Mental and emotional abuse

Women and men alike are abused emotionally, physically, verbally, and sexually. Abuse can vary, depending upon the situation, where the abuser chooses to inflict the harm. Mental Abuse is never right and being emotionally controlled is never acceptable.

Mental abuse can occur in two ways – verbally and nonverbally. Verbal abuse includes insults and putting down comments aimed at demeaning another’s character, intelligence, personality etc. Nonverbal abuse refers to controlling behaviours such as restricting freedom or isolating victims. Both verbal and nonverbal forms of anger and hostility directed against persons cause psychological damage and distress to targets. Therefore, victims may become fearful, confused, hopeless, depressed and even suicidal.

Emotional and mental abuse are actions that are intended to hurt another person. They are behaviours that are intended to make the other person feel inferior or worthless. They are comments and actions that are intended to hurt, but not physically harm, the other person. They are often times verbal attacks or insults that are intended to hurt the other person, but not physically.

When someone you love is being abusive, it feels like your world is falling apart. It can be hard to deal with, knowing that your loved one is causing you so much pain. It is also difficult to know how to stop the abuse, when you don’t know when or where the next incident will happen.

In some cases, regardless of the relationship setting one partner may begin to exhibit signs of emotional and mental abuse against the other partner. This could be due to many reasons including external factors such as trauma, alcohol and drug abuse or dependency, financial strains or simply a revisit of previous behaviour that may have occurred in another relationship where they may have been the victim themselves.

Emotional and mental abuse are also behaviours that are intended to control or frighten the other person. This abuse is often a way of being able to take control of the relationship and manipulate the other person. Emotional and mental abuse is a form of abuse that takes place without physical violence, but it is an act of violence that is committed against the other person’s feelings and psyche.

If your partner is emotionally and mentally abusing you, it is important to seek out help. The first step is to recognize the signs. Here are some of the most common signs of emotional and mental abuse:

  • Constant criticism and blame; if the victim was not at fault, they will be blamed regardless of the circumstances.
  • Excessive jealousy
  • Control
  • Co-dependency
  • Criticism
  • Emotional Neglect
  • Humiliation

These actions are intended to manipulate or control the other person. They are actions that are intended to harm the other person without physical violence. Unfortunately, in several situations emotional and mental abuse commonly leads to physical abuse and can cause a horrific level of stress, anxiety and depression in the victim – which in certain circumstances may lead to suicidal thoughts.

Part of the abuse may be the partners intentions are actions that are intended to isolate the other person from friends and family and prevent the other person from having support when times are hard. They are actions that are intended to make the other person feel like they are not worthy of happiness or have something to offer the relationship.

Abusive behaviour most commonly relates to the desire to maintain a level of power and control within the relationship, and this can be carried out using emotional and mental abuse. 

They may try to control you by:

  • Monitoring you: Wanting to know where you are and insisting you respond to calls or messages immediately. They may even show up at your school or work to check you are where you say you are.
  • Making Threats: They may threaten to tell your work or the school (that you may be an unfit parent) if you do not comply with their requests.
  • Digital Spying: Having access to your passwords or insisting that you do not have a password. Asking you to have joint social media accounts (or no social media). Regularly checking your digital communications and internet history – even if you are away from them or asleep.
  • Financial Access. Keeping bank accounts in their name and restricting your access so you need to ask permission for financial help. Asking you to keep receipts so they can monitor your spend.
  • Gaslighting: Denying that specific events, arguments, or agreements ever happened.
  • Emotional blackmailing: Manipulating your feelings.
  • Stonewalling you: Refusing to respond to your attempts to communication during conflict or disagreement.

Freeing yourself from someone who is causing you mental abuse is very difficult, but you do not have to do it alone.

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