What Is Emotional Abuse? How To Know if You are Being Abused

  • Emotional abuse can happen in any and all types of relationships. And the worst thing about it is that it rarely leaves any physical scars. Yet you feeling wounded, broken and insulted. Hence, it is important for you to understand what abuse is and identify if you are in an abusive relationship.


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Emotional abuse may be referred to as psychological violence or mental abuse, which involves subjecting someone to behavior which may result in psychological distress or trauma such as chronic depression, stress, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Emotional abuse can be just as devastating as physical abuse, sometimes even more so.

How do you know if you are being emotionally abused?

The answer is in the way a person makes you feel as a result of their behavior. If someone controls your life, puts you down and creates feelings of low self-worth, you are being abused. If someone is stopping you from being yourself, expressing yourself or isolating you from your friends and family, you are being emotionally abused.


Examples of emotional abuse include:

1. Aggressive behavior towards you.

2. Controlling behavior, such as telling you what is best for you, not being allowed to have your own opinions, being told what to do, how to spend your time, who to associate with, what to wear, etc.

3. Criticism. (Justified criticism is healthy but constant criticism will destroy anyone’s self-esteem.)

4. Being belittled and made to feel bad about yourself.

5. Isolating you from friends and family. (Once isolated, you become easier to control with no one to turn to but the abuser.)

6. Name-calling.

7. Gaslighting. (Sometimes described as ‘psychological warfare’ gaslighting is an insidious process of mind games that occur over a period of time resulting in the person being gaslighted questioning their own sanity and/or reality unable to trust their own judgement.)

8. Being made to feel guilty for mistakes you didn’t make.

9. Passive-aggressive behavior. (Being subjected to the silent treatment for some perceived slight.)

10. Financial abuse such as not being in control of your own finances. Denying access to finances will restrict your freedom and independence.

The aim of an emotional abuser is to gradually chip away at your self-esteem and independence so that, in time, you become a shell of your former self. Eventually, you may feel trapped with no way out of the relationship. You may feel that you can’t manage without this abusive person in your life. You can, and you will with the correct help and support.

Written by
Anne McCrea

Written by Anne McCrea
Originally appeared in Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse

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Recognizing The Signs of Emotional Abuse
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THE NARCISSIST TARGET: The Myth Behind Emotional Abuse and Codependency

What Is Emotional Abuse? How To Know if You are Being Abused

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Anne McCrea
Anne McCrea is the founder of Narcissist and Emotional Abuse.com. Raising awareness and provide information on the subject of narcissistic and emotional abuse.
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