Emotional Abuse 

Emotional abuse can cause a lot of hurt, anger, and fear.  There are some obvious forms of emotional abuse such as name calling.  There are more subtle signs, such as intimidation, that are important to be aware of as well.

Verbal abuse is a form of emotional abuse.  This can include name calling, insults, or threats of injury. Verbal abuse may take place in private or it may include embarrassing someone in public.

Emotional abuse tries to make the person feel like they are crazy.  It is aimed at making someone feel bad about themselves.  It often includes a variety of mind games and forces the person to feel trapped in the relationship.

It usually includes issues around control. Visiting friends and family may be limited.  Financial resources may be highly regulated as well.  Sometimes an abused partner is not allowed to get a job.  Other times their money is taken away when they earn it.

Children may be placed in the middle of emotional abuse.  There may be threats of taking the children away.  The abuser may tell the other parent they are a bad parent.  In situations where parents are separated, children may be asked to relay messages back and forth.  There may also be threats of reports to child welfare services.

If you are in an abusive relationship, seek help.  Help may be in the form of individual therapy, a local domestic violence hotline, or talking with your doctor.  Marriage counseling is not recommended when domestic violence is taking place.  In cases that involve abuse, couples therapy may increase the risk of more abuse.  Emotional abuse often escalates to physical abuse and can cause a very dangerous situation.  If  you are in an abusive relationship, the regular recommendations of how to improve a relationship do not apply.  Instead, your partner must receive professional help in order to get better before work can be done on the relationship. 

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