Mental Abuse – Tell Tale Signs of Crazy-Making Psychological Abuse

In a relationship there are many different forms of abuse that can be inflicted – emotional, verbal, physical and mental. Of all of them mental abuse is perhaps the most abstract and difficult to define or even identify, but can also be one of the most cruel and damaging whereby the individual begins to question their very mind and leave you feeling confused, stressed and even depressed.

Mental abuse can take many forms, but mostly it consists of a series of ‘mind games’ that can be traumatic for the victim. This can mean scare tactics, emotional blackmail, unpredictable mood swings, random acts of cruelty, humiliation, ignoring your emotions, flirting with strangers, being condescending or demeaning of your feelings, lying or even theft. An example of mental abuse then could be to go out for long periods of time without telling your partner and then yell at them when they inquire as to where you were. At the same time you might shout if they go out, or continuously ring them for checks as to where they are. Another completely different example could be to steel a partner’s money then accuse them of paranoia if they ask where it is gone. Similarly you might force sex when they are tired and tell them they are a bad partner if they do otherwise, or shout at them and tell them they are useless only to them come back and act as though nothing had happened. Or they might insult you viciously in front of your friends. All these are examples of mental abuse and all of them are damaging.

Essentially it is treating the individual not as someone you love but as someone you resent, or a stranger, or switching between extremes. This then leaves the victim unable to relax and constantly on their guard and as such this can give way to severe stress, paranoia, or other similar issues. If you then complain about the situation you will be told you are being stupid or overly sensitive and in your current mental state you might be inclined to listen. This in itself is a form of mental abuse that can be damaging and can also prevent you from escaping from the situation.

To recognise mental abuse in your relationship then see if you feel this way. Do you trust your partner? Do you feel relaxed around them? Do they trust you? Are they supportive? If you find that your partner makes you unsettled and nervous then something is certainly wrong. In many cases it will simply be that your partner themselves is mentally unstable and so unwittingly takes it out on you. In others they will feel insecure and feel the need to control you or torment you to make themselves feel better. In either case it is unacceptable and you should ensure that you separate from them, either permanently or until they’ve had help. Most importantly of all you mustn’t respond to it and mustn’t let it affect your sense of self.


  1. This article shines light on a murky subject and has been comforting to me. The phrase that really hit a chord was "Do you feel relaxed around them [your partner]?" This question goes right to the point!

  2. I feel this article is incomplete. I was expecting a more detailed delineation of signs or examples of crazy-making types of abuse.

  3. Great topic… shallow explanation. I've yet to find but ONE article that lists point-blank some of the actual words/phrases/names that qualify as abuse. I think that is very important, as many women don't realize what is unacceptable, verbally… because the abuse now seems normal to them. Reading a detailed list is what helped me to suddenly SEE my situation as it IS… and ya even me the courage to leave. I would like to have enough seen this article packed with specific examples.

    What it DOES say, however, is accurate.

  4. There are many, many types of crazing making. This article points on limited points on just one yet fails to point out there are many more.

    Consider the person who uses "soft" language but to an extreme; meaning they are so polite & diplomatic it is nearly impossible to understand if they have an opinion about anything, including the color of grass. If one lives with this person, it is impossible to have effective communication at a personal level. In cases like this, the crazy-making is quite unintentional and often referred to as a "personal style".

    Distort and distract is another form as is divide and conquer. The important thing to recognize is most people don't understand they are damaging people in their use of 'crazy-making'. In fact, often the other person feels you are the one crazy-making. Most things in life are a two-way street.

  5. Having read this I thought it was rather enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this content together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  6. I thought it was all me, I scream, vent, he just says "I don't know". What does he expect me to do?

  7. Exactly describes my marriage….

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Adam Sinicki

Adam Sinicki is a full time writer who spends most of his time in the coffee shops of London. Adam has a BSc in psychology and is an amateur bodybuilder with a couple of competition wins to his name. His other interests are self improvement, general health, transhumanism and brain training. As well as writing for websites and magazines, he also runs his own sites and has published several books and apps on these topics.

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