The Emotionally Destructive Relationship

Compiled  and Written Spring of 2012

What makes a woman commit suicide at 36 with young children, a beautiful home, and a husband that provides for the family? 

Emotional abuse could be the reason.

What makes a man leave his wife of 30 years because he can no longer stand to be in her presence? 

Emotional abuse could be the reason.

How does one recognize an  emotionally destructive relationship? Answer these questions:

(From The Emotionally Destructive Relationship By Leslie Vernick)

1. Does the person use physical force or threats of force to make you do something you don’t want to do or to keep you from doing something you want to do?

2. Does the person use verbal weapons such as cursing, name calling, degrading comments, constant criticism, or blaming to get you to do something you don’t want to do or to keep you from doing something you want to do?

3. Does the person curse at you, call you names, humiliate you in public, or degrade you when he or she is unhappy with something you do?

4. Does the person force or manipulate you to perform sexually in ways you do not want to?

5. Do you ever feel afraid of the person?

6. Does the person yell, scream, curse, or hurt you physically when he or she is frustrated or angry?

7. Does the person threaten to alienate your children from you or use them to intimidate you into giving in to what he or she wants?

8. Are you afraid to disagree with the person?

9. When you share your thoughts and feelings about something important to you, does the person ignore you, make fun of you, or dismiss you?

10. Are you verbally and/or physically abusive toward the person?

11. Does the person always think he or she is right to the point of arguing with you until you concede or give up?

12. Does the person make most of your decisions for you?

13. Does the person control the family money, giving you little or no say?

14. Have you given up things that were important to you because the person pressured you?

15. Does the person pout or withdraw from you for extended periods of time when he or she is angry or upset with you?

16. When you ask for a time out or don’t want to talk about something anymore, does the person keep badgering you to engage?

17. Does the person lie to you?

18. Have you observed the person lying to others?

19. Does the person tell you something didn’t happen when you know it did?

20. Does the person question or challenge your certainty of what he or she said or did?

21. Does the person depend on you to meet all his or her needs?

22. Do you feel more like a child than an adult in the relationship?

23. Are you emotionally devastated when the person is upset with you or doesn’t want to be in relationship with you?

24. When you try to talk with the person about your feelings or something that’s bothering you, do you end up feeling like the trouble is entirely your fault?

25. When the person does something wrong, does he or she blame you or anyone else for it?

26. Does the other person make excuses for his or her behavior (anger, jealousy, lies)?

27. Do you feel loved and cared for in the relationship?

28. Can you safely express an opinion that is different from the person’s?

29. Does the person show interest in you and your needs?

30. Are you able to express your honest thoughts and feelings with the person?

31. When the person does something wrong, does he or she admit it and take responsibility for it?

If you answered any question up through question 25 with anything other than never, you are likely in an unhealthy relationship. Questions 27–31 describe the basic elements of a healthy relationship.  If you answered never or seldom to any of these questions, your answers indicate that your relationship is unhealthy and probably destructive. If answering this questionnaire has revealed to you that you are in an abusive relationship, please seek appropriate help from those in your church or community who are experts in helping victims of abusive relationships.

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