Many times an emotionally abusive relationship is obvious to outsiders but not to the person being abused. It's easy to become so immersed in the relationship that you become blind to the signs that are so blatant to others.

If these eight things sound like you, you've probably been emotionally abused without knowing it.

1. You feel hesitant sharing your hopes and ambitions

You're shy about openly communicating your dreams for your future because you've been in a relationship with someone who was unsupportive and discouraging. This lack of support and active discouragement is a sign of emotional abuse.

2. You felt praised and cheered on by everybody but them

When you accomplished something significant, followed your ambitions or overcame a big difficulty, did you notice a lack of encouragement and support from someone who should've been your number one cheerleader? Or, did they give you reactions that put you down when they should have been giving you loving praise?

3. You can recall them putting you down in front of others

Whether it was behind your back or right in front of you, your loved ones should never, never stoop to that level. If they did, your lack of self-esteem and emotional scars are remnants of that emotional abuse.

4. You feel like you need permission before you make decisions

Whether the decision is big, like moving somewhere, or small, like going out with a friend, you feel like you shouldn't be able to make it yourself. Emotionally abusive people are often very controlling and establish dominance by demanding you receive their permission before doing nearly anything.

5. You see flaws in yourself because they were pointed out to you

Emotionally abusers will constantly criticize you and unkindly point out what they perceive to be your flaws. These so-called flaws could be anything from your weight to your "lack of obedience" to your loyalty.

6. You have low self-esteem and self-confidence

People who have not experienced emotional abuse can still suffer with low self esteem. However, if your poor image of yourself is due in part because of things your loved one has said about you, that's a symptom of abuse.

7. You feel responsible for some of their failures

Emotionally abusive people play the blame game like no other. To protect their own self-esteem and maintain their dominance at the same time, they'll find a way to blame you for their own failures and shortcomings. In turn, you might begin to believe them and feel guilty.

8. Thoughts of this person fill you with feelings of fear and dread

Emotionally abusive people have no intention of making you feel comforted or safe. You're be scared of them and how they'll react to you - things that should never be a part of a loving relationship.

These are signs you've been emotionally abused in the past or that you're even being emotionally abused in your present relationship. It's important to trust your gut and not make excuses, especially if you think you might currently be involved with an emotionally abusive person. If you think that's the case, please get help. Talk to trusted friends and family and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline: (1−800−799−7233). You deserve to be in a relationship that makes you feel happy and healthy.

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