What is Emotional Abuse?
Emotional abuse can be defined as a type of abuse that makes a person feel poorly about himself or herself for a prolonged period of time. This type of abuse damages a person’s dignity or self-worth.
Though emotional abuse is widely believed to be something that occurs between people in a romantic relationship, the abuse can happen in all types of relationships. This includes between friends, between a parent and a child, and even between a teacher and a student.
Acts of emotional abuse include isolation, verbal abuse, humiliation and intimidation. Perpetrators of emotional abuse damage their victim’s self esteem through these acts. In many cases, the victim ends up developing depression and anxiety.
Common behavior of the perpetrator includes threats of violence that instill fear in the victim, constant criticism or insults that demean the victim, isolation of the victim from friends or family, or treating the victim as a servant. In other cases, the perpetrator will make the victim believe that he/she is responsible for the abuse or that they even deserve it. Many perpetrators will often “gaslight” their victim, causing them to feel as though the abuse isn’t really happening and that it is just in their head.
It is important to remember that, like physical abuse, emotional abuse is offensive conduct, and the victim needs to find a safe place away from the perpetrator. If you feel that someone you know is a victim of emotional abuse, help him or her to get away from the perpetrator as soon as possible and help them to avoid seeing the perpetrator.
People who suffer from emotional abuse will probably suffer from mental health issues that can linger for many years. Seeing a mental health professional is the best way to help heal the effects from the past abuse.