Emotional abuse consequences

Emotional and Psychological Abuse | WomensLaw.org

Is emotional abuse the same as psychological abuse?
What is emotional and psychological abuse?
What are the signs of emotional and psychological abuse?
What are some forms of emotional and psychological abuse?
What are the effects of emotional and psychological abuse?

What can I do if I am a victim of emotional and psychological abuse?

Is emotional abuse the same as psychological abuse?
There is no clear agreement among experts in the field whether there is a meaningful difference between emotional and psychological abuse. There is some research that suggests that there are slight differences between the two. Emotional abuse is believed to be broader and so psychological abuse is often considered to be one form of emotional abuse. Also, psychological abuse involves the use of verbal and social tactics to control someone’s way of thinking, such as “gaslighting,” which is not necessarily the same as other forms of emotional abuse.

However, for the purposes of the following questions, WomensLaw will group the terms together since the behaviors described by both concepts are similar enough that there isn’t a real difference when considering legal remedies for victims of these behaviors.

What is emotional and psychological abuse?
Abuse comes in many different forms. Even when there is no physical violence, abusive language can be very damaging to you and your children. Emotional and psychological abuse are include mostly non-physical behaviors that the abuser uses to control, isolate, or frighten you. Often, the abuser uses it to break down your self-esteem and self-worth in order to create a psychological dependency on him/her. Emotional and psychological abuse are hard forms of abuse to recognize because the abuse is spread throughout your everyday interactions. Unlike physical abuse, there are often no isolated incidents or clear physical evidence to reference.1

1 See The National Domestic Violence Hotline, What is Emotional Abuse page

What are the signs of emotional and psychological abuse?
Emotional and psychological abuse may begin suddenly or it may slowly start to enter into your relationship. Some abusers behave like a good partner in the beginning and start the abuse after the relationship is established. When this shift in behavior occurs, it can leave you feeling shocked, confused, and even embarrassed. However, abuse is never your fault even if the abuser tells you it is or if your family members or friends blame you for “allowing” the abuse. It is often difficult to decide whether or not certain behaviors are emotionally or psychologically abusive, especially if you grew up witnessing abuse. However, as with all other types of domestic violence, the behavior is intended to gain and keep power and control over you. Some signs that a partner is being emotionally and psychologically abusive include:

  • humiliating you in front of others;
  • calling you insulting names, such as “stupid,” “disgusting,” or “worthless”;
  • getting angry in a way that is frightening to you;
  • threatening to hurt you, people you care about, or pets;
  • the abuser threatening to harm him/herself when upset with you;
  • saying things like, “If I can’t have you, then no one can;”
  • deciding things for you that you should decide, like what you wear or eat;
  • acting jealous, including constantly accusing you of cheating;
  • continually pretending to not to understand what you are saying, making you feel stupid, or refusing to listen to your thoughts and opinions;
  • questioning your memory of events or denying that an event happened the way you said it did, even when the abuser knows that you are right;
  • changing the subject whenever you try to start conversations with the abuser and others and questioning your thoughts in a way that makes you feel unworthy; and
  • making your needs or feelings seem unimportant or less important than those of the abuser. 1

1 See U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, Office on Women’s Health, Emotional and Verbal Abuse page

What are some forms of emotional and psychological abuse?
Emotional and psychological abuse can involve behaviors or acts towards you or towards others. Below, we discuss both.

Acts towards others:
Abuse of pets

Pets are commonly viewed as family members and treasured companions. The abuser may use the emotional and psychological connection you have with your pets to gain power and control over you by harming or threatening to harm your pet in any of the following ways:

  • harming your pet to get back at you for actions that you may have taken that show self-determination or independence;
  • harming your pet as “punishment” for something that you or your children did;
  • threatening or harming your pet in an attempt to force (coerce) you into doing something; or
  • forcing you or your children to harm or kill your pet or to watch the abuser do it. 1

Threats to self-harm
When your partner regularly threatens self-harm when you don’t do what the abuser wants you to do or when you decide to leave the relationship, this is a form of emotional and psychological abuse. The abuser is using your love for him/her to manipulate and control you. When your partner makes these threats, steps you can take to protect yourself include:

