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Verbal and Emotional Abuse

VERBAL ABUSE attacks, injures, or causes a victim to believe the false. A verbally abused person has been told in subtle or not-so-subtle ways that their perception of reality is wrong and that their feelings are wrong. It may include, but is not limited to:

  • Name-calling, teasing, insulting
  • Belittling, mimicking, or being sarcastic
  • Discounting (the abuser denies the victim’s experience and feelings as if they were nothing)
  • Yelling, excessively swearing
  • Countering (the abuser prevents discussion, denies the victim’s reality, and prevents the victim from knowing what they think about things)
  • Whispering or muttering at
  • Treating a person like a child and insulting in front of others
  • Withholding thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams toward their partner and revealing as little as possible.

Verbal abuse is rarely the only form of abuse within a relationship; it is very common for emotional abuse to occur as well.

EMOTIONAL ABUSE is any behaviour that is designed to control another person through the use of fear, humiliation, and verbal or physical assaults. It can include verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics like intimidation, manipulation, and refusal to ever be pleased. Emotional abuse is like brainwashing in that it systematically wears away at the victim’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in her perceptions, and self-concept. Whether it is by constant berating and belittling, by intimidation, or under the guise of “guidance” or teaching, the results are similar. Eventually, the recipient loses all sense of self and all remnants of personal value. It can include:

  • extreme jealousy
  • opening mail
  • degrading
  • controlling
  • terrorizing
  • not allowing victim to have friends or outside interests
  • constantly criticizing
  • driving recklessly
  • ignoring
  • denying the right to feelings or emotions
  • neglecting
  • putting down

Emotional abuse may also come in the form of economic abuse, which can include:

  • allowing her no money of her own and no bank account of her own
  • controlling all the finances
  • forcing to account for and justify all expenses

Emotional abuse may also come in the form of spiritual abuse:

    • breaking down or ridiculing belief system
    • not allowing to attend church

It may come in form of THREATS as well, including to:

      • leave and take the children
      • destroy something
      • have an affair
      • hurt or kill her or someone or something special to her
      • leave the marriage/relationship
      • restrict her movements
      • prohibit social contacts
      • hit/maim
      • use a weapon
      • display a weapon
      • commit suicide

The point of emotional abuse is to make a victim feel belittled and degraded. Emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person, creating scars that may be longer-lasting than physical ones. With emotional abuse, the insults, insinuations, criticism and accusations slowly eat away at the victim’s self-esteem until she is incapable of judging the situation realistically. She has become so beaten down emotionally that she blames herself for the abuse. Her self-esteem is so low that she clings to the abuser.

Emotional abuse victims can become so convinced that they are worthless that they believe that no one else could want them. They stay in abusive situations because they believe they have nowhere else to go. Their ultimate fear is being all alone.