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What Is Emotional Psychological Abuse Definition

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Some Of The Costs Of Psychological Abuse

Psychological abuse – caught in harmful relationships | Signe M. Hegestand | TEDxAarhus

Psychological abuse creates enormous personal costs to the victim, and it also affects society negatively . Given that psychological harm is usually associated with other forms of violence, it is likely that it accounts for a considerable portion of the economic costs of mental health and counselling services. Here is a brief overview of some of the societal consequences and costs of violence and abuse.

Cost of intergenerational transmission of abuse. Dealing with the aftermath of individuals who learn and model disrespectful and domineering behaviour to gain control over others creates significant costs for society. For one, schools must cope with the behavioural problems of children emotionally traumatized by intimate partner violence as well as respond to the bullying tactics that these children may use on the playground. In the long term, these controlling tactics impact negatively in our workplaces, homes and communities. Governments must address the range of factors that contribute to the intergenerational transmission of abusive behaviours by allocating significant resources in school settings for early intervention, anti-bullying and healthy relationship programs.

Control And Isolate You

Emotionally abusive people attempt to isolate and control you. Some examples include:

  • Controlling who you see or spend time with including friends and family
  • Monitoring you digitally including text messages, social media, and email
  • Accusing you of cheating and being jealous of outside relationships
  • Taking or hiding your car keys
  • Demanding to know where you are at all times or using GPS to track your every move
  • Treating you like a possession or property
  • Criticizing or making fun of your friends, family, and co-workers
  • Using jealousy and envy as a sign of love and to keep you from being with others
  • Coercing you into spending all of your time together
  • Trivializing the other person’s concerns
  • Withholding affection and attention

It is important to remember that these types of abuse may not be apparent at the outset of a relationship. A relationship may begin with the appearance of being normal and loving, but abusers may start using tactics as the relationship progresses to control and manipulate their partner. These behaviors may begin so slowly that you may not notice them at first.

Types Of Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse can involve any of the following:

  • Verbal abuse: yelling at you, insulting you or swearing at you.
  • Rejection: constantly rejecting your thoughts, ideas and opinions.
  • Gaslighting: making you doubt your own feelings and thoughts, and even your sanity, by manipulating the truth. For more information on how gaslighting works, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
  • Social abuse: seeking to harm your other relationships or reputation, sharing photos of you without permission, and monitoring your activities .
  • Put-downs: calling you names or telling you that youre stupid, publicly embarrassing you, blaming you for everything. Public humiliation is also a form of social abuse.
  • Causing fear: making you feel afraid, intimidated or threatened.
  • Isolation: limiting your freedom of movement, stopping you from contacting other people . It may also include stopping you from doing the things you normally do social activities, sports, school or work. Isolating someone overlaps with social abuse.
  • Financial abuse: controlling or withholding your money, preventing you from working or studying, stealing from you. Financial abuse is another form of domestic violence.
  • Bullying and intimidation: purposely and repeatedly saying or doing things that are intended to hurt you.

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Effects Of Psychological Abuse

There has been a tendency to categorize abuse along a continuum with the effects of physical abuse being considered “more harmful” than psychological abuse. This tendency is because psychological abuse, unlike physical abuse, leaves no visible scars or bruises, making it harder to detect . Service providers may not link a person’s presenting concerns to earlier psychological abuse, particularly when a victim has doubts about his/her own perceptions, or fails to link their problems to a psychological trauma that happened years earlier . Even so, researchers caution against a rigid paradigm that views the effects of one form of abuse as more harmful than another. Any form of abuse, including psychological abuse, may increase in frequency, duration and severity over time .

In a Canadian study on public attitudes towards family violence, one in two persons surveyed recognized psychological and physical abuse as a form of family violence. Although respondents felt that family violence involving verbal abuse such as insulting or humiliating the victim could result in negative psychological effects and low self-esteem, they indicated the highest level of concern for victims of physical and sexual abuse.

Is Gaslighting Emotional Abuse

Emotional Abuse Quotes. QuotesGram

Gaslighting constitutes a form of emotional abuse. By manipulating the victim to doubt his or her own sense of realitycontinually saying things like, Thats not how it happened, or Youre crazy,the gaslighter asserts control over the relationship, leading the victim to rely on the perpetrator for a sense of reality. Gaslighting can instill confusion, self-doubt, anxiety, and depression.

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What Emotional Abuse Really Means

Did it ever get physical?

This is often the first question we ask someone we know or suspect is in an unhealthy relationship. While starting a conversation around physical abuse is essential, the issue is when its the only question we ask.

Stopping short of inquiring about other forms of abuse implies that physical violence is the defining factor of an unhealthy relationship. Even worse, it conveys the message that whatever else might be going on is just not that bad.

This is a huge issue, because emotional abuse can absolutely be that bad.

Even if relationship never gets physically abusive, emotional abuse can escalate over time with devastating consequences, even death. And while emotional abuse does not always lead to physical abuse, physical abuse in relationships is nearly always preceded and accompanied by emotional abuse.

