Psychological abuse in adults can often be worse than suffering from physical abuse. The emotional trauma a victim suffers can be carried with them throughout their life. Understand the true definition of psychological abuse is just the beginning to getting out of an abusive relationship and/or helping a friend escape the abuse.
What is psychological abuse?
According to Living without Abuse, the terms emotional psychological and mental abuse can be used interchangeably. Overall, the goal of the perpetrator of the psychological abuse is to “reduce confidence and esteem in order to make their victim increasingly reliant on them.” Tactics include bullying, intimidation, ongoing and constant criticism and isolating someone from friends and family as a means to keep control over them.
Emotional abuse in reference to the psychological abuse definition when involving relationships occurs when one person wants to control all acts of the other person. This includes maintaining a strong mental hold over the other person by controlling what they do, who they see, what they wear, how much they can spend, where they can work in the UK, and so on.
Emotional and psychological abuse
Emotional and psychological abuse go hand-in-hand. In fact, some use both terms when defining the same type of abuse. Both of these forms of abuse are common in domestic violence cases, and are often used when one person is not secure in the relationship and uses these tactics to keep control over the other person in the hopes they will remain in the relationship.
According to Women’s Aid, most domestic violence cases in the UK include emotional and psychological abuse. Many cases use the following tactics:
- Name calling
- Extreme and destructive criticism
- Pressure tactics
- Lying to you
- Lying to your friends and family about you
- Putting you down in front of others
- Never listening to you
- Monitoring your phone calls, emails, letters, texts and Internet activity
- Making you feel like you are never alone because he or she is always checking up on you
- Reads personal and work emails and texts
- Stalks your social media pages
- Stalks the social media pages of your friends and family
- Follows you everywhere you go
- Puts a tracker on your phone so he or she knows where you are at all times
In most cases, the impact of emotional abuse can be more devastating than any physical assault could be. Plus, psychological abuse has more long-term effects that will follow the victim for the remainder of their life. Fear and emotional distress takes longer to recover from than a bump or bruise. However, that does not make physical abuse justifiable, both forms of domestic abuse are heinous acts of unnecessary violence.
Psychological abuse in children
Emotional abuse is never acceptable no matter how old the victim is. There are many cases where adults use psychological tactics against their own children as a means of controlling the child. According to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, emotional abuse is “the ongoing emotional maltreatment or emotional neglect of a child. It’s sometimes called psychological abuse and can seriously damage a child’s emotional health and development.”
These acts of emotional abuse can include purposefully trying to humiliate a child, ignoring them, isolating them and try to scare them on a continually basis. In some cases, children who are suffering from emotional abuse are also suffering from other forms of abuse in their household.
Signs of psychological abuse
Some people who are in an emotionally abusive relationship are not even aware of the situation. For some, everything feels like a natural part of the relationship. Not knowing a relationship is emotionally abusive, means it is not possible to escape from the abuse
For those wondering if they themselves or someone they know is involved in a physiologically abusive relations, it is important to understand and know what signs to look for.
- Humiliation in public
- Put-downs that never end
- Extramarital affairs
- Provocative behavior
- Extreme jealousy
- Unexplainable moodiness
- Comments such as “I love you, but…”
- Sayings such as “If you don’t ____, I will ___.”
- Withdrawn affection
- Guilt trips
- Placing blame on the victim
- Victim becomes withdrawn and isolated
- Money being used to control the victim
- Traits of physical abuse
- Treats of suicide is the victim leaves
- Name calling
- Constant yelling
- Vulgar language
- Excluding the victim from perpetrators social activities
- Threatening to take something away
In order to help others in the UK escape continual abuse, we must fully understand the definition of emotional abuse and know the warning signs. Without seeing the warning signs, it might be near impossible to help a friend in need get out of an abusive relationship.
Examples of psychological abuse
Emotional and psychological abuse can occur in various forms, but all are intended to keep mental control over the victim. In some cases, the victim suffers from severe depression and fear of being alone. These are just two emotions perpetrators feed on, giving them a feeling that they can easily manipulate and control their victim.
Some examples of emotional abuse in relationships include:
- Constantly being put down, made to feel stupid, useless and worthless
- Being made to feel like they are a bad parent
- Being told they are fat, ugly and no one else would want to be with them
- Constantly being told they are crazy
- Being isolated from friends and family
- Not being allowed to go out alone
- Constantly being checked up on via phone calls or text messages
- Having fears and phobias used against them
- Being ignored
- Having false accusations made against the victim
- Being told not to work or where in London to work
- Trying to change the victim’s look
- Claiming the victim is stupid
- Not allowing the victim to speak for themselves in public
These are just a few examples of psychological abuse. The emotional tactics used against a victim depend upon how the perpetrator was raised, his or her life experiences, their relationship, the victim’s past and the situation.
Effects of emotional abuse
Psychological abuse can have a huge impact on the victim’s life. Over time, the victim can sometimes turn into a completely different person that they themselves may not even recognize. After continual emotional abuse, the victim starts to believe this is how life is supposed to be. That is why it is so important to recognize the signs and stop the ongoing abuse.
- Feeling of being manipulated
- Feeling undesirable
- Lack of self-worth
- Inability to trust
- Suicide attempts
- Feeling trapped
- Substance abuse
Preventing psychological abuse
First things first. Remember that it is not your fault that you are being abused, physically or emotionally. It is the abusers fault. Most abusers have experience and fully understand what it takes to get their victim’s under control and have an emotional hold over them. Do not let this cause you any further stress or put you into a deep depression.
Try to talk to your abuser and explain why you feel the way you do. If the abuse is not intentional, he or she might be able to seek counseling to stop any further abuse. However, that is not always the case. If talking with him or her gets you nowhere, it is important to get away from the situation.
Contact a close friend or family member for help escaping the abuse. Help may include offering you a place to stay until you are back on your feet, emotional support and any other help you may need after leaving your abuser.
If you feel you or someone you know is being emotionally abused, get help immediately. Contact local London area counselors or seek assistance from British officials and law enforcement. You abuser can face criminal charges, but nothing will be done if others are not aware of the situation and what is happening behind closed doors.
Psychological abuse can sometime be more devastating to the victim than any form of physical abuse can. Depending upon the severity of the abuse, the victim can fall into a deep depression and in extreme cases, commit suicide as a means to escape the abuse.
This is why it is so important for everyone in the UK band together and fight all forms of abuse, including psychological abuse. There are several organizations in communities across the country that you can contact for help or volunteer to help others in need throughout the UK.
If you’re concerned about what your child might be getting up to when they’re online, our Heads Up platform is able to detect any potential harmful danger or cyberbullying that may come their way.