Psychological abuse's wiki: Psychological abuse (also referred to as psychological violence , emotional abuse , or mental abuse ) is a form of abuse, characterized by a person subjecting, or exposing, another person to behavior that may result in psychological tra Emotional abuse can take many forms. Three general patterns of abusive behavior include aggressing, denying, and minimizing'.″  Even though there is no established definition for emotional abuse, emotional abuse can possess a definition beyond verbal and psychological abuse The victim's self-worth and emotional well being is altered and even diminished by the verbal abuse and the result is an emotionally abused victim.  The victim may experience severe psychological effects.
Photo by on On a typical day, the National Domestic Violence Hotline receives about Their statistics say that every minute, roughly 24 people in the United States experience physical abuse by an intimate partner.
Abuse, however, doesn’t always involve any direct physical harm. Emotional, verbal or psychological abuse is just as common as physical abuse, and “frequently occurs prior to, or concurrently with physical or sexual abuse,” according to the (NCADV). The NCADV states that there are no specific patterns or reasons for someone to become a victim, and that domestic or emotional abuse can “come from all walks of life, varying age groups, all backgrounds, all communities, all education level, all economic level, all cultures, all ethnicities, all religions, all abilities and all lifestyles.” If anyone can become a victim, it raises the question of who the abusers are in intimate relationships.
Who is prone to be become abusive toward their partner? What are the goals of abusers, are they aware of their abusive behaviours, and most importantly, how can emotional abuse be prevented? What is known about emotional abuse? Scenarios Emotional, verbal or psychological abuse can occur in any type of relationship. It can precede or occur in combination with physical abuse, but it can also stay strictly emotional, the NCADV states.
Behaviors The non-profit organization defines emotional abuse as, “non-physical behaviors such as threats, insults, constant monitoring or ‘checking in,’ excessive texting, humiliation, intimidation, isolation or stalking.” The NCADV lists behaviours such as: humiliating the victim, controlling, deliberately doing something to make the victim feel diminished or embarrassed, demeaning the victim in public or in private, undermining the victim’s confidence or sense of self-worth, or convincing the victim that he, or she is crazy.
Consequences Any type of abuse can have severe long-term effects on the victim. According to a , 7 out of 10 psychologically abused women display symptoms of depression and, or PTSD. The reports that consequences can also include severe mental health issues.“ states that oftentimes, the abuse can be so severe that the victim will start believing what the abuser says, which will cause a decrease in self-confidence and self-esteem.
In , it can even lead to other mental health issues, as well as suicidal ideation, and difficulty trusting others. What is known about abusers? Most of the time, the goal of an abuser who is in an intimate relationship is to execute and control power. The reasoning behind this motivation differs in every case, but it can include the idea of owning the right to control the other person, thinking they know what is best, or the manipulation is used to force the partner to stay in the relationship.
argues that abusive behaviour is learned behaviour. An abuser might have witnessed such abuse as a child, others might imitate their friends or pick up certain behavioural patterns from society.
The New York City based organization , who focuses on teen dating violence and abuse, states that abuse is always a choice, and anyone can become an abuser, no matter their background. “It is important to understand that people commit domestic violence because they choose to do so, not because they can’t stop themselves,” Day One reports.
have shown that while more women experience intimate partner violence than men, emotional abuse , with 40 percent of victims being male. Ben H. Hoff, J.D., who explored the l, said, “we need to recognize that intimate partner violence is a people problem, not a women’s problem.” Although it is still unclear whether there are more male or female abusers, the tactics and methods used in emotionally abusive relationships are always similar.
According to the NCADV, abusers “are manipulative and clever and will use a myriad of tactics to gain and maintain control over their partner, often in cycles that consist of periods of good times and peace and periods of abuse.” This cycle might repeat itself and become even more intense each time.
Whether or not the tactics are repeated, or differ in severity, their goal is always to install fear. A common term used for these tactics is “coercive control,” which “refers to abuse as a “strategic course of oppressive behavior,” according to the . Before coercive control occurs in a relationship, the abuser oftentimes may initially seem very loving, caring, charming and interested in their partner.
Over time, the NCADV reports, this behaviour changes and might turn into an isolating and controlling environment, leaving the victim feeling trapped. If the victim tries to assert him- or herself, it might cause the abuser to become even more manipulative and controlling, according to the NCADV. There are mental health disorders that have been connected to emotionally abusive behaviours, such as narcissistic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder. As the recent case of shows, who as a teenager three years ago, persuaded her former boyfriend to commit suicide through a series of urging text messages and phones calls, mental health is often very likely the cause for abnormal social behaviours.
Possible explanations for abusive behaviors Narcissistic Personality Disorder According to the (PDAN), 6.2 percent of the adults suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). It’s a mental illness that “that manifests as an excessive preoccupation with personal adequacy, power, vanity and prestige.” People who have NPD are often unable to be empathetic and most of the time, feel they are superior to others, which are traits that have the potential to cause toxic relationships.
