Emotional Abuse: What It Is, Types, Consequences And Signs

Emotional Abuse: What It Is, Types, Consequences And Signs
Emotional abuse includes attitudes such as humiliation, insults, gestures of disapproval, isolation, and many others that psychologically affect the person who suffers them. It is a form of violence and aggression that can become quite serious if it is experienced repeatedly over time, wreaking havoc on both the victim’s self-esteem and identity. In this BuzzBongo article, we will see more exactly what it is, and what are the types, consequences, and signs of emotional abuse.

What is emotional abuse?

First, we will look at the definition of emotional abuse. Emotional or psychological abuse is a type of violence often described as invisible since at first glance there are no physical consequences that can be detected, but the main source of the suffering of the victim who suffers is their emotional stability, their self-esteem, and their self. -concept. It is defined as any type of active or passive behavior that repeatedly affects the emotional environment of the person who suffers it. Blaming or devaluation as well as constant humiliation or intimidation are often used to make the victim suffer.

It is a more difficult type of abuse to detect and evaluate. Many times it is only associated with the sphere of the couple, however, emotional abuse can appear in many other spheres: family, work, school, and, of course, relationships.

Types of emotional abuse and examples

Emotional abuse can be suffered in various areas, giving rise to the following qualification:

  • Economic or financial abuse: refers to when the abuser wants to fully control the economic resources of the victim. He asks for justifications for his expenses, does not allow him to work, monitors his bank transactions, cuts off his phone, threatens him with money, etc…
  • Structural abuse: the abuser uses the structural inequality that, according to him, makes him superior. He uses phrases like: “This is how it is because I say so, period”, “I’m in charge here” … He does things without consulting you, uses imperatives, forces you to have sexual relations, forces you to go places and punishes you with anger or indifference when the victim ignores.
  • Spiritual abuse: refers to the ridicule of another’s ideas or beliefs, forcing them to accept their own. He doesn’t let him go to acts related to his ideals or just talk about them and constantly humiliates him for this fact.
  • Social abuse: the victim is isolated and their social contacts are reduced, becoming practically nil. Listening to conversations, and reading your email or mobile messages are some of the examples. It is a type of abuse that seeks to make the victim stay alone, that she does not have the support of her friends and family and she does not meet new people.
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In this article, you can see information about the types of psychological abusers and the psychology of the abuser.

Signs and symptoms to detect emotional abuse

Emotional abuse in a partner or family is difficult to detect since we can often confuse the usual internal dialogues and the most common doubts in the relational field with really serious situations that begin to show the ravages of this type of suffering. Thoughts like ” Am I taking this too seriously?” “Perhaps if I had answered in another way…” “Could I have provoked it?” can be a key indicator when they are repeated and cause some emotional exhaustion and especially when these thoughts can make the victim justify physical aggression suffered or certain insults, humiliation, and intimidation.

In general, we can summarize a series of behavioral indicators on the part of the abuser and symptoms on the part of the victim that serves to detect emotional abuse:

  • Emotional blackmail: psychological manipulation widely used by the abuser in these cases. In this article, we explain how to act against emotional blackmail.
  • Minimization: not recognizing the victim’s achievements, not extolling their qualities, and also doing it subtly.
  • Control: one of the most detectable alarms in this type of abuse.
  • Invisibility/Submission: the victim’s opinions will gradually fade into the background.
  • Isolation: restrictions on increasingly frequent outings.
  • Denial of reality/distortion: the abuser will make the victim believe that nothing she thinks she sees or makes her feel bad is really like that.
  • Blaming: in the face of any setback, the abuser will blame the victim.
  • Loss of identity: more and more the victim will tend to adapt to the other so as not to make him angry and will end up losing part of his identity.
  • Insults: One of the most obvious lack of respect in abuse.
  • Threats: ae abandonment, of harming oneself and of various other kinds.
  • Restrictions: control and restriction of economic expenses if there are joint accounts.
  • Unwanted sex.
  • Punishment: used by the abuser to encourage co-dependency.
  • Dependency: a very harmful co-dependency relationship usually occurs.
  • Doubts/Insecurity: everything will become unstable for the victim and his self-esteem will be diminished.
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Consequences of emotional abuse

Among the detrimental effects of emotional abuse we find:

  • Physical consequences: disorders associated with chronic stress such as sleep disturbances, hypertension, headache, digestive disorders, muscle pain… Also nervous disorders such as generalized anxiety.
  • Psychological consequences – One of the most common consequences is low self-esteem and feelings of guilt that can lead to increased stress and anxiety. Substance use can also occur as an attempt to escape from the reality that makes you suffer.
  • Social consequences: the main repercussion of abuse is isolation. The victim ends up being practically alone, blames herself, and believes that her closest circle would be incapable of understanding her. Her performance, both at work and academically, may also be diminished.

How to deal with emotional abuse

How to avoid emotional abuse? The most important action in all cases of violence is prevention. Through information and education on respect, diversity, and equality. In addition to teaching emotional management and assertive communication tools.

In the face of abuse, you should go to specialized assistance services. For example, call, the free telephone number that women victims of gender violence and all citizens can access to find out how to help. You can also talk to your loved ones and stay close to them, get away from the abuser, and seek psychological help.

This article is merely informative, in BuzzBongo we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

  • Anonymous. Emotional abuse. the almanac Retrieved from: http://www.elalmanaque.com/relaciones/14.htm
  • Martín, O. Detect psychological abuse. Cepsim Madrid. Retrieved from: https://www.psicologiamadrid.es/blog/articulos/psicologia-y-violencia/detectar-los-malos-tratos-psicologicos


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