We’ve told you that verbal and emotional abuse is the most common type of abuse there is. While women can be the person behind it, they’re much more likely to be the victims. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, domestic violence costs the U.S. nearly $10 BILLION each year in medical care, mental health services and lost productivity. Studies show that emotional abuse is the greatest risk factor for physical abuse. In fact, emotionally abusive partners are more likely to commit murder or murder-suicide. So ladies, here are the warning signs you need to watch out for in your relationship. These come from psychologist Steven Stosny, author of the book Love Without Hurt.  

  • He’s a blamer. He blames someone for cutting him off on the road. He blames his ex for making his life miserable. Early in a relationship, this can be hard to detect because blaming is often wrapped up in a compliment. “You’re nothing like that nag I used to date.” Stosny says the ‘law of blame’ is that it goes to the closest person. You’ll eventually be the target.
  • Next warning sign: He has an entitlement complex. His job - and life in general - is so tough on him that he has the right to cut in line, park in no parking zones and break other rules. If you let him get close enough to you, he’ll feel entitled to abuse you if you don’t let him have his way.
  • One last sign that the person you’re with is emotionally abusive: He’s jealous. Stosny says a dab of jealousy is fine – but any more than that can be toxic. He calls jealousy “the only naturally occurring emotion that can cause psychosis – which is when a person is unable to distinguish the real from the imaginary. Stosny says the most severe relationship violence has jealousy at its root.

These aren’t the only warning signs. If your partner is also sarcastic, petty, deceitful and pushy, you need to get out of the relationship before it kills your self-esteem – or worse.