"You're such an idiot."
"You're such a cow. Maybe if you lost some weight, I'd like you more."
"Why can't you do anything right?"
These are things you'd never want anyone to say to you. But the truth is thousands of teens around the world are involved in relationships with guys who say these types of things—and much worse—on a daily basis. They're called emotionally abusive relationships, and they include criticism, put-downs, and verbal attacks.
Imagine if a guy came up to you at school and said, "You're so stupid." You would never want to go out with him or talk to him ever again. So why do girls get involved in emotionally abusive relationships?
When it happens
Well, usually emotionally abusive relationships don't start on the first date. More likely, it comes into a relationship later on, when the girl already feels she likes the guy. Then, when the emotional abuse comes out, she tends to think (the guy might tell her) that it's her fault that he has changed his opinion about her. That it's her fault because she's stupid or fat or whatever the accusation is.
Her self-esteem goes down and, as a result, she has an easier time believing all the terrible things the abuser is saying about her. She'll put up with the emotionally abusive relationship. Sometimes the emotional abuse will lead to physical abuse, if the girl doesn't get out of the relationship in time.
Getting help/Getting out
Emotionally abusive relationships are sometimes more difficult to get out of than physically abusive relationships because the signs of harm aren't as visible. Also a girl who's abused often makes excuses for her abuser because she believes what he's saying.
If you're in any emotionally abusive relationships, the most important thing you can do for yourself is get help realizing it's HIS problem, NOT yours. Talk to your parents about it. If you feel that they have had emotionally abusive relationships or you don't feel comfortable talking to them for other reasons, there are lots of other options.
You can talk to a counselor at school or at a woman's center or talk to your doctor in private. It might be one of the most difficult things you can do, but it's an important step in saving your self-esteem, your sanity, and possibly even your life.