  • telling your partner you care about him/her, but sticking to your boundaries – in other words, not necessarily doing whatever the abuser tells you is necessary to do to “prevent” self-harm;
  • not taking responsibility for the abuser’s actions if the abuser does decide to self-harm; and
  • remembering that it is not your responsibility to “make” the abuser not self-harm. For example, the abuser may say, “If you really loved me, you’d stop me from killing myself” but this is part of the manipulation that often comes with emotional abuse.2

Acts towards you:

In an emotionally and psychologically abusive relationship, the abuser will do many things in an attempt to cut all of the emotional ties you have with other people so that the only one left is the one to the abuser. Some signs of this type of isolation include:

  • preventing or discouraging you from seeing family or friends and making you feel guilty when you do;
  • wanting to know what you’re doing all the time and making you be in constant contact;
  • restricting access to transportation so you can’t leave the home;
  • acting jealous of time spent with your family or friends, often to the point where you will “choose” not to see them anymore so you don’t have to put up with the abuser’s jealousy; and
  • wanting you to ask for permission before doing something or spending time with other people.3

Gaslighting is a form of emotional and psychological abuse that tends to happen gradually in a relationship. The term “gaslighting” is used to describe a pattern of behavior in which the abuser intentionally denies that acts or events happened in the way that you know that they happened. An abuser will often twist your emotions, words, and experiences and use them against you, which causes you to question your reality, to doubt your own judgment and memory, and to make you feel that you are “going crazy. ” Signs that you are experiencing gaslighting include:

  • feeling confused, “crazy,” and constantly second-guessing yourself;
  • constantly questioning if you are being “too sensitive”;
  • having trouble making simple decisions;
  • constantly apologizing to your partner;
  • frequently making excuses for your partner’s behavior;
  • finding yourself withholding information from loved ones;
  • starting to lie to avoid the put-downs or reality twists;
  • feeling as though you can’t do anything right; and
  • wondering if you are a “good enough” partner.4

Ultimately, these behaviors are meant to control, isolate, or frighten you, and while they do not leave physical scars, they can leave long-lasting trauma.5

1 This information was adapted from Pets and Domestic Violence
2 See The National Domestic Violence Hotline, When Your Partner Threatens Suicide page
3 See The National Domestic Violence Hotline, What is Emotional Abuse page
4 See The National Domestic Violence Hotline, What is Gaslighting page
5 See U. S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, Office on Women’s Health, Emotional and Verbal Abuse page

What are the effects of emotional and psychological abuse?
Emotional and psychological abuse can have severe short- and long-term effects. This type of abuse can affect both your physical and your mental health. You may experience feelings of confusion, anxiety, shame, guilt, frequent crying, over-compliance, powerlessness, and more. You may stay in the relationship and try to bargain with the abuser or try to change the abuser’s behavior, often placing blame on yourself, even though you are not at fault.

If you’re dealing with severe and ongoing emotional abuse, it’s possible to lose your entire sense of self and begin to doubt your self-worth or your abilities, which may make it even harder to leave the relationship. Long-term emotional abuse can also result in several health problems, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, chronic pain, and more. 1 It’s important to get emotional support to help you deal with the trauma of emotional and psychological abuse – see What can I do if I am a victim of emotional and psychological abuse? for more information.

1 This information was adapted from U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, Office on Women’s Health, Emotional and Verbal Abuse page and Effects of Violence Against Women page.

What can I do if I am a victim of emotional and psychological abuse?
If you are the victim of emotional and psychological abuse, you may be hesitant to seek help or tell your friends and family because you fear they will not believe you or take you seriously. You may feel shame or confusion as to what is happening. However, seeking help and support is essential to ending an emotionally or psychologically abusive relationship. The effects of these types of abuse are serious and it is common for emotional and psychological abuse to escalate to physical violence. You can go to our National Organizations - Emotional Abuse section for national resources or talk to an advocate or counselor at your local domestic violence organization, listed on our Advocates and Shelters page. Local domestic violence programs often offer free counseling, support groups, and the advocates in these organizations could point you to other local help and support options.

