What is Mental Abuse? (2023)

Mental abuse, also known as psychological abuse oremotional abuse, involves the use of verbal and non-verbal communication to try to control or emotionally harm someone.

While psychological abuse leaves no bruises or broken bones in its wake, it can cause serious emotional and mental health problems.This form of abuse can be more difficult to detect; However, it is important to recognize it and seek help as soon as possible, as it is often a problem.precursor to physical abuse.

Signs of psychological abuse

Here are some of themWarning signsthat someone is psychologically abused:

  • Being visibly upset or excited
  • Withdrawn and unresponsive
  • Avoiding certain people or being anxious, nervous, or shy around them
  • Unusual behavior such as rocking, biting, or sucking

There are also more subtle signs, such as:

  • Start canceling last minute plans
  • Make excuses for your partner's hurtful words or behavior.
  • Be quieter when your partner is around
  • apologize too much
  • He seems more indecisive and insecure.
  • Feeling rushed all the time
  • Constant checking of phone/partner Constant checking

What is proxy abuse?

types of psychological abuse

Psychological abuse can take various forms, including:

  • intimidation
  • Obligation
  • bullying
  • Ridiculous
  • humiliation
  • Handling
  • harassment
  • infantilization
  • Isolation
  • silent
  • Handling
  • Check
  • threats
  • caller names

Psychological abuse can happen to anyone, in any type of relationship, including friendships, work relationships, intimate relationships, or family relationships. child abuseand intimate partner abuse are among the most common forms of abuse and are recognized as serious public health problems.

child abuse

Here are some examples of child mental abuse:

  • Yelling or swearing at the child
  • Constantly criticizing or teasing the child
  • Humiliate the child or talk bad about him
  • Blaming or punishing the child for adult problems
  • Threatening to hurt or abandon the child
  • Failing to provide a healthy, safe and stable environment for the child
  • allow the childwitness to violenceor domestic abuse
  • Failing to care for the child and refusing other people's help for the child

Children who have been emotionally abused may have:

  • difficulties at school
  • sleep disorders
  • eating disordercomo la anorexia o la bulimia
  • mental problemssuch as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and difficulty regulating emotions
  • Behavior problems such as aggressiveness, aggressiveness, lying, or trying to please
  • Physical health problems, including pain and gastrointestinal problems.
  • Tendency to risk behaviors or drug use at an early age

Psychological abuse can be just as harmful to children as physical orsexual abuse; However, it can be harder to detect, making people less likely to help the child.

Children raised with abusive caregivers may have trouble recognizing that they are being abused because it may seem like normal behavior to them.As a result, they may perpetuate these behaviors and become abusive or engage in relationships with bullies in their adult lives.

If you are a victim of child abuse or know someone who might be, call or textChild Aid National Child Abuse Hotlineno1-800-422-4453Talk to a professional crisis counselor.

(Video) 4 signs of emotional abuse - Viann Nguyen-Feng

Intimate partner abuse

Here are some examples of intimate partner abuse:

  • You always want to know what you are doing, where you are, and who you are with.
  • Hoping you keep in touch or verify your whereabouts
  • You want passwords for your phone, email, and social media accountsTrack your digital activities
  • Monitor your consumption habits and control yoursFinance
  • To getjealousyand they often accuse you of deceiving them
  • Make decisions on your behalf, e.g. B. what he will eat or wear, often without asking
  • Trying to keep you from seeing your friends and family.
  • Discourage them from working, going to school or attending social events.
  • Refrain from seeking medical help or advice
  • To getBravoand abusive in ways that scare you
  • Name names, name names or treat them like a child.
  • ridicule or demean him in front of others
  • Threaten you or your loved ones with bodily harm
  • Threatening police or legal action, often for invented reasons
  • He threatens to hurt himself when he is angry with you in order to manipulate you and control your behavior.
  • Say things like, "If I can't have you, no one can."

Experiencing intimate partner abuse can cause you to:

  • To feelundesirableand unworthy of love and respect
  • Feeling hopeless, helpless, guilty, or ashamed
  • controlled, manipulated ordressed
  • Feeling overwhelmed and stressed
  • Live in constant fear of upsetting your abuser
  • Act differently to avoid upsetting your abuser
  • Doubt and question your version of events
  • Having trouble concentrating, sleeping, or enjoying your work and hobbies
  • Developing anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues, or chronic pain

If you or a family member has been a victim of domestic violence, contact theNational Domestic Violence Hotlineno1-800-799-7233for confidential support from trained attorneys.

If you are in immediate danger, call 911. For more mental health resources, visit ourNational Database of Support Lines.

