Skip to content

7 Types Of Non-Verbal Emotional Abuse

Types Of Non Verbal Emotional Abuse

When you think of verbal abuse, you most probably think of yelling, screaming, name-calling, and abusing, don’t you? But the thing with abuse is that a lot of times, it isn’t always evident and in your face. 

But that doesn’t mean it is any less harmful. Abuse, be it verbal or non-verbal can break your heart into pieces and have a damaging impact on your mental and emotional health, nevertheless. 

But what does non-verbal emotional abuse look like? How would you know that you’re on the other side of it?

7 Types Of Non-Verbal Emotional Abuse

1. Gaslighting

When someone makes you question your reality and tries to convince you that what you’re saying never happened, that is gaslighting. 

Some of the most common gaslighting statements can sound like:

“That never happened!”
“You are imagining things!”
“I never said that, you’re making things up!”
“I was just joking!”
“You are crazy”

By gaslighting you, your abuser tries to pin the whole blame on you by making you doubt your sanity. They know they’re guilty, but they make you out to be the culprit. 

2. Absence of emotional support and validation 

Withholding appreciation, praise, emotional support, and kind words just because they don’t want to make you feel good is another form of subtle emotional abuse. 

They always criticize, undermine, and humiliate you in the name of tough love, but never once appreciate you for your accomplishments and hard work. This lack of acknowledgment and love can make you feel like you don’t deserve love, or that you have to earn their love.

Invalidating your emotions and beliefs like this makes you feel like you are never good enough, and will never be good enough.

3. Silent Treatment

Silent treatment might not seem like abuse, but it surely is. Ignoring someone by cutting them off is not just an emotionally painful thing to go through, it can also affect your self-esteem.

This is a form of emotional neglect and emotional indifference.

You feel worthless, lonely and your confidence hit’s an all-time low, and before you know it, you start blaming yourself for everything.

You question and punish yourself constantly because their silence makes you think that you did something wrong. 

And then after tormenting you for a few days, they come back and behave as if they have done you a huge favor. 

Read How to Disarm the Silent Treatment: 6 Steps

4. Sarcastic and condescending behavior

Sarcasm is supposed to be funny, but when you’re constantly mocked and ridiculed by someone then that’s abuse. 

If you are always the butt of jokes, and you’re insulted in the name of humor, that’s subtle verbal abuse.

The occasional joking around is fine, but condescending attitude, constant sarcastic remarks, and ridicule don’t exist in normal, healthy relationships.

After a while you start believing those insensitive remarks, internalize them and your self-worth takes a huge hit. 

5. Criticising every single thing you do

When all they do is criticize you all the time, no matter how hard you try to make them happy, that’s subtle emotional abuse right there. 

Their criticism is excessive and never-ending and they never miss an opportunity to put you down. They claim that it’s for your own good, but all they want to do is make you feel horrible about yourself. 

Gradually, you don’t just lose your confidence, you also lose your dignity and slowly drown in a spiral of guilt, shame, and unhealthy self-deprecation. 

6. Stonewalling

Stonewalling means refusing to talk to another person, leaving the room to avoid conversation, or ignoring them in the middle of an argument.

Pages: 1 2

Alexandra Hall

Hi there! I am someone who is trying to navigate through life, one day at a time. Writing is my passion and my job, and I am happiest when I am writing. I love reading comic books, watching drama movies, playing with my dogs and generally lazing around. An introvert by nature, you can find me in the farthest corner of the room in every party, playing with the dog and having my own party.View Author posts