In addition, depending on how domestic violence is defined in your state, the abuser’s behavior can fall under certain crimes or you may qualify for a restraining order. A few states specifically allow someone to get a restraining order based on “coercive control,” which is a form of emotional and psychological abuse. Even in states where emotional abuse is not considered as a reason for a restraining order, it’s possible that certain emotionally abusive acts may, in fact, qualify you for an order. For example, if an abuser threatens you or continually texts or calls you repeatedly without reason to do so, this could be considered enough to grant an order. In our Restraining Orders page, you can chose your state from the drop-down menu and look for the question where we include the legal definition of domestic violence for the purposes of getting a restraining order. Some states also recognize emotionally abusive acts as crimes, such as threats or public disturbances, for example. You can go to our Crimes page to read through the list of common crimes committed by abusers to see if any match up with the abuser’s actions.

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Effects of Emotional Abuse on Your Brain, Relationships, and Health

Emotional abuse is often harder to recognize than other forms of abuse, but its effects can be just as profound. Healing is possible.

Emotional abuse involves a broad range of tactics, including shaming and gaslighting, which are meant to leave you feeling powerless, hopeless, and less.

In some cases, the signs of emotional abuse are so subtle that you might not be sure you’re on the receiving end.

Depending on the types of emotional abuse and how long you’ve been dealing with these behaviors, you might experience different effects on your emotional, physical, and mental health.

Some people experience emotional abuse over many years, such as during childhood or the course of a romantic relationship.

But you can also experience more acute or short-term instances of emotional abuse, such as a casual exchange with a stranger or interactions with colleagues or friends.

You might be more likely to experience both long- and short-term impacts of emotional abuse if you’ve dealt with these behaviors for many years as a child or an adult.

But abuse can affect you even if you experience it once.

Even if you’re not aware of the abusive behaviors or you feel they don’t affect you, they’re still abusive if that was the intention.

Short-term effects of emotional abuse

  • isolation and loneliness
  • self-doubt
  • shame
  • confusion
  • low self-esteem
  • fear when interacting with others
  • avoidance of activities related to the incident
  • feelings of powerlessness

Long-term effects of emotional abuse

  • mental health conditions
  • neuroticism, or the tendency toward low mood and negative emotions like anger
  • chronic stress
  • physical health challenges like body aches and heart palpitations
  • attachment challenges
  • emotional disconnect or apathy

What are the effects of emotional abuse in children?

Children who experience emotional abuse may go through some of these effects:

  • Behavioral changes. Children may appear to “act out,” show signs of attention deficity hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and sometimes become abusive toward other children. Self-harm and suicidal thoughts can also be effects of emotional abuse on a child.
  • Emotional development. Children who experience emotional abuse might have more difficulty managing their responses to difficult emotions. They may also seem less emotionally mature than their peers, as abuse could make it harder to grow a trusting relationship with their own emotions.
  • Maladaptive coping. Research from 2014 highlights how childhood emotional abuse can lead to the development of unhelpful ways of coping in women who have experienced it. For example, it can lead to numbing or disconnecting from emotions. Other kids may resort to fantasy and imagination, leading to avoidant behaviors and isolation over time.

Long-term emotional abuse can potentially impact your brain, especially if the abuse happened during childhood when the brain is still developing.

These are some of the ways research suggests emotional abuse can impact your brain:

  • Emotional understanding and empathy. Early emotional abuse could cause changes to the hippocampus that make it harder to empathize with the emotions of others.
  • Self-awareness. Emotional abuse is linked to thinning of certain areas of the brain that help you manage emotions and be self-aware — especially the prefrontal cortex and temporal lobe.
  • Epigenetic changes and depression. Research from 2018 has connected childhood abuse to epigenetic brain changes that may cause depression. Epigenetic refers to how your environment and behaviors affect your genes. In particular, the study found changes to certain genes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is an area of the brain that’s involved in the stress response.

If you’ve experienced emotional abuse for a while, you might inadvertently think these behaviors are to be expected from partners, family, or friends.

Chronic emotional abuse could affect how you see yourself in relationships and your tolerance toward certain behaviors.

