Psychological/emotional abuse can be as devastating as physical abuse. Many people say that the healing from this form of abuse is much harder and it takes longer to heal. It leaves deep psychological scars, often seriously damaging the self-confidence, self-esteem and self-identity of the person experiencing the abuse. The perpetrator of emotional abuse will often try to isolate and control the person affected as well as using words to undermine them.
Psychological/emotionally abusive behaviours may include:
Degradation - constant criticism, verbal name calling and put-downs, humiliating you in public; making you feel worthless; has affairs
Isolation - controlling communication or contact with other people by phone, face-to-face; moving home regularly; preventing contact with family or friends; preventing you from using the car, going to work/college
Exhaustion - keeping you tired all the time with meeting their ever-changing demands; waking you all night when you aren't able to sleep in the day
Threats - physical or verbal threats to hurt/kill you, your children, family, the pets or to damage your home; threatening with knives, guns or objects
Distorting everything - saying it didn't happen, you caused it; begging for forgiveness then denying everything; lying to you/friends/family
Pressure tactics - saying they will kill themselves unless you do what they want; argumentative/being difficult/sulking to prevent you doing something without them; threaten to share personal information (or photographs) about you unless you comply; making you dress or behave in a certain way
Effects of psychological/emotional abuse include:
Self-doubt and self-blame
Low self-esteem and loss of self-confidence
Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness
These often leave the person feeling more dependant on the abuser, keeping them from realising their own self-worth and making it increasingly difficult to leave.