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Psychological and Emotional Abuse

Psychological or emotional abuse involves non-physical acts, threats of physical acts, verbal abuse and coercive behaviours to terrorise, bully, shame, confuse control the victim. Unlike coercive control, psychological abuse serves to, first and foremost, manipulate the victims emotions, leaving them with diminished self-esteem, a lack of independence, and, at worst, mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression and PTSD. 

Such abuse characteristically involves subjecting the victim to a consistent, and trauma-inducing, onslaught of these attacks. It can be overt, or otherwise insidious and hard to detect. Abusers may denigrate their victim publicly to cause embarrassment - for example, by mocking their sexual performance online to Facebook friends or to work colleagues at events. However, the abuse may be confined to the couples private lives, with hurtful comments, explosive rants or gaslighting behaviours taking place behind closed doors. Very often, more subtle forms of psychological abuse are increasingly detrimental to the victim, with periodic and underhand comments often going undetected, yet still serving to chip away at the victims self-esteem and causing them, eventually, to question their reality.  

The following are examples of psychological/emotional abuse: 

  • Gaslighting behaviours, like denying abuse, withholding affection, giving silent treatment 

  • Insulting, bullying or belittling the victim in public and/or private 

  • Mocking, embarrassing or shaming the victim 

  • Manipulating the victims anxieties, deliberately targeting or worsening certain insecurities 

  • Manipulating the victims beliefs, causing them to question their reality 

  • Stopping the victim from visiting friends and family 

  • Turning others, including friends and family, against the victim 

  • Stalking the victim online and offline 

  • Verbally intimidating and threatening the victim 

  • Ridiculing the victims beliefs and insecurities 

  • Constantly criticising the victim 

  • Frequently shouting at the victim 

  • Constantly shouting at the victim

Getting help 

If you are suffering psychological and emotional abuse of any kind, it is vital that you get help as quickly as possible. Please contact our specialist team who can support you and explain the options and protections that are available. Please call 999 if you are in imminent danger. In circumstances where calling the emergency services may inflame the situation, you can press 55 once you have dialled 999 and the emergency services will go to the address from where you have called without you having to say anything. 

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