9 Ways to Help a Victim of Domestic Violence

Dealing with psychological abuse

Here are some strategies that can help you cope if you have been psychologically abused:

  • Acknowledge the problem:The first step, which can sometimes be the hardest, is to acknowledge that you are being abused. For example, you might think, "But my parent/partner always behaved like this." Learn what healthy relationship dynamics are and start seeing unhealthy behavior for what it is.
  • Get out of the abusive situation:When you find yourself in an abusive situation, it is importantsecurity planand leave as soon as possible. If necessary, seek help from friends, relatives, neighbors, law enforcement agencies, or trusted organizations.
  • Abuse Log:Your abuser maydistortYou say, "I never said that," which can lead you to doubt yourself and question your reality. It may be helpful to write down all the details of the abusive situations to record what really happened.
  • Do not involve your abuser:When confronting your abuser, don't give him the satisfaction of fighting back. He learns to set firm limits and not get stuck in them.
  • Remember it's not your faultKeep reminding yourself not toDebtfor abuse You do not deserve to be abused and you did not cause the abuse.
  • Work on healthy relationships:Developing self-awareness and distinguishing between healthy and unhealthy behaviors in different types of relationships is important to breaking the mold.cycle of abuse. Trusting people can be difficult or vulnerable, but these are important components of healthy relationships of mutual respect, trust, and affection.
  • Looking for assistance:There is no shame in seeking therapy to help you cope.therapyIt can help you process your emotions, build coping skills, increase self-esteem, and heal trauma.
  • Join a support group:Support groups can help you express your abuse among people who have had similar experiences. They can be a source of support, inspiration and advice.

Best Domestic Violence Support Groups

A word from Verywell

Psychological abuse can affect your self-esteem and leave youemotional scarswhich can take a long time to recover.Once you've managed to get yourself out of an abusive situation and ensure your safety, it's important to practice self-care and compassion to help you heal, seek therapy if you need it, and remember that it's not your fault.

10 fuentes

Verywell Mind uses only quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts in our articles. read ourspublishing processfor more information on how we verify our content and keep it accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Prevention of intimate partner violence.

  2. Iram Rizvi SF, Najam N.Psychological abuse of parents towards children and mental health problems in adolescence.So J. Med. science. 2014;30(2):256-260.

  3. Karakurt G, Silber KE.Emotional abuse in intimate relationships: the role of gender and age.victims of violence. 2013;28(5):804-821. doi:10.1891/0886-6708.vv-d-12-00041

  4. Washington State Department of Health and Human Services.Types and signs of abuse.

  5. Fundación Nemours.abuse.

  6. Li S., Zhao F., Yu G.Child abuse and intimate partner violence victimization: a meta-analysis.Child Abuse Neglect. 2019;88:212-224. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2018.11.012

  7. National Library of Medicine.Child neglect and emotional abuse.Medline Plus.

  8. Greene CA, Haisley L., Wallace C., Ford JD.Intergenerational Effects of Child Abuse: A Systematic Review of Parenting Practices for Adult Survivors of Child Abuse, Neglect, and Violence.Clin Psychology Rev. 2020;80:101891. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2020.101891

    (Video) What Is Emotional Abuse? | Dr. David Hawkins

  9. United States Department of Health and Human Services.Emotional and verbal abuse.

  10. Cleveland Clinic.How to heal from emotional abuse.

(Video) 6 Signs Of Mental Abuse - What Are Emotional Abuse Signs? | BetterHelp

What is Mental Abuse? (1)

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(Video) This Is What Emotional Abuse Looks Like


What are at least 3 examples of mental abuse? ›

Mental abuse can be described as acts that can cause someone to feel insulted or demeaned or wear down someone's self-esteem. Examples include making unreasonable demands, being overly critical, wanting a partner to sacrifice needs for others, and causing them to doubt their perception (gaslighting).

What types of mental abuse are there? ›

Types of Psychological Abuse
  • Intimidation.
  • Coercion.
  • Bullying.
  • Ridicule.
  • Humiliation.
  • Gaslighting.
  • Harassment.
  • Infantilization.
Jun 21, 2022

What is abuse short answer? ›

Abuse is when someone hurts or causes emotional stress to someone else. Abuse can affect anyone. It can happen in any kind of relationship, like a friendship, romantic relationship, or among family members. Abuse can happen in many ways.

What is the word for mental abuse? ›

Defining Emotional Abuse

One reason is because there are several different names used interchangeably to refer to the same kind of abuse, including emotional abuse/violence, psychological abuse/violence, and mental abuse.

How does mental abuse affect a person? ›

Emotional and psychological abuse can have severe short- and long-term effects. This type of abuse can affect both your physical and your mental health. You may experience feelings of confusion, anxiety, shame, guilt, frequent crying, over-compliance, powerlessness, and more.

What is the difference between mental and emotional abuse? ›

Many tactics of psychological abuse are also classified as emotional abuse, and vice versa. However, the distinguishing factor between the two is psychological abuse's stronger effects on a victim's mental capacity. While emotional abuse affects what people feel, psychological abuse affects what people think.

