Emotional Abuse

 

It is not easy to define what emotional abuse is, but we can recognize it when we see certain actions and behaviors.  Often an abused person feels devalued and less than others, affecting his/her thoughts and feelings.

Unfortunately cases of emotional abuse around the world are not scarce. We often hear people complain about the bad treatment they are receiving; whether physical, psychological, or emotional. Nonetheless, the person decides to continue in the relationship because there always seems to be hope that things will change in the future.

Degrading others is a common dynamic in emotional abuse. There is offensive behavior towards the person being ridiculed, often by calling them names and using profanity.

The shouting and humiliation are so common that the person being attacked may begin to feel negative impacts on self-esteem.

Intimidation and terror are other weapons used by the aggressor. Through bullying, aggressors encourage fear and even expose others to uncomfortable and dangerous situations. Some examples are clear; for example, an abusive person may threaten a victim with abandonment, injury, or death or may threaten a victim’s children, pets, and/or belongings.

Abusive adults providing care to children may demonstrate indifference and neglect to children’s needs; causing pain and serious psychological and emotional damage. Repeatedly ignoring a child’s attempts to interact, failing to show affection for a child, and/or treating a child like an object are destructive patterns that can have far-reaching impacts.

 

Emotional abuse can be difficult to spot when it develops in the privacy of a home or in a closed institution. However, if we understand the problem, it can be easier to recognize when someone is experiencing it. The following are signs that can indicate whether a person is suffering from emotional abuse or neglect:

• Depression
• Isolation
• Low self-esteem
• Anxiety
• Fear
• Emotional instability
• Stress
• Sleep disturbances
• Complaints of physical symptoms without medical basis
• Inappropriate behavior for age or development
• Passive and submissive attitude
• Extreme dependence
• Discomfort or excessive nervousness during stressful situations

• Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
• Inability to trust others
• Feelings of shame or guilt
• Self-mutilation (self-harm or injury)
• Frequent crying
• Self-blame
• Aversion or reluctance towards receiving therapy
• Drug addiction

No type of abuse should be accepted and no one deserves it. If you know someone that is being abused, contact your local authorities and report it. If you are suffering from psychological, emotional, or physical abuse, seek help from a mental health professional immediately.

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