How to Recognize Mental And Emotional Abuse, and Why It’s Not Your Fault

When we think of abuse, it is usually considered something physical, leaving visible marks, but mental and emotional abuse can leave invisible wounds that can be just as harmful. Although abuse can occur to anyone, nobody should be victimized.

If spending time with your spouse or person from your family makes you feel afraid at times, confused, and uneasy, If you feel like you doubt your self-worth when talking to them, you might be suffering from emotional abuse. The aim of emotional abusers is to undermine another’s confidence in themselves and self-esteem. If you’re in a relationship that is emotionally abusive, it is possible to feel as if there’s no way out as well as that without your loved one; you’ll be left with no hope. The act of emotional abuse is a type of domestic violence and can affect anyone at any time of their life, whether it’s as a child, teenager, or an adult.

What Is Mental And Emotional Abuse?

The term “mental abuse,” also referred to as “psychological or emotional abuse,” is the deliberate act of hurting someone, causing them emotional pain, or trying to manipulate or control the victim through non-verbal or verbal communication.

What Is Mental And Emotional Abuse

The effects of mental abuse are extremely severe. But, since this type of abuse may take different forms, It can be easy to overlook or ignore; the person who is being abused ignores the situation. In the end, coworkers, friends, and even family members do not recognize it.

If you’ve suffered from physical abuse, it’s likely you’re tempted to take on or reduce the responsibility of the abuse that was verbal, humiliation, and other unpleasant treatment you experienced.

Mental abuse is designed to lower your confidence and makes you feel more miserable about yourself. It’s also a means of control and manipulation. The negative effects of mental abuse can be just as harmful as those of physical abuse.

Signs and Examples of Mental And Emotional Abuse

If you take a closer look, you’ll see the possibility of emotional and mental abuse to be found across different relationships. As a type that is domestic, the intimate partner can be in a relationship that makes one partner be in control of the other, but other family members may have a lot of influence, as shown in instances where children are abused. Abuse of the mind and emotions can also happen at work as well as in friendships as well as other non-traditional settings.

However, while certain relationships may be a particular source of abuse for mental and emotional health, the majority of cases follow the same pattern of conduct which makes it simple to recognize. The indicators of mental abuse are:

  • Name-calling and insulting terms of affection. They’ll blatantly call you “stupid,” “a loser,” or make other derogatory remarks. 
  • The act of killing a character. This usually involves the phrase “always.” You’re always tardy, in error, messing up, irritable, and so on. These are the things they might say to you or even apply the words to describe your conduct to other people.
  • Screaming. Screaming, yelling, and swearing can frighten your feelings and make you feel inadequate and irrelevant. They may not strike the person, yet they punch their fists and throw objects or cause damage to property.
  • Then they become patronizing. They belittle you with words like, “I know you try, but this is just beyond the scope of your brain.”
  • The public embarrassment. They pick fights or reveal your secrets or laugh at your mistakes in public.
  • “Joking.” If you are unhappy with someone’s words, they reply, “Can’t you take a joke? You need to grow up.” You’re in a state of confusion and wonder whether you’re in reality or oversensitive.
  • Insulting your appearance. As you head out the door, they pull you aside at the entrance. “You’re wearing this ridiculous outfit? It’s no wonder you’re not getting dates.” 
  • Then they smear your achievements. They brush off your accomplishments and say they aren’t important or claim to be responsible for your accomplishments.
  • Doing away with your interests. They suggest your pursuits are an unnecessary waste of time. “You’ll never be any good at the piano, so why do you keep trying?” Actually, they’d rather you don’t take part in any activities that aren’t theirs.
  • Pressing the buttons. Once they find something that is bothersome to you or makes you feel uncomfortable, Then they start to discuss it at every opportunity they get and ignore any requests you make to cease.

The behavior of abuse is related to the desire to retain control and power. A person who is abusive might try to influence you into doing the things they want you to perform, typically by making you feel embarrassed by your weaknesses.

  • Threatening to harm you. They imply or even declare outright that they’ll sack you or accuse you of being a parent who isn’t fit. They may even say, “There’s no telling what I might do,” to make things more undefined and leave you feeling scared.
  • Monitoring your location. They want to be aware of where you are always and demand that you respond to texts or calls promptly. They may arrive at your place of work or school to make sure you actually visit there.
  • Monitoring you electronically. They demand your passwords and examine your Internet history, email, text messages, and even your call logs.
  • Gaslighting. Someone abusing you might deny that certain instances, disputes, or agreements have ever occurred. This could leave you doubting your memory and your mental health and well-being.
  • Making all decisions. This might involve closing an account that is joint and cancellation of appointments with a doctor. They could demand that you drop from school and leave work or even do this in your name. They might also advise you on what to wear, what you should consume (and the amount), or who you should be spending time with.
  • Controlling access to your financial accounts. They keep bank accounts under their names and demand money. They also demand that you keep track of your receipts and accounts for each penny you spend.
  • Blackmailing on the emotional level. Someone using this method will try to convince you to take action by manipulating your emotions. They could use tricksy techniques in order to “test” you, take on the role of a victim, or even try to convince you that you are guilty.
  • Then they keep on reciting it to you. After you make an error, regardless of how small, they list all of your mistakes with a lengthy monologue. They detail all the ways in which you’ve been a failure and state that they view you as inferior to them.
  • Faking insanity. They say they don’t know how to complete something and hope that you’ll take it on yourself instead of having to explain the issue.
  • The unpredictability. They explode for no reason at all, and then they suddenly show you, love. Perhaps their mood changes from a positive mood to angry and dark with no warning, making you not know what you can expect.
  • The stonewalling of you. During a disagreement or conflict, they close down and refuse to respond to any attempts to reach out.

