What are the Characteristics of Emotional Abuse?

Although the effects of emotional abuse can be just as difficult to bear as physical abuse, the scars are usually invisible, which makes emotional or psychological abuse even more insidious. Such abuse can cause all kinds of distress, from depression to anxiety, and is a common theme in abusive relationships at home or in the workplace, so what are the characteristics of emotional abuse and how can you recognise the symptoms of emotional abuse in others?

There is no firm definition of what emotional abuse actually is, but in most cases it is about control and exerting power over a partner, child, colleague or anyone else in the firing line. People who are emotionally abusive are often verbally aggressive, exhibit jealous behaviour, threaten the victim with violence and generally act in a psychologically aggressive manner, but in order to qualify as emotional abuse, there has to be a long term pattern of behaviour rather than one or two isolated incidents

What are emotional abusers characteristics?

People who use emotional abuse as their psychological weapon of choice are masters of intimidation and insults. They take great pleasure in making the other person feel small and worthless via subtle put-downs and cruel comments. They might also seek to isolate the person from family and friends to further damage their self esteem.

Other emotional abuse tactics include threatening suicide if the other person does not do as the abuser wants, or threats of violence against loved ones or pets. An emotionally abusive individual might also withdraw affection or ignore their partner until their demands are met in order to exert power in the relationship.

What are the characteristics of emotional abuse victims?

Victims of emotional abuse are often emotionally traumatised and psychologically weak. They are usually insecure and lacking in self esteem after years of degradation and put downs. They are often very submissive in their relationships with others and do not stand up for themselves as they have learnt to live with the controlling behaviour of their abuser and believe that there is nothing better out there for them.

What are the characteristics of emotional abuse in relationships?

People trapped in an emotionally abusive relationship very often have a partner who controls the purse strings and allows them no financial freedom. The abuser will be charming and loving in front of family and friends, but cold, intimidating and emotionally degrading behind closed doors. The victim’s self esteem will be gradually eroded through constant criticism and humiliation and they will live in fear of reprisals should they dare to say or do anything wrong.

What are the characteristics of emotional abuse to children?

Emotional abuse inflicted on children often goes hand in hand with physical and sexual abuse, yet is the hardest form of abuse to detect for it leaves no visible scars. Emotional abuse to children includes humiliating them, isolating them, exploiting them, placing them in danger, rejecting them and withholding affection or attention, corrupting them by encouraging delinquency, or terrorizing them with threats of violence to them or another. The end result is a child with severe psychological and emotional trauma who will probably grow up into an emotionally abusive adult themselves.

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