Why dont we hear more about emotional abuse? In addition to the common misconception that its just not that serious, many people simply arent sure what emotional abuse actually entails.

My aim here is to help you understand what emotional abuse really means and what makes it so dangerous so that youre better equipped to start the conversation. Because if you want to stop it, you first have to know what youre dealing with.

What Is Mental Abuse And How Can You Protect Yourself

When most people think about abuse they think about physical violence and abuse, because it’s something they can see. They think about bruises, ‘accidents’, and trips to the emergency room. However, this is not the only method of abuse. There are several forms of abuse that someone could be suffering from without even knowing it. One of these types of abuse is emotional abuse. It’s extremely easy to fall into the trap of being mentally abused and not realize what is happening. These effects of emotional abuse are severe, especially if it occurs long term. It is important that you identify if you are with an abusive partner, in order to seek support such as online therapy to avoid suffering from the impact of emotional abuse.

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How Do You Know

When examining your own relationship, remember that emotional abuse is often subtle. As a result, it can be very hard to detect. If you are having trouble discerning whether or not your relationship is abusive, stop and think about how the interactions with your partner, friend, or family member make you feel.

Here are signs that you may be in an emotionally abusive relationship. Keep in mind that even if your partner only does a handful of these things, you are still in an emotionally abusive relationship.

Do not fall into the trap of telling yourself “it’s not that bad” and minimizing their behavior. Remember: Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.

If you feel wounded, frustrated, confused, misunderstood, depressed, anxious, or worthless any time you interact, chances are high that your relationship is emotionally abusive.

Examples Of Emotional Abuse

What is Emotional Abuse? Signe Hegestand, Licensed Psychologist

In some countries emotional abuse is defined and the following examples of emotional abuse are given by Justice Canada:

  • Threats of violence or abandonment
  • Intentionally frightening
  • Making an individual fear that they will not receive the food or care they need
  • Lying
  • Failing to check allegations of abuse against them
  • Making derogative or slanderous statements about an individual to others
  • Socially isolating an individual, failing to let them have visitors
  • Withholding important information
  • Demeaning an individual because of the language they speak
  • Intentionally misinterpreting traditional practices
  • Repeatedly raising the issue of death
  • Telling an individual that they are too much trouble
  • Ignoring or excessively criticizing

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The Difference Between Emotional And Psychological Abuse

Many different forms of abuse have been known to take place within relationships. Some people think that just because the abuse is not physical, it isnt a problem. However, other forms of abuse can end up being much more damaging to the victims mental health.

That said, the details surrounding other types of abuse can get a bit blurry. Specifically, when it comes to emotional and psychological abuse, it can be difficult to ascertain what exactly separates the two. However, this does not lessen the harmful impact that comes from these forms of domestic violence. Weve compiled a guide that explains the difference between emotional and psychological abuse and tips for stopping the abusive behavior.

How Do You Leave An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

Most victims of abusive or violent relationships eventually leave. It often takes several attempts, but a few common themes emerge from womens experience finally ending the relationship. One step is confronting reality, by acknowledging that the circumstances will not change, becoming educated about emotional abuse, and realizing the abuse is not the victims fault, which allows them to recover a sense of self-worth. Another step is accepting help from family, friends, or a therapist, who can see the situation clearly and provide resources and support. Another factor is the desire to protect the children from witnessing abuse or being abused themselves. The last factor for some is reaching a breaking point, where fear simply becomes overwhelming.

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What Are The Signs Of Child Emotional Abuse

Signs of emotional abuse in a child may include:

  • being fearful of a parent
  • saying they hate a parent
  • talking badly about themselves
  • seeming emotionally immature when compared to peers
  • exhibiting sudden changes in speech
  • experiencing a sudden change in behavior

Signs in a parent or caregiver include:

  • showing little or no regard for the child
  • talking badly about the child
  • not touching or holding the child affectionately
  • not tending to the childs medical needs

What Is The Psychological Toll Of Emotional Abuse

Abuse overview

Victims of emotional abuse are often worn down so that they cannot see the harmful dynamics clearly. They come to believe that the relationship challenges are their own fault. They may spend time ruminating and bargaining, considering how they can adapt their behavior or avoid confrontation. Victims may struggle with problems of self-esteem, as well as anxiety and depression.

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A Pattern Of Behavior Over Time

Emotional abuse is rarely a single event. Instead, it occurs over time as a pattern of behavior thats sustained & repetitive. This particular characteristic of emotional abuse helps explain why its so complicated and so dangerous.

Even if youre the most observant person in the world, emotional abuse can be so gradual that you dont realize whats happening until youre deeply entangled in its web. As a result, the abuse can go unchecked as the relationship progresses, building for months, years, even decades, especially if the abuse is more covert. In such instances, the targets self-esteem is steadily eroded and their self-doubt becomes so paralyzing that they often have only a vague sense that something is wrong.