What is mental abuse in psychology? ›

Psychological abuse involves the regular and deliberate use of a range of words and non-physical actions used with the purpose to manipulate, hurt, weaken or frighten a person mentally and emotionally; and/or distort, confuse or influence a person's thoughts and actions within their everyday lives, changing their sense ...

How common is mental abuse? ›

Prevalence rates. An estimated one in four women (23% or 2.2 million) have experienced partner emotional abuse since the age of 15, including: 6.1% (575,400) by a current partner. 18% (1.7 million) by a previous partner.

Is mental abuse a trauma? ›

Emotional abuse can be a form of psychological trauma that can have a similar impact on the nervous system as physical trauma.

What words describe abuse? ›

  • bully.
  • torture.
  • misuse.
  • mistreat.
  • oppress.
  • violate.
  • hurt.
  • injure.

Why do people emotionally abuse? ›

The feeling of being powerful and in control gives some abusers immense pleasure. Abusers may also derive pleasure from seeing you suffer. Narcissists, psychopaths, and sadists may be drawn to emotional abuse because of the pleasure they take in having power over others or seeing them suffer (Brogaard, 2020).

What classifies as abuse? ›

Stay alert to the different types of abuse

Physical abuse is intentional bodily injury. Some examples include slapping, pinching, choking, kicking, shoving, or inappropriately using drugs or physical restraints. Signs of physical abuse. Sexual abuse is nonconsensual sexual contact (any unwanted sexual contact).

How do you address mental abuse? ›

If you've experienced emotional abuse, there are a few things you can do to aid in the healing process.
  1. Acknowledge the abuse. ...
  2. Make a commitment to yourself. ...
  3. Practice self-compassion. ...
  4. Reach out to loved ones. ...
  5. Seek counseling. ...
  6. Talk with others who've been emotionally abused.
Nov 7, 2022

What is the most common type of emotional abuse? ›

Verbal abuse is the most common form of emotional abuse. Things may be said in a loving, quiet voice, or be indirect—even concealed as a joke. Confronting an abuser often takes the support and validation of a group, therapist, or counselor.

Is mental abuse the same as verbal? ›

A few common forms of verbal abuse include withholding, countering, and discounting. Emotional abuse, on the other hand, utilizes hurtful tactics that are rooted in one's emotions to manipulate and mistreat the victim. A few common forms of emotional abuse include criticism, humiliation, and control.

Can mental abuse cause mental illness? ›

Experiencing abuse or other trauma puts people at risk of developing mental health conditions, such as: Anxiety disorders. Depression. Post-traumatic stress disorder.

Can mental abuse cause brain damage? ›

According to recent studies, Emotional Trauma and PTSD do cause both brain and physical damage. Neuropathologists have seen overlapping effects of physical and emotional trauma upon the brain.

Why does emotional abuse hurt so much? ›

Emotional Abuse Can Cause Nervous Breakdown

The effects of emotional abuse can be painful and destructive, both in the short and long-term. Survivors are often plagued by low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and feelings of helplessness.

What are four signs of emotional abuse? ›

4 Signs of Emotional Abuse
  • Humiliation. An abuser may constantly humiliate someone else, alone or in front of other people, says Engel. ...
  • Emotional Blackmail. Emotional blackmail is when the abuser threatens to withhold something from the victim unless the victim gives in to their demands. ...
  • Gaslighting. ...
  • Invasion of Property.
May 19, 2022

What are the 7 signs of emotional abuse? ›

Here are seven signs of emotional abuse and how you can get help.
  • Gaslighting. ...
  • Isolating you from loved ones. ...
  • Using insulting language. ...
  • Yelling. ...
  • Shifting the blame. ...
  • Acting extremely jealous. ...
  • Outbursts of unpredictable anger.
May 2, 2022

Is mental abuse a learned behavior? ›

Causes of Emotional Abuse

Abusive behavior is usually learned. Abusers themselves may have low self-esteem. The majority of abusers learned their behavior as a child. They may have witnessed abuse, or were abused themselves.

What mental illness causes abuse? ›

A common assumption we hear at The Hotline is that abuse is caused by a partner's mental health condition, for example: bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), narcissistic personality, borderline personality or antisocial personality.

Can mental abuse cause stress? ›

Emotionally abuse often causes anxiety because emotional abuse is almost the perfect storm of anxiety-producing events: It causes chronic stress, which is one of the most common causes of anxiety. It causes overthinking. It leads to poor self-esteem and confidence.

Is mental abuse worse than physical? ›

Emotional abuse, neglect may be more harmful long-term than physical, sexual abuse. Emotional abuse and neglect of children may have more harmful long-term negative effects than physical or sexual abuse, according to a 20-year study published by a team of researchers from Iowa, Australia, and Italy.