If the victim nor the abuser are aware of the disorder, the narcissistic characteristics can be a serious reason for a severe level of abuse. NPD can be treated, however, only if the patient personally seeks help, according to PDAN. Borderline Personality Disorder Roughly 14 million Americans suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This mental illness is often related to NPD, as between 16 and 39 percent of patients with BPD also have NPD.
The defines BPD as “pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image, and behavior. While a person with depression or bipolar disorder typically endures the same mood for weeks, a person with BPD may experience intense bouts of anger, depression, and anxiety that may last for only a few hours to a day.” These are also traits that can lead to emotional, verbal or psychological abuse in relationships.
There are many reasons why somebody might become an abuser. Whether it is by choice, or a reaction from a traumatic event during a person’s childhood, or whether the abusive behaviors are connected to one or a combination of different types of personality disorders or mental illnesses; it’s important for victims to recognize these patterns early. Since emotional abuse almost always precedes physical violence, there are resources available for victims, such as emergency hotlines, family lawyers, psychiatrists or shelters, which can provide the necessary support for victims to take proactive measures.
best dating emotional abuse victim behavior - How to Identify and Cope With Emotional Abuse
There is no “one size fits all” description for emotional abuse; but, there are some generalizations to be made. Emotional abuse is any type of intentional behavior that hurts its target emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and psychologically (if you can find the distinctions). Emotional abuse, on its own, is particularly damaging because it is insidious and tends to be covert. By covert, I mean, it “flies under the radar.” Most victims and others do not see it.
During the creation of an abusive relationship, the victim becomes conditioned to respond in certain ways, which reinforce the abuser’s use of controlling behaviors. This is not to say that the victim of abuse is in any way culpable for the abuse, it is just to say that the victim, by staying in the relationship, confirms the abuser’s tactics as either “not that bad” or “normal.” While staying in an abusive relationship the victim uses coping strategies.
These coping strategies tend to be self-protective in nature; they include denial, minimization, addictions, arguing, defensiveness, rationalization, compliance, detachment, and dissociation. Because abusive behavior tends to be cyclical and inconsistent, the victim learns to “wait it out” over time.
Victims learn to block out abusive events, which is much easier to do with emotional abuse because it is so elusive. The victim may not even realize abuse is happening. Just like drug addiction or alcoholism is progressive disease, abuse is a “progressive disease” as well. This is not to say that emotional abuse will progress to physical abuse, but that the occurrences of abuse will increase, and the existence of chronic disrespect and even cruelty will become commonplace in the relationship.
The relationship will end up being a system, where the abuser does whatever the hell he or she wants and the victims become programmed to cope with it in some way. Victims may comply, “numb out,” take anti-depressants, live in a detached state of being, pretend that everything’s fine, etc.
Sometimes in family systems you hear of the scapegoat, the golden child, the family mascot, etc. These are examples of how children can “act out” their unspoken hurts within their dysfunctional family system. Victims are notorious for being conditioned to “ walk on eggshells” in the relationship in order to try to prevent or minimize any future occurrences of upsetting the abuser; this rarely works, and when it does, it’s only temporary.
But there is great damage caused to the person who does the walking on eggshells. Victims will slowly lose their sense of self because they are being continually conditioned to only focus outside of themselves.
They have learned to be hyper-vigilant to the feelings and reactions of others and have stopped focusing on their own internal feelings. Their feelings and thoughts are invalidated so often that victims stop listening to their own inner voices. This causes victims to become personal shells of who they really are. Victims also tend to be compassionate themselves and will offer empathy and forgiveness to their abusers, and will put the matter in the past each time an abusive event occurs.
Usually, it is the victim’s strengths and assets that keep him or her in the relationship; traits such as, forgiveness, empathy, compassion, long-suffering, self-control, “stick-to-it-iveness,” loyalty, etc. While these are all awesome character traits, an abuser will use them to his or her advantage. Without blaming victims, it is essential to recovery that victims take ownership of how they participate in the abusive relationship in a number of ways: • By staying in the relationship they have given tacit “approval” for abuse to continue; at least, this is how the perpetrator interprets things.
• Victims have oftentimes allowed themselves to be used as “containers” for the abusers‘ rage and shame. • Using their personal strengths as coping strategies to remain in the cycle of abuse.
Victims are usually unwilling to believe they are victims or use the term, “victim” to describe themselves. • Their belief system causes them to overlook abuse, and their denial keeps them thinking abusive episodes are isolated events rather than a pattern of abuse.
• By compassionately focusing on the abuser’s feelings, hurts, and needs when abusive events occur, which continues the pattern of “enabling” the abuser free reign to behave in unacceptable ways. • By taking too much responsibility for the climate of the relationship and by blaming him or herself for the problems. I realize these truths are harsh realities for victims to grapple with, but grapple with they must in order to heal.