Factors That Increase The Likelihood Of Experiencing Psychological Abuse

This section outlines factors that put children and adults at risk of being psychologically abused. Given that psychological abuse often exists in combination with other abusive behaviours, it is likely that similar risk factors may exist across the different forms of abuse . Some researchers have argued that regardless of age and sex, the risk factors for psychological abuse are similar to those associated with physical, sexual and financial abuse and trauma . In contrast, other researchers suggest that it is important to analyze psychological abuse independently from other forms of abuse.

The key risk factors associated with psychological abuse are outlined below.

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Difference Between Emotional & Psychological Abuse

Emotional and psychological abuse are both quite distinct from physical abuse, and although they do not leave physical marks, they can be just as destructive. Oftentimes, emotional and psychological abuse lead to anxiety, depression, and addictionthese abusive behaviors make the victim feel at fault.

To help you better understand the two, weve listed out the definitions and signs of each abusive behavior. If you find that youve performed any of the actions below, seek help.

Are There Benefits Of A Difficult Childhood

Emotional Abuse: Definition and 10 Signs It’s Occurring

Although turbulent childhoods can produce substantial challenges, research suggests they can also yield great strengths. People raised in a stressful householdwhether due to poverty, abuse, neglect, or other circumstancesmay have enhanced cognitive flexibility, showcasing the ability to adapt, take risks, and tolerate ambiguity.

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Psychological Abuse Follows A Pattern Of Abuse And Manipulation Often Involving A Phase Of Grooming

At the beginning of their relationships, 96% of survivors said their partner was charming and affectionate, 93% said they expressed love for them very quickly and 92% wanted to spend a lot of time together. Abusive behaviour is interspersed with warmth and kindness, slowly desensitising the victim to the behaviour.

Perpetrators use a wide range of hidden tactics to maintain control and brainwash their victim, presenting insults as a joke, gaslighting, and presenting different versions of events.

Nearly half of survivors reported regularly being told they were mentally unstable, and over half regularly experienced control in who they could speak to, meet socially or spend time with.

Perpetrators take advantage of victims vulnerabilities those with mental health illnesses were threatened with being sectioned, whereas those with precarious immigration status reported citizenship being used to keep them dependent upon their abuser.

Emotional Abuse Signs And Symptoms

Emotional abuse symptoms vary but can invade any part of a person’s life. Signs of emotional abuse include:

  • Name calling or insults mocking
  • Threats and intimidation
  • Humiliating
  • Denial of the abuse and blaming of the victim

Emotional abuse, like other types of abuse, tends to take the form of a cycle.2 In a relationship, this cycle starts when one partner emotionally abuses the other, typically to show dominance. The abuser then feels guilt, but not about what he has done, but more over the consequences of his actions. The abuser then makes up excuses for his own behavior to avoid taking responsibility for what has happened. The abuser then resumes “normal” behavior as if the abuse never happened and may, in fact, be extra charming, apologetic and giving making the abused party believe that the abuser is sorry. The abuser then begins to fantasize about abusing his partner again and sets up a situation in which more emotional abuse can take place.

More information on Dynamics of Emotional Abuse in Relationships.

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Signs Of Emotional Abuse

Some signs of emotional abuse are obvious, like yelling or name-calling. Other signs are more subtle, such as the other person not wanting you to hang out with friends, or acting extremely jealous. Here are some red flags that signal another person is emotionally abusing you:

  • Name-calling, demeaning, humiliating, shaming, and criticizing you in private or public
  • Controlling and being possessive of you, your time, and actions, including what you wear, your job, and whom you hang out with
  • Making you feel silly and dumb and dismissing how you really feel
  • Questioning what you say and things that you say happened to you
  • Acting extremely jealous of the time you spend with friends and family
  • Punishing you by withholding attention or affection
  • Threatening you and people you love, or threatening to hurt themselves to get what they want
  • Wanting you to ask their permission before doing anything or going anywhere
  • Monitoring where you go and what you’re doing at all times
  • Constantly accusing or blaming you for their abusive behavior and making you feel guilty
  • Overloading you with compliments or gifts in order to manipulate you later

Experiencing any of these behaviors repeatedly over time instills self-doubt and worthlessness in a person. This wearing down of confidence and self-worth is how the abuser controls and holds power in the relationship.

Am I Being Emotionally Abused

Emotional abuse

When someone physically abuses you it’s obvious. The violence and abuse endured are seen physically, and it is hard to misinterpret it. You may believe that ‘they didn’t mean it,’ but you still know that they hit you. You know you have been the victim of dating abuse and domestic violence. When they mentally abuse you, however, it can be entirely different. If you are with an emotionally abusive person, it can be very difficult to identify the warning signs. That’s because a mental abuser can get into your head and convince you that they are right about you, no matter what they might be saying. In the end, you don’t really consider it abuse because they’ve convinced you that it’s all the truth anyway, or they convince you it didn’t happen the way you believe it did. Its vital that you recognize the negative pattern of behavior they have, so you can see if you are being emotionally abused. This way, you wont have to deal with the emotionally abusive relationship long term.

“Talking with a therapist or someone you trust can help you figure out what’s going on in your relationship. You’ll gain perspective and figure out whether you need to stay or go.”

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