What are three warning signs of emotional abuse? ›

What Are the Early Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse to Look for?
  • Feel insecure and have low self-esteem.
  • Appear depressed or anxious.
  • Be withdrawn even in the presence of others.
  • No longer go out and socialize as they used to.
  • Miss work or other events and responsibilities.
Nov 15, 2018

How long does emotional abuse last? ›

How long does emotional trauma last? Emotional trauma can last months or years. Emotional abuse may not leave physical scars, but it can leave damage that lasts a lifetime.

What happens after years of emotional abuse? ›

Long-term effects of emotional abuse may include but aren't limited to PTSD, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, feelings of guilt and shame, and trouble trusting others or entering new relationships.

Can you get PTSD from mental abuse? ›

Does emotional abuse lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? Emotional abuse doesn't always lead to PTSD, but it can. PTSD can develop after a frightening or shocking event. Your doctor may make a PTSD diagnosis if you experience high levels of stress or fear over a long period of time.

What are the 3 main forms of abuse? ›

Types and Signs of Abuse
  • Physical abuse is intentional bodily injury. ...
  • Sexual abuse is nonconsensual sexual contact (any unwanted sexual contact). ...
  • Mental mistreatment or emotional abuse is deliberately causing mental or emotional pain.

What is an example of mental harm? ›

Blackmail, coercion or intimidation are forms of psychological harm and these can be crimes. Psychological harm can also include name calling and harassment. Name calling and constant criticism can go on for a long time and can be very damaging.

What are three 3 indicators of psychological and or emotional abuse? ›

Possible indicators of psychological or emotional abuse
  • An air of silence when a particular person is present.
  • Withdrawal or change in the psychological state of the person.
  • Insomnia.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Uncooperative and aggressive behaviour.
  • A change of appetite, weight loss/gain.
  • Signs of distress: tearfulness, anger.

What are four emotional abuse examples? ›

Emotional abuse can take several different forms, including:
  • Accusations of cheating or other signs of jealousy and possessiveness.
  • Constant checking on or attempting to control the other person's behavior.
  • Constantly arguing or opposing.
  • Criticizing.
  • Gaslighting.
  • Isolating the individual from their family and friends.
Nov 7, 2022

What type of abuse is most common? ›

Neglect is the most common form of child abuse.

What is the most serious form of abuse? ›

What is the most serious form of abuse? Strangulation is one of the most terrorizing and lethal forms of violence used by abusers (typically male) against their intimate partners (typically female). This act symbolizes power and control over a victim.

Which form of abuse is the biggest? ›

By far the most visible form of abuse is physical abuse. This kind of abuse is condemned by almost everyone and it is estimated that one in four women are victims of this kind of abuse. The most common forms of abuse include hitting, throwing and scalding, even suffocation is on the list.

What is pure mental harm? ›

Mental harm means impairment of a person's mental condition. Personal injury includes impairment of a person's mental condition Pure mental harm means mental harm other than consequential mental harm.

What does serious mental harm mean? ›

(g) "Serious mental harm" means an injury to a child's mental condition or welfare that is not necessarily permanent but results in visibly demonstrable manifestations of a substantial disorder of thought or mood which significantly impairs judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality, or ability to cope with the ...

Which are the 3 main warning signs that someone may be an abuser? ›

Warning Signs of an Abusive Person
  • Jealousy and Possessiveness. Wants to be with you constantly. ...
  • Controlling Behavior. ...
  • Quick Involvement. ...
  • Unrealistic Expectations. ...
  • Isolation. ...
  • Blames Others for Problems. ...
  • Blames Others for Feelings. ...
  • Hypersensitivity.

What are the 6 types of emotional abuse? ›

Types of emotional abuse
  • humiliating or constantly criticising a child.
  • threatening, shouting at a child or calling them names.
  • making the child the subject of jokes, or using sarcasm to hurt a child.
  • blaming and scapegoating.
  • making a child perform degrading acts.

What type of trauma is emotional abuse? ›

Emotional abuse can be a form of psychological trauma that can have a similar impact on the nervous system as physical trauma.

What are the 5 cycles of emotional abuse? ›

The five cycles codified—enmeshment, extreme overprotection and overindulgence, complete neglect, rage, and rejection/abandon- ment—were first published in Annals, the journal of the American Psychotherapy Association, in the Fall of 2002.


1. 7 Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse
2. 8 Ways Emotional Abuse Traumatizes You
3. Psychological abuse - caught in harmful relationships | Signe M. Hegestand | TEDxAarhus
(TEDx Talks)
4. 6 Signs of Emotional Abuse and Neglect
5. What is Emotional Abuse? | The Top Emotional Abuse Warning Signs
(Julia Kristina Counselling)
6. 10 Behaviors of People Who Experienced Mental Abuse from Narcissist
(Spot The Narcissist)


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