How can I tell if it’s emotional abuse?

Here is a clinical definition: Psychological abuse, also referred to as emotional abuse or mental abuse, is a form of abuse characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Here’s what emotional abuse can look like:

– Unpredictable emotional outbursts. Screaming/yelling/bouts of rage. The victim often feels they have to walk on eggshells to keep the peace.

– Name calling: “You are stupid/fat/ugly/worthless/bad parent/whore.”

– Insults wrapped in thinly veiled compliments (I think the acne all over your face is cute, I mean, I’m sure to most people it’s gross, but I think it makes you look like a teenager.)

– Put downs: “You can’t do anything right

– Manipulation/Guilt:  Ex. A wife goes to leave her husband after finding out he’s had (another) affair. He tells her that her filing for divorce is hurting the kids, and that she needs to give him another chance.

– Hinting at threats of violence: “If I ever caught you cheating on me, I’d kill you.”

 

Here’s what the victim often goes through after the abuse:

– Flashbacks

– Reoccuring and intrusive thoughts

– Intense feelings of fear

– Avoidance of people, places, events and/or objects that remind them of the experience

– Feeling numb inside

– Lack of enjoyment in activities that were once previously enjoyable

– Being easily startled/feeling chronically on edge

– Thoughts of suicide

– Angry outbursts

– Substance Abuse (anywhere from excessive drinking to drug use.)

– Chronic bad dream/nightmares

– Panic/anxiety attacks

– Feeling “addicted” to the person

– Feeling empty and like a shell of yourself when they are not in your life

– Having a really hard time trust anyone, even people that you formerly trusted

– Paranoia

– Substantial weight gain or loss

 

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Dana

I am a self-help junkie, former advocate for victims of domestic violence, current psychiatric RN, as well as being a recovering victim of Narcissistic abuse.

My goal is to educate, empower, and inspire other abuse victims in understanding more about what happened to them (and how to prevent it from happening again), as well as how to go on and rebuild an amazing life.

Even though I have had a lot of "in the trenches" experience with highly manipulative people of all kinds, I consider myself to be a student of Narcissism, mindset, motivation, healing, and life in general, and am by no means an expert on any of these topics.

It's for these reasons, that when you are reading my information that I encourage you to hold to what helps, and let the rest go.
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About Dana 267 Articles
I am a self-help junkie, former advocate for victims of domestic violence, current psychiatric RN, as well as being a recovering victim of Narcissistic abuse. My goal is to educate, empower, and inspire other abuse victims in understanding more about what happened to them (and how to prevent it from happening again), as well as how to go on and rebuild an amazing life. Even though I have had a lot of "in the trenches" experience with highly manipulative people of all kinds, I consider myself to be a student of Narcissism, mindset, motivation, healing, and life in general, and am by no means an expert on any of these topics. It's for these reasons, that when you are reading my information that I encourage you to hold to what helps, and let the rest go.

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