It may start off innocently enough. Your partner may jokingly tell you to “shut up” after you express a different opinion from theirs or make subtle comments about how they dislike your friends. These are small things that may not seem like red flags. But according to experts, it’s still important to take notice. If your relationship is starting to feel off, these may be signs your partner is becoming emotionally dominant over you.
“Emotional dominance occurs when one person overwhelms the other’s emotional boundaries and begins to control what the other is allowed to show, think, feel, and/or how to outwardly behave,” psychotherapist Christine Scott-Hudson, MA, MFT, tells Bustle. “Most physical and sexual abuse happens after one person establishes emotional dominance over the other.”
More often than not, a person who is emotionally dominating has deeply-rooted insecurities and issues surrounding control. As psychotherapist Emily Roberts MA, LPC, tells Bustle, they’re often quick-tempered, lack regard for your time and emotions, and often blame others for their feelings and problems.
“Dominance means that your partner is attempting to limit your power,” Roberts says. “It’s not a sign of someone who cares about you. It means they care about them and are attempting to control your decision making or manipulate you. It’s unhealthy and emotionally abusive.”
Unlike physical abuse, emotional abuse isn’t always as easy to spot. So here’s how you can tell if your partner is becoming emotionally dominant over you, according to expert.
1They Snap At You For Having Different Opinions
“Emotional abuse is communication that intentionally tries to make another person feel bad, wrong, or unloveable,” Scott-Husdon says. If you feel like you’re not “allowed” to state your opinion or talk about certain topics that your partner doesn’t like, these could be warning signs of someone attempting to emotionally dominate you.