What is Emotional Abuse?

Emotional abuse happens when one person in a relationship tries to control the other person’s feelings or thoughts in order to gain power over them. It is also referred to as mental, verbal, or psychological abuse.

The following are examples of emotional abuse:

  • Put-downs: calling names, telling them they are stupid or ugly, telling them they’re not good enough or no one could ever love them
  • Frequently cursing or yelling at the other person
  • Threatening or intimidating – making the other person feel nervous or scared for themselves or someone they care about
  • Frequently criticizing or correcting the other person – the way they look, talk, act, etc.
  • Lying or cheating
  • Playing mind games or making the other person think they’re crazy
  • Putting responsibility for your behavior on the other person
  • Making fun of or putting down the other person’s family, culture, religion, race, or heritage
  • Embarrassing or humiliating the other person, especially in front of other people
  • Withholding affection as punishment – not giving them love if they don’t do what you want them to do
  • Controlling behavior – telling the other person what to do, what to wear, who to hang out with, etc.
  • Making all the decisions in the relationship and ignoring the other person’s feelings
  • Guilt trips – trying to make the other person feel guilty when you don’t get your way, especially by threatening to hurt yourself or commit suicide
  • Keeping the other person from spending time with their friends or family members, or from work or other activities that are important to him/her
  • Using the children to get the other person to do what you want
  • Being extremely jealous, and using jealousy to justify controlling behavior
  • Threatening to break up with the other person if you don’t get your way
  • Saying you don’t love the other person just to get him/her to do what you want
  • Accusing the other person of cheating on you as a way of manipulating him/her to do what you want
  • Keeping constant tabs on a person, expecting to know his/her every move

Make yourself aware of the signs. Are you being abused? Are you abusing?

Info copyright 2001 Wellness Reproduction and Publishing LLC

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