Many people live daily with violence, threats and violations. Violence is something more than physical blows and kicks. Do you really know what psychological violence is? Here you read the signs that you (or someone you know) live in a relationship characterized by psychological violence.

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We're still hearing about cases of domestic violence in the media, but what is really hiding behind these eerie stories? Does violence come like lightning from clear skies, or can it make sense to see signs of illness in the relationship even without terrible things having to happen first? 

Maybe you belong to those who "go on needles" in relation to your partner, and you have occasionally asked yourself the question of what this is about. Maybe you have settled down with "it's my fault", "I do not deserve better", and "it is hopeless anyway"?

It can be tough to start to know what is really going on in the relationship. Deep down, you know (or fear) that something is terribly wrong with the way you are treated.

What is psychological violence? 

The Government writes on its website the following which is based on the governmental report "(2012-2013): Prevention and combating violence in close relationships (1)":

Violence is any act directed at another person which, through this act of injury, pain, intimidation or insult, causes that person to do something against his will or stops doing something he wants.
- Per Isdal

Violence has many expressions. Psychologist Per Isdal operates with five different types of violence: In addition to psychological violence, we have physical violence, sexual violence, material violence, and latent violence. 

Psychological violence is any way of harming, intimidating or offending that is not directly physical in nature. There can also be ways to control or dominate others, using an underlying power or threat. These can be direct or indirect threats, degrading and humiliating behavior, control, extravagant jealousy, isolation and emotional violence.


Warning signs that you are being abused emotionally

To make it a little easier to decide whether what you are experiencing may actually be emotional abuse - or psychological violence if you will - you can take a look at this list, which is included in Alternative to Violence's resource handbook. for family protection (2).

The list * is based on the Waltz-Rushe-Gottman's emotional abuse questionnaire (EAQ) questionnaire (3):


  1. I have to make efforts to prevent my partner from getting jealous.
  2. My partner tries to control who I spend my time with.
  3. My partner dislikes my friends.
  4. My partner does not believe me when I talk about where I have been.
  5. My partner complains that I spend too much time with other people.
  6. My partner accuses me of flirting with other people.
  7. In social situations, my partner complains that I ignore him / her.
  8. My partner suspects me of being unfaithful.
  9. My partner works as a detective, constantly looking for clues that I have done something wrong.
  10. My partner checks me / checks me.
  11. My partner prevents me from going places I want to go.
  12. My partner prevents me from doing things I want to do.
  13. My partner says I behave too seductively.
  14. My partner prevents me from spending time on the things I like.
  15. My partner threatens to take the car keys if I do not do as he / she says.
  16. My partner threatens to take money if I do not do as he / she says.
  17. My partner prevents me from leaving the house whenever I want.
  18. My partner takes control of my phone to prevent me from using it.
  19. My partner takes control of the car to prevent me from using it.
  20. My partner is threatening to disconnect the phone.
  21. My partner tries hard to limit my movements.
  22. My partner is jealous.
  23. My partner prevents me from spending time with people I choose.
  24. My partner is trying to get me to engage in sexual activity that I am not comfortable with.
  25. My partner is not sensitive to me during sex.
  26. My partner pressures me to have sex after an argument.
  27. My partner intentionally hurts me during sexual activity.
  28. I feel pressured to have sex when I do not want to.
  29. Even against my will, violence is a part of our sex life.
  30. My partner is trying to "catch me" in what I have said to show that I am lying.
  31. My partner tries to convince other people that I'm crazy.
  32. My partner tells other people that there is something wrong with me.
  33. My partner says things to me out of sheer defiance.
  34. My partner has told me that I am sexually unattractive / unsightly.
  35. My partner has told me that I am sexually inadequate.
  36. My partner insults my religious background or beliefs.
  37. My partner insults my ethnic background.
  38. My partner insults my family.
  39. My parties persuade me to do things that make me sick.
  40. My partner tells me that no one else ever wanted me.
  41. My partner humiliates me in front of others.
  42. My partner pushes me to do degrading things.
  43. My partner questions my mind.
  44. My partner tells other people personal information or secrets about me.
  45. My partner swears at me.
  46. My partner verbally attacks my personality.
  47. My partner has insulted me by telling me that I am incompetent / can not be taken seriously.
  48. My partner makes fun of me.
  49. My partner forces me to do things that are against my values.
  50. My partner questions whether my love is true.
  51. My partner compares me to other partners in an unfavorable way.
  52. My partner threatens me physically during an argument.
  53. My partner warns me that if I continue to do something, he / she will use violence against me.
  54. Our quarrels escalate and get out of control.
  55. I am most worried when my partner is calm.
  56. My partner drives recklessly or too fast when he / she is angry.
  57. My partner threatens to hurt someone I care about.
  58. My partner intentionally harms things that are valuable to me
  59. My partner threatens to destroy things that are valuable to me.
  60. My partner is ruining things in our home.
  61. My partner is threatening to destroy my property.
  62. My partner does cruel things to pets.
  63. My partner threatens to harm animals I care about.


The sum of these questions can give a good indication of how things are in their relationship, and to what extent you are exposed to (or expose your partner to) what can actually be called psychological violence, or emotional abuse.

* NB: this is not a formal translation of the test, and the items are changed.



  1. What is violence? From Report to the Storting 15 (2012-2013): Prevention and combating violence in close relationships.
  2. Alternative to Violence's resource handbook for family protection
  3. Waltz-Rushe-Gottman Emotional Abuse Questionnaire (EAQ)