You might experience some of the following effects:

  • Codependency. Long-term emotional abuse can make you feel as if your needs don’t matter as much as everyone else’s. This can lead to codependent behaviors or ignoring your own needs and boundaries. You might also engage in people-pleasing behaviors or tend to establish relationships with abusive partners.
  • Fear of abandonment. If emotional distance was used as a manipulation tactic, you might feel high levels of stress or abandonment anxiety in your relationships. This could manifest as a behavior sometimes labeled “clinginess” that’s often rooted in a deep fear of losing your support system.
  • Trust challenges. Past emotional abuse can make it harder for you to trust even a supportive, compassionate partner. When you’ve been let down in the past, it can take courage and vulnerability to trust that another person won’t hurt you again on purpose.
  • Difficulty being authentic. If the emotional abuse you experienced often took the form of criticism or picking you apart, you might have internalized some of these comments leading you to feel shame. As a result, it could seem difficult and scary to open up to a partner, leading to emotional distance in the relationship.

The way you view and relate to yourself can also change in the wake of chronic or isolated emotional abuse:

  • Low self-esteem. Emotional abuse that consists of put-downs can wear your self-esteem thin, leading to feelings of worthlessness. It might make you feel like you’re less deserving or valid than the people around you.
  • Self-doubt. Emotional abuse called gaslighting can make you question your own thoughts, abilities, and perception of reality. If you’ve been continuously gaslit, you might notice you have less confidence in your own instincts. You might question yourself more often, tend to self-sabotage, or have more difficulty identifying and trusting your own feelings.
  • Shame. Sometimes emotional abuse involves behaviors intended to making you feel ashamed of parts of who you are, such as personality quirks, likes and dislikes, or hopes for the future. This can cause you to stifle parts of your identity to avoid feeling the shame associated with them.

Unaddressed effects of emotional abuse can lead to mental health conditions over time. These may include:

  • Social anxiety. According to 2015 research that studied adults from Israel, emotional abuse in childhood may lead to social anxiety disorder. This happens when the abuse creates feelings of shame and inadequacy, as well as self-criticism, making you more prone to fearfulness when you interact with others.
  • Depression. Emotional abuse in childhood is strongly linked to depression in adulthood. Experts suggest this can happen when behaviors undermine your capacity for self-compassion and fosters shame.
  • Eating disorders. When emotional abuse leads to high levels of self-criticism, it may increase your chances of developing an eating disorder, including binge eating, bulimia, and anorexia.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or complex PTSD (C-PTSD). Research suggests emotional abuse and bullying can cause symptoms that meet the criteria for PTSD or C-PTSD.

Several physical impacts are also connected to past experiences of chronic emotional abuse:

  • Chronic pain. Research from 2018 suggests adverse childhood experiences including emotional abuse could increase your chances of experiencing forms of chronic pain, such as back pain and headaches.
  • Fibromyalgia. Past emotional abuse may be more common in people with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome, suggests 2015 research that studied 34 patients with the condition. The study connected fibromyalgia to unresolved trauma and attachment trauma.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Emotional abuse has been found to predict IBS, which can involve painful bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.

If emotional abuse has impacted any aspects of your life, healing is possible with time, patience, and lots of self-compassion.

Working with a compassionate mental health professional is one way to address the effects of emotional abuse.

You can also learn about healing from trauma or ways to recover from an abusive relationship for more ideas about what path to healing from emotional abuse is right for you.

Psychological violence and ways of coping

Zyuzkina Anastasia Andreevna, psychologist of the health care institution "City Clinical Psychiatric Dispensary"

Often domestic violence against women and children is not perceived as an act of violence.

The topic of psychological abuse is broad, this issue is relevant not only in the field of the family system, but also in the sphere of work.

For example, in the scientific literature, psychological violence is called mobbing - the employer's disrespectful attitude towards employees in the context of labor relations. Situations where periodically (at least once a week) the employee is humiliated and harassed by the team or the manager, the purpose of which is to dismiss the employee during the period of employment. Mobbing is manifested in the oppression of a long period of time and includes negative statements, unfounded criticism, social isolation of an employee, dissemination of deliberately false information about a person, and more.

Psychological consequences for the object of mobbing are so serious that social significance is perceived as traumatic and compared with murder, rape and robbery. Some people even think about suicide.

Most often, psychological abuse occurs in the family. The main victims of domestic violence are women and children. The consequences of psychological violence include sleep and appetite disorders, alcoholism, reckless committing of traumatic actions, a change in the nature of the personality.