People who are abusive to others frequently seek to establish an order of things that places their victims at the lowest.

  • Utilizing guilt. They might try to convince you to do something by saying, “You owe me this. Take a look at what I’ve done to help you,” to try and achieve their goals.
  • Expectations that aren’t realistic. They expect you to perform what they want and when they want you to perform it. They believe you should always be able to prioritize their needs, follow their rules and conform to the rules of their standards, and it’s absolutely not a good idea to hang out with your family or friends in the event that they’ll require to contact you.
  • Blaming and debating. People who manipulate and abuse are usually aware of how to get you upset. If you do become annoyed, they place blame on you. After all, you’re the one responsible for being fragile and uninformed.
  • Refusing to acknowledge the abuse. When you express concern about their behavior, they could dismiss it, appearing to be confused at the idea. They might even say that you’re the one who has the anger or control problems or claim they are only angry because they’re an incredibly difficult person.
  • The trivialization. When you explain how something someone made or said upsets you and causes you to feel hurt, They accuse you of being too harsh or misinterpreting the situation.
  • The blame game is where they blame you for their troubles. When things go wrong, they blame you.
  • Dismantling and denial. They might throw your phone to smash it, “lose” your car keys, or damage other valuable items, only to claim it was accidental or deny it.

A person who is abusive to you will usually attempt to convince you to prioritize their needs while you neglect your own.

Sometimes, they’ll try to isolate you by separating you from your loved ones which will, in turn, make the person more dependent.

  • Dehumanizing the person you are. They’ll intentionally look away from you when you’re speaking or look at something else while speaking to you in an attempt for you to feel less important.
  • You are being invalidated. They might suggest or state straight up that your requirements, boundaries, and wishes aren’t relevant to them.
  • Giving you the Silent treatment.
  • Refraining the affection. They won’t touch you, not even hug you.
  • Support is denied. When you need emotional help or assistance in a situation or issue, they may make you feel a little desperate, say there’s no way to stop the world and let your issues go, or suggest you get tough and take care of the issue yourself.
  • Interfering. They might get into your face while you’re engaged in some activity and remove your mobile or other devices that you hold to inform you that your focus should be on them.
  • Refuting your emotions. No matter what emotion you display, the person you talk to might tell you that you shouldn’t be feeling that way. For instance, “You shouldn’t be angry over that,” or “What have you got to feel sad about?”

Effects of Emotional and Mental Abuse

Physical violence is often viewed as being more severe than emotional abuse; however, it’s not the case.


Effects of Emotional and Mental Abuse

Abuse of the emotion can cause diverse effects physically and mentally, such as:

  • Affecting your self-esteem negatively and confidence
  • You may feel empty, lonely, or suicidal
  • You feel as if you’re in no control
  • This makes it difficult to be able to trust people
  • Refraining from your usual activities and your relationships
  • Problems controlling your mood and how your behavior fluctuates between extremes. You may experience anger outbursts or be still and calm
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • A distorted perception of healthy relationships
  • Encourages other types of abuse

Read More: The Difference Between Hearing And Listening: How Each Impacts Mental Health And Relationships

Read More: Signs of a Toxic Relationship and how fix or end it

Read More: Assertiveness: how to stand up for yourself and still win the respect of others

The signs that someone else is suffering emotional and mental abuse

It is possible that a person you know or someone in your family has been suffering emotional abuse because emotional abuse usually occurs in the privacy of one’s home; it can be difficult to determine whether it’s happening to another person. If you suspect that someone you know is involved in an insecure relationship, some of the items to watch out for could be:

  • You can tell when their partner or family member is snarky about them or even discloses embarrassing or upsetting information about them (including pictures)
  • They are now more frightened
  • They frequently apologize for incidents that aren’t their fault
  • They don’t want to discuss the relationship between them, not even if you express your concern
  • The family member or partner is always checking their whereabouts and who they are with.
  • They may behave differently when they receive messages or calls from their spouse or family member
  • They appear more distant, and it is difficult to get them to be able to notice them.

Treatment of Emotional and Mental Abuse

If you suspect that you’re being psychologically or physically abused, get assistance. Suppose you’re imminently in danger; attempt to leave the situation as soon as you can and call for help.

Treatment of Emtional and Mental Health

If you’re not at risk immediately, look over your situation and be aware of the following:

The Abuse Is Not Your Fault or Your Responsibility

You may have a strong assumption that the problem is your fault, and you need to find the solution. This isn’t the case. Do not try to argue with your abuser. They will not change unless they are willing to change. They should seek out professional assistance. It’s not your responsibility.

Don’t Engage

Choose not to participate in the abuser’s games or be entangled in disputes they would like to engage in with you. Be sure to keep your distance from them in the best way you can.

Get Away From the Relationship

If you’re able and have the ability to leave the relationship, then do it. It is important to let everyone know that the relationship has ended and that you’re moving forward to a new chapter in your life. Do not look back.

Time Heals

When you are separated from the person who abused you, Take your time and relax. Understand that it may take some time to recover. Relax with a hot bath and a cup of tea. The worst is over, and the future of your life lies ahead.

Professional assistance is available.

The need for long-term, professional help through therapy or support groups can help strengthen an individual’s resolve and aid in helping people believe that they’re not alone in their recovery from the effects of abuse.

Setting boundaries

This means taking on the extent necessary to force the abuse to stop. This often could mean ending a relationship or breaking ties with a spouse and never talking to them again.


Emotional abuse can take many forms and is often less obvious than other types of abuse. Anyone who notices symptoms of emotional abuse must seek help in any way they feel comfortable.

Signs of Mental and Emotional Abuse
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