If You Experience Any Of These 9 Relationship Letdowns, It Could Be Emotional Abuse

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Emotional abuse can come about slowly and quietly, which is why it's often easy to ignore, brush off, or overlook. But since it's a very real and very toxic problem, as well as one that may require you to reevaluate your relationship, it's important to keep your eye out for the signs — including all the small ways your partner lets you down.

"Emotional abuse can be any form of manipulation or exploitation of a person’s vulnerability," licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Racine Henry, PhD, LMFT, tells Bustle. "It can be the result of a power imbalance within a relationship and cause extreme mental and emotional distress."

For some couples, it's possible to overcome this problem — and improve the overall health of the relationship — by talking about it and going to therapy. "There are circumstances where a couple can overcome emotional abuse, particularly in situations where the relationship is healthy other than when the couple is fighting in the heat of the moment, and bad behaviors come out," licensed psychologist Dr. Danielle Forshee, tells Bustle. "In those circumstances, couples counseling could be effective."

It's important, though, to tune into your feelings and be honest with yourself about the state of your relationship. If it feels toxic, or you feel unsafe, it may be best to get out. Often a friend, family member, or therapist can help you in the process. So if you notice any of the signs of emotional abuse listed below, don't be afraid to reach out to others for help, or call a hotline, to help you get out of the relationship.