California couples need to take note: You may suffer abuse in a marriage without violence. Abuse occurs whenever one person attempts to intimidate the other. While the focus is typically on physical abuse, emotional abuse can wear a person down and affect her or him just as much as physical abuse.

Recognizing the signs of emotional abuse may not come easy, especially if you are in the thick of it. However, there are ways that you may save yourself or a loved one from enduring prolonged abuse. Explore some of the ways that you can help spot and stop mental abuse.

Abusers exert control

Many victims of abuse have something in common: Their partners needed to control them. Some abusers resort to physical violence or restraint while others use other methods to keep a victim in line. One way is by denying access to money. Without financial means, a person is usually at a distinct disadvantage. Think about how hard it is to function without having money. You may not purchase food, gas, clothing or other necessities. If one spouse or partner has control over money, the other usually has to ask permission for it. This is a sure sign of emotional abuse.

Abusers deal in shame

Keeping someone down is one way to ensure she or he never leaves. Abusers need to keep their victims from leaving, and one way they do that is to make them feel shame. This may come in many forms. Verbal abuse and put-downs are two ways an abuser may make a victim feel ashamed. Comments about weight and physical appearance are common examples.

Abusers isolate victims

You may know someone whom you suspect is with an abusive spouse. Has the couple moved recently? Do you get to speak to or see your friend often? Many abusers seclude their victims away from those who love them and may get them to leave.

Emotional abuse may end up hurting more people than you think. It is a good idea to try to help someone you believe is in an abusive relationship, including yourself.