle writes that the emotional bully might refuse to communicate with you at all as a way of controlling and punishing you. E-Harmony says that emotional bullies will withhold “approval, appreciation, affection, information, thoughts and feelings to diminish and control you.” E-Harmony says that this type of withholding punishment can often also include the “silent treatment.”

#4 They discourage and undermine you at every turn.

Abusive emotional bullies can often be discouraging instead of supportive in their relationships according to Huffington Post. E-Harmony talks about how abusers will contradict you and undermine you when it comes to everything you do in order to make you feel discouraged and feeling down. The goal is for the abuser to make you feel like your opinions and ideas don’t matter or have any worth.

#5 They use threats.

Bustle writes that emotional abusers may threaten to be romantically unfaithful to try to control or punish you. Bustle goes on to write that many people who are emotionally abusive might threaten to harm themselves if you leave the relationship as a way to keep you in the toxic relationship forever. Any type of threat, even if it seems benign, can be a way for the abuser to maintain control in the relationship.

#6 They try to control every aspect of your life.

Many of the methods above were ways that a bully tries to gain control over you in a relationship. However, these controlling ways can be more obvious on a lot of occasions. According to Bustle, the controlling bully will call you nonstop when you are away from them. They will often times try to make you feel guilty. Finally, Bustle writes that emotional abusers will try to dictate your income and spending as a way to have total control over you.

Don’t ignore these signs of emotional bullying. Share with your friends so they stay safe as well.

Sources: Bustle, Huffington Post, E-Harmony