Abuse in a marriage can take many forms. Physical abuse is much easier for both the victim and others to identify, but spouses in Hawaii need to also be aware of what constitutes non-physical abuse, which are emotional and psychological. 

According to HuffPost, subtle signs of an abusive relationship often start early on. These are the same signs that make someone seem like a perfect girlfriend or boyfriend. While romance is nice, an abuser will often go over the top to give flowers, gifts and attention. This is because in order to exert control, the abuser must make the victim trust and love at an early stage in the relationship.

An abuser often wants commitment, such as moving in, exclusivity and even marriage, early in the relationship. Once a couple has commitment, jealousy and control become a bit more imminent. Examples of these include wanting to know where the other one is at all times and isolating friends and family. An abuser will often balance negative comments or behavior with loving and sweet behavior, which helps confuse the victim into not knowing the difference between abusive and normal behavior.

Our Everyday Life outlines some specific examples of what constitutes emotional abuse. These include:

  • Name calling and criticism, with the intention to lower self-esteem
  • Shaming
  • Threatening and intimidating language
  • Blaming the victim
  • Screaming and yelling frequently to get a point across
  • Covering up insults with jokes

Because the signs of non-physical abuse are not obvious, victims tend to stay in unhappy marriages for longer than necessary. If someone knows what to look for, the victim can take action earlier on for either repair or a breakup.