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What constitutes emotional abuse?

You might be asking, “What is emotional abuse?” Well, it can only be likened to being brainwashed. It systematically wears away your trust in your own:

  • Perceptions
  • Self-concept
  • Self-confidence
  • And self-worth

And whether it is done by constant insults and belittling, creating fear or terror, or under the pretense of "guiding," "teaching", or "advising," the results are similar. 

How is emotional abuse administered to the victim?

In one way or another, you may have been a victim of emotional abuse. You just didn’t know it. So here are the forms of emotional abuse for you to recognize them:

  1. Abusive Expectations: This is when a person makes demands that are very unreasonable and wants you to place everything aside. One example is demanding constant attention. The problem is however that no matter how you try to meet his demands, it’s just isn’t enough!

  2. Aggressing: This includes name-calling, blaming or accusing, ordering, and threatening. These behaviors are typically direct and most obvious when the abuser takes an aggressive stance. An indirect form is disguised as “helping”. Examples are criticizing, advising, analyzing, or questioning when the real intent is to belittle, control, or demean the victim rather than help.

  3. Constant Chaos: This is done by people who may be “addicted to drama” and starts arguments on purpose just to get in constant fights with others.

  4. Denying emotional needs: This is usually done most when the abuser feels that the victim needs the emotional support the most. The intention is to hurt, punish, or humiliate the person. Examples are denying that certain events occurred or certain things were said, denying perceptions, memory, or even sanity. Withholding is another form of denying which includes refusing to communicate or giving the "silent treatment." Denying can be very damaging and may cause you to lose your own mind.

  5. Dominating: The person controls all your actions and makes sure to get their own way, even to the point of threatening you. This can result to loss of self-respect.

  6. Emotional Blackmail: To get what they want, the abuser makes use of your compassion, fear, guilt, values, or other significant things to get what they want. Examples are threatening to abandon you or other fear tactics so that you will succumb to them.

  7. Invalidation or Minimizing: Your perceptions of reality are being distorted or diluted when the abuser fails to acknowledge what you say. If you say you’re hurt, he’ll just say “you’re too sensitive” or “you’re paranoid”.

  8. Trivializing: This is a more subtle form of minimizing where the abuser suggests that what you have done or communicated is irrelevant or unimportant.

  9. Unpredictable Responses: When the person’s reaction to your same behavior is very different at different times, or tells you one thing one day and the opposite the next, that’s an unpredictable response abuse. You’ll never know what is expected of you.

  10. Verbal Assaults: This is the most commonly recognized form. Scolding, belittling, criticizing, threatening, and humiliation are just some examples.

While the forms of abuse may vary, the end result is the same. The victim changes his or her own behavior out of fear and to please the abuser. Many people still think that emotional abuse is not as serious or harmful as physical abuse. But they are very wrong. Physical pain can heal with time, but emotional pain can last a life-time.

Need more info?

Yes, how do people accidentally end up in toxic relationships?

How do abusive men dodge accusations of being abusive?

Am I getting too comfortable with my partner?

How do I save my relationship if it's about to end?

What causes people to go to relationship counseling?


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