Emotional and Verbal Abuse

Domestic violence is almost never just about physical violence. In almost all abusive relationships, physical abuse is accompanied by emotional manipulation and verbal abuse, which are key ways that an abuser maintains power and control over his/her victim. These forms of abuse can make a victim feel powerless and fearful, create low self-esteem, and foster a dependence on the abuser.

Emotional abuse is often the reason people have so much difficulty leaving physically abusive relationships. A common abuse tactic is to isolate a victim from his or her support system so that if the victim decides he/she wants to leave the relationship, there are fewer resources and less support available.

Are you experiencing emotional abuse? This can include, but is not limited to:

• Ignoring your feelings

• Punishing or depriving the children

• Making false accusations/ unfairly blaming you when things go wrong

• Exhibiting extreme jealousy or possessiveness

• Threatening you (i.e. break up, suicide, kidnapping your children, harming family members or friends)

• Manipulating or isolating you (i.e. restricting contact with family or friends, limiting use of telephone or car)

• Withholding affection as a punishment

• Ridiculing your most valued beliefs

• Harassing you at work

• Stalking

Verbal abuse can include, but is not limited to:

• Continually criticizing, yelling and/or insulting (e.g. telling you you're too fat, too skinny, too stupid, a bad mother, a bad partner, a bad lover, etc.)

• Humiliating, mocking, or criticizing you in public or alone

• Insulting family and friends to drive them away

• Saying hurtful things while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and using the substance as an excuse