Victims must stare the truth in the eyes and deal with reality. Otherwise, change will not occur. Victims must stop colluding with the abuser, step aside, and observe their relationship from an outside perspective. Victims can do this by pretending they are standing outside the room observing the relationship dynamics externally, from a neutral vantage point.
If victims can see their own contributions to the relationship based on their personal choices, their personal power can be identified and fortified. When victims of abuse start facing the reality of how they have “co-created” their relationships, they can see that they really have the capability to be agents of change as well.
This empowers them to change their lives. Note: If you would like to be on the mailing list for my free monthly newsletter on The Psychology of Abuse, please email me and let me know at: firstname.lastname@example.org Also, if you or someone you know is interested in joining an abusive relationship recovery group, and live in the Los Angeles/Orange County area, Lifeline Counseling Services offers low cost groups (English and Spanish.) For further information on groups, contact: email@example.com Counseling available: http://lifelinecounselingservices.org/ Sharie Stines, Psy.D Sharie Stines, Psy.D.
is a recovery expert specializing in personality disorders, complex trauma and helping people overcome damage caused to their lives by addictions, abuse, trauma and dysfunctional relationships.
Sharie is a counselor at LIfeline Counseling & Education Inc., in Southern California (www.lifelinecounselingservices.org). Lifeline Counseling is a non-profit organization 501(c)(3) corporation. Sharie is also an abusive relationship recovery coach - therecoveryexpert.com
When pinpointing whether someone is a , it’s common to look for physical signs of trauma. But what about looking for signs of struggle under the skin’s surface? It isn’t uncommon for mental and emotional abuse to have serious consequences, in both children and adults. Sadly, the signs of this kind of trauma are often disregarded. But there is one sign, however, that should set off an alarm that someone may be a victim of emotional abuse.
But first, what constitutes emotional abuse? Victims of child abuse often exhibit these signs. | Max-kegfire/iStock/Getty Images classifies emotional abuse, or psychological abuse, as a mix of many factors. The abuser can be verbally cruel, make wild accusations, derogatory comments, and terrifying threats.
The abused party may constantly be on the defensive, and become emotionally unstable. A victim may also make excuses for their abuser’s behavior, and feel trapped and unable to walk away from the relationship. The disturbing statistics They might have trouble leaving bad relationships.
| Astarot/iStock/Getty Images Plus According to a 2010 report from the , 48.8% of men and 48.4% of women reported experiencing some form of psychological aggression from a partner. Around 8.5% of men and 18.5% of women reported threats of physical harm in a relationship and 8.3% of men and 14.8% of women reported that their abuser kept them from leaving the relationship.
One unfortunate view of emotional abuse Watch out for how they react to relationship milestones and downfalls. | Renato Arap/iStock/Getty Images As points out, the term “emotional abuse” is thrown around a bit too loosely. Therefore, making it difficult to properly categorize someone as the subject of emotional trauma. For example, being sad after a difficult breakup does not count as emotional abuse. However, if an individual threatens to harm or kill his or her partner for breaking up with them, abuse is likely present.
How it occurs in adult relationships Their partner might be the dominant one in the relationship. | Gpointstudio/iStock/Getty Images Domestic abuse in adult relationships takes many forms, including physical, sexual, and emotional-psychological. Emotional factors are things that go beyond the occasional argument or disagreement. If a relationship is emotionally abusive, the abuser may be so demanding that the victim isn’t allowed to talk or think a certain way, says.
The victim might also not have control of his or her finances, daily routine, or social calendar. How emotional abuse starts in children and adolescents Emotional abuse might stem from childhood. | Margotpics/iStock/Getty Images Plus Sadly, 6.9% of child abuse cases in the U.S. involve emotional abuse at the hands of a parent or guardian, according to the . Emotional and psychological trauma can take on different shapes when it occurs during childhood. A parent that demeans, humiliates, or ignores their child can be manufacturing emotional abuse.
Allowing a child to or abuse of another living thing — like domestic violence or harm toward a pet — can also emotionally traumatize a child. Emotionally-abused children may be . That one disturbing sign They’ll do anything to prevent arguments. | Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images There is a plethora of signs that elude to both short-term and long-term emotional abuse. The abused party can show sudden changes in behavior or speech.
He or she may become inexplicably withdrawn from anyone outside of their abuser. But one dead giveaway that someone is the victim of emotional abuse is when that person shows fear. This fear can show in the victim breaking down in tears at the simple thought of drawing their abuser’s ire.
Fear can even , where the victim is so terrified of the abuser that he or she tries to bond even closer and make excuses for the abuser’s traumatic behavior. Where to get help It is possible for victims to recover emotionally.
| Shironosov/iStock/Getty Images As terrifying as emotional abuse is, there is also a boatload of outreach efforts to help victims heal. The , and are just a few outlets that can link victims to help. The American Society for the Positive Care of Children has that can help child victims of emotional abuse.
Suffering in Silence: The Emotional Abuse of Men