Gabby Petito made us all take a look at everyone around us and wonder if relationships are safe. Not all relationships are physically abusive, they can be emotionally and mentally abusive. Relationship problems can escalate and become more serious quickly or over time. Relationship problems can happen in any relationship, romantic or not.

It is hard to see the signs when you are in it. I suggest creating a support system outside of your relationship that checks on you. Keep notes of the abuse and read them over when you are debating what to do.

So, I don’t know who needs to hear this but here are some signs that you are being mentally abused. It can be difficult for even the strongest of people to identify what is going on.

They act surprised that you're good at something.

This is a small sign, and may lead to nothing or could be the start of something catastrophic. If you encounter someone that is openly surprised you can do something, keep an eye out on that relationship. It is possible they are trying to make you feel like you are not good enough.

They try to manipulate your relationships with other people.

If someone tries to tell you your relationships with other people are under false pretenses, ask yourself or even the other people the basis of your relationship. Don’t let someone tell you what your friendships are made of. This is the first step to isolating you because you are not sure who to reach out to or who you can trust.

They make you feel insecure and then point it out

This is a more complicated variable that could vary greatly based on your situation. The bottom line is, if someone is pushing you to feel less and then uses your lesser feeling against you, it is mental abuse.

They tell you that all your explanations are invalid.

Explanations are how points are made, if someone doesn’t give you a chance to explain and push their own agenda, they are abusing you. If they make you feel like nothing you say can save you, it’s because it can’t and you need to leave. They are the only thing you need to be saved from.

They say they are always standing up for you.

One or two instances, sure, but if someone utters the phrase “everyone always says and I defend you.” They are trying to break you down and make you feel like no one around you cares for you.

They tell you that your struggles and sorrows are not justified.

Even if in your case the person saying this has visibly more trauma, it does not invalidate your feelings. You have the right to feel however you want and no one can take that from you, it is one thing to be unsupported, it is another to endure abuse over it.

They tell you that you do not deserve the things you have.

 This person might try to say that you got there the wrong way, or that these things just fell into your lap. Don’t let anyone take away your achievements. This is a sign they are trying to make you feel like you cannot get anywhere without them.

They tell you you have no one.

It is more obvious if they point out that they are the only support system in your life, but they could simply try and tell you no one is there for you so you come to that conclusion yourself. The important part is, you are not alone, don’t let them isolate you.

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