Emotional abuse checklist


Here is a checklist to help us determine if we might be in an emotionally abusive relationship. This is by no means a complete list, but merely questions I ask based on what I’ve survived, observed and studied.

It’s easy to brush problems aside, believe we’re over reacting or are especially sensitive, or wondering if we are the problem. We can deny the abuse just as much as the abuser denies their abusive behavior.

These are some of the less obvious signs of emotional abuse that no one outside our home will likely see. A few of the below items done with love, concern, and gentleness for the sake of understanding and being understood do not constitute abuse.

If we read this checklist and feel an ache in our heart because a few, several, or all of these negatively apply then we have elements of a toxic, destructive relationship. Please know there is help and we can find healing.

If this list applies to you, please find help so you can take good care of yourself.  Learn ways to interact with and set healthy boundaries with your angry and controlling person.

Often times when someone else names the problem or writes a list of symptoms, it’s easier to see reality.

Disclaimer: These questions can apply to men or women. I minister to abused women so I frame my questions from this basis. There are men who are abused by women. Not all men are abusers. There are many wonderful men in this world, but again, I minister to women who are being, or have been, abused.

Checklist/Questions:

  1. Is there a climate of fear of disappointing him?
  2. Do you, or the children, dread when you know he’s coming home?
  3. Does he make it clear what behavior is unacceptable, and the list is getting longer and longer?
  4. Does he make it clear how he wants the house, food, and laundry cleaned and organized?
  5. Is he consistently condescending in his tone of voice when he disagrees with you or doesn’t like something about you?
  6. Is there a sense that you have to check with him to make sure you are doing the right thing and in the right way?
  7. Do you constantly feel like an outsider in your own home?
  8. Do you feel a sense of shame around him for being different than him?
  9. Does he justify, minimize, spiritualize, or deny hurtful words or behaviors when you attempt to talk to him about them?
  10. When you try to speak logically does he treat you as if you’re unbalanced?
  11. Do you sense that he delights in (feeds off) disagreements?
  12. Does he turn love ‘off’ when he disagrees with you, is disappointed with you, or gets mad at you?
  13. Have you noticed that he never apologizes for angry outbursts or hurtful words?
  14. When you try to explain your feelings or needs does he habitually stare blankly at you, or walk away?
  15. Does he consider the house, the money, and belongings his and/or take your pay checks/earnings from you?
  16. Do you find that he has no interest in you as a person other than needing you as a wife/mother to take care of the house?
  17. Have you realized that he has no interest in your work, hobbies, talents, or outside activities?
  18. Does he want to make all the decisions for you regardless of your needs?
  19. Are your experiences, thoughts, or feelings automatically discounted and considered wrong?
  20. Do you find that you keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself because you know they won’t be considered, or that he will mock you?
  21. Does he control the family money by keeping you on a restrictive budget while he spends as much as he wants to spend?
  22. Do you find when he wants his way about something that he will keep bringing the subject up in hopes of getting you to change your mind?
  23. Does he treat you more like a child than like an adult who is equal with him?
  24. Do you feel like you’ve lost your personality, drive, talents, likes, and joy being married to him?
  25. Is your health deteriorating due to the stress in your marriage?
  26. Does he often give you the silent treatment when he’s in a bad mood or when he disagrees with you?
  27. Does he withhold words of affirmation, affection, and/or sex when he’s mad at you or disagrees with you?
  28. Does he come across as charming to people outside of your house; especially at church?
  29. Do you find extended family consistently express concern about his treatment of you?
  30. Does it seem he has unspoken rules that you’re supposed to know and obey?

If this leaves you feeling overwhelmed or sad, please find help in the margin of my website. I assure you that you can make healthy changes to protect yourself and your children while in an emotionally destructive /abusive relationship.

Click here for article: Biblical permission to leave a toxic spouse?

Look for these categories in the margin:

Articles/Videos: Other sources

Safety concerns in destructive marriages

Solutions – Hotlines – Help

Training Christian Leaders to Recognize Abusive Behaviors

I know that I don’t bring a lot to the table
Just little pieces of a broken heart
There’s days I wonder if You’ll still be faithful
Hold me together when I fall apart?
Would You remind me now of who You are?

That Your love will never change,
that there’s healing in your name
That You can take broken things,
and make them beautiful
You took my shame
And You walked out of the grave
So Your love can take broken things
and make them beautiful

I’m better off when I begin to remember
How You have met me in my deepest pain
So give me glimpses now of how You have covered
All of my heart ache, oh with all Your grace
Remind me now that You can make a way

You say that You’ll turn my weeping into dancing
Remove my sadness & cover me with joy
You say your scars are the evidence of healing
That You can make the broken beautiful

You make us beautiful, oh oh
You make us beautiful




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Writer, wife, imperfect home schooling mom to 3 amazing humans. Writing about lessons learned from surviving 100% of my worst days. Educating the church about domestic violence & abuse in their midst. Advocating for abused women living in, or leaving destructive marriages. Living an A.I.P. lifestyle. St. Louis Cardinals fanatic. Dog lover, Football fan.

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