This short film shows just how hard it can be to recognize emotional abuse

Love Is Respect – an empowering resource that aims to prevent and end dating abuse – defines emotional abuse as “threats, insults, constant monitoring or ‘checking in,’ excessive texting, humiliation, intimidation, isolation or stalking.” Love is Respect ultimately makes the point that a relationship can be abusive or unhealthy without physical violence.

To illustrate this kind of abuse that’s oftentimes hidden or even overlooked, BuzzFeed Video’s Brittany Ashley and Ali Vingiano wrote a short film depicting an unhealthy relationship. The production features two couples (a heterosexual duo and a lesbian pair) who go on a trip together. Though both couples deal with their own separate issues, the lesbian couple ends up facing emotional abuse that’s not as obvious as one would think.

The overlooked emotional abuse traits in the film involve one acting jealous when their partner spends time with anyone else, when one feels the need to constantly monitor everything their partner says and does, and even when one repeatedly criticizes their partner in front of others. This can, in turn, cause the partner to blame themselves and apologize for their harmless behavior.

We hadn’t seen emotional abuse honestly depicted much in TV or media, and we especially hadn’t seen a story showing it within a lesbian relationship,” Ali told The Huffington Post, adding that both herself and Brittany pulled from personal experience to create the plot of their film.

“We wanted to show how hard it can be to realize you’re in an unhealthy relationship, and how abuse isn’t always physical,” stated Vingiano.

If you are dealing with an unhealthy or abusive relationship (either physical or emotional), Love Is Respect has resources for you. If someone you know is coping with such a relationship, there are resources you can use to help them. There are also several ways for you to contact the organization to ask for help and seek guidance.

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