What is Emotional Abuse?
Emotional abuse can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic status. It can occur in any situation where there is an imbalance of power and control, such as in parent/child relationships, romantic relationships, among peers, coach/teacher/student relationships, and even employee/customer relationships. Chances are you have experienced some sort of emotional abuse in some form at least once in your lifetime. Most people do not recognize their own behaviors that would be considered emotional abuse.
Why Do People Emotionally Abuse Others?
A customer may abuse a customer service representative because they are upset over an issue with a product that was purchased, due to feeling like they aren't being heard in a situation, or due to feeling powerless and hopeless, or it may be from additional outside stressors, such as job loss, mental health issues, solo parenting, having a sick parent/child/partner, the loss of a loved one, or due to habits that were instilled in us during childhood that have been passed on from generation to generation. Emotional abuse could be caused by any one of many reasons. This does not excuse the abusive behavior and striving to help yourself find more peace within yourself through cognitive therapy behavior, group therapy for aggression issues, and personal solo development will help any emotional abuser become more aware of their abusive habits.
Are you currently a victim of domestic violence? If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).
Can You Recognize Emotional Abuse?
Emotional abuse is a behavior your partner, parental figure, or coach uses to control you or damage your emotional well-being. It can be verbal and/or non-verbal:
Name-calling, mocking, intimidation, or making humiliating remarks and/or gestures.
Yelling in your face.
Standing in a menacing way to make you feel intimidated.
Manipulating your children.
Telling you what to do.
Telling you where you can and cannot go.
Telling you who you can and cannot talk or spend time with.
Placing little value on what you say.
Interrupting, changing topics, not listening or responding, and twisting your words.
Putting you down in front of other people.
Saying negative things about your friends and family.
Spreading lies about you to family, friends, coworkers, or their friends.
Cheating or being overly jealous.
Shifting responsibility for abusive behavior by blaming others or saying you caused it.
Monitoring your phone calls, texts, and computer use.
Monitoring the miles on your car or tracking your car with a GPS system.
Forbidding the victim to work or attend school.
Sabotaging employment opportunities by giving the victim a visible injury prior to an important meeting.
Causing employment issues by stalking or harassing the victim at the workplace.
Denying access to a vehicle or damaging the vehicle so that the victim cannot get to work.
Making a person who is financially dependant ask for money or asking to see receipts.
Accessing personal bank accounts without permission.
Sabotaging educational opportunities by destroying class assignments.
Withholding money or giving an allowance.
Denying access to bank accounts.
Spending large sums of money without discussing it together.
Paying rent and/or bills late.
Turning off utilities such as electric, gas, or internet without permission
Hiding family assets.
Running up debt in the victim’s name.
Making unwanted visits or sending you unwanted messages (voicemails, text messages, emails, etc.).
Sending two unwanted and unanswered texts or phone calls is harassment.
Following you, including installing GPS tracking software on your car or cell phone without your knowledge or consent.
Checking up on you constantly.
Embarrassing you in public.
Refusing to leave when asked.
Forcing you to have to call the police for assistance to have them leave.
Sending unwanted gifts.
What are the Effects of Emotional Abuse?
Emotional abuse can be extremely destructive to a human being, causing loss of self-esteem, depression, stress, mood swings, unexpected rage, anxiety, fatigue, socially withdrawn, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, codependency issues, and the victim may be trauma bonded to their abuser.