Psychological violence is a form of influencing the emotions or psyche of a partner through threats, intimidation, insults, criticism, condemnation, etc. That is, a constant verbal negative impact on another person. More often this type of violence is subjected to wives from their husbands, much less often vice versa.

Psychological abuse can escalate into physical abuse.

Domestic violence also spreads in cohabitation as cohabitation. Most often it is a form of psychological abuse. Psychological abuse is on a par with physical abuse, since the personality is violated by suppressing self-esteem. Under such conditions, the person who is targeted by the negative impact does not assess the situation as dangerous and sometimes it is necessary to convince them that they have become precisely the victims. Beliefs are formed as if she herself is to blame, misunderstood, did not tolerate, did not prove, provoked. As a result, personal characteristics are formed: self-restraint, alienation, negativism, refusal to express one's own position.

Insults, violence, mistreatment in psychology is called abuse. The person who forces to do something, offends, forces to perform actions that are unpleasant to another person, respectively, is an abuser.

The reasons why one partner affects the psyche of another are varied, the most common: the need for self-realization and self-affirmation at the expense of the other, difficulties in the inability to express one's desires and thoughts, past experience, financial dependence on one's partner, the perception of violence as a norm in family behavior, propaganda of violence in the media / movies / video games, psychological deviations in the form of a psychological trauma.

With constant criticism, the self-esteem of the victim decreases to a certain level and self-confidence is shaky, in this state it is easier for the tyrant to impose his opinion and desired behavior. The victim in such a state of mind doubts the correctness of his actions, a feeling of insignificance and guilt is instilled. By psychologically influencing such a person, another model of life is laid, the position of a tyrant is adopted and control is exercised on his part.

There are many signs of psychological violence and a combination of signs is used to determine it, and not each factor individually:

  • criticism - a rough assessment of shortcomings, comments about appearance, intelligence, taste preferences, such criticism may be followed by insults.
  • Humiliation - insults, rough treatment.
  • Accusation - conviction of guilt, for example, in family failures and shifting responsibility for everything that happens.
  • Despotism - commanding tone in communication, orders and instructions instead of requests.
  • Intimidation - Threats of physical violence against the victim and their loved ones, limiting prohibitions on contact with children and threats from the tyrant to commit suicide.
  • Prohibition to communicate with relatives, friends, colleagues, deprivation of means of communication.
  • Prohibited from visiting places outside the home and obtaining permission from a partner to leave the house.
  • Permanent presence, partner rarely leaves alone.
  • Monitoring behavior and communication outside the home, checking private messages, checking call lists, checking email, installing software, hidden or open surveillance (video surveillance).

Emotional abuse also includes jealousy, which manifests itself in constant accusations of adultery.

A psychological abuser has such qualities as: disrespectful attitude towards a partner and his life principles; the imposition of help that was not asked for, generosity that puts you in an awkward position; total control; jealousy; threatening behavior; the presence of double standards “I can, but you can’t”; life credo "a man (woman) is never guilty of anything."

There are several types of psychological violence. Gaslighting is one of the most severe forms of psychological abuse. The gaslighter denies their partner or child adequateness using the phrases “it seemed to you”, “it didn’t happen”, “you just don’t understand it”. The victim is instilled that the perception of the environment is erroneous, therefore, the victim is convinced that she is going crazy. Neglect - ignoring any needs, arguing that a person does not need it, deliberate negligence. Sometimes the abuser pushes his partner to plastic surgery, refuses to deal with everyday life and children. In this situation, it is best to isolate yourself from the abuser. Visholding - refusal to discuss an exciting topic. Emotional blackmail - ignoring any action of the victim, emotional coldness, silence, blackmail with personal information. The purpose of such behavior is the subordination of another person, deprivation of one's own will, and only by limiting communication can one protect himself from this. Ignoring - emotional withdrawal. Isolation - prohibition of communication with everyone except the abuser himself, so the request for help is difficult to carry out. Control - tight control over any actions of the partner. Criticism - pointing out shortcomings and miscalculations, that in front of other people it looks like ridicule. The purpose of such behavior is to form an inferiority complex, after such an impact it is difficult to recover from such a relationship, faith in oneself, partnership is lost.

It is best for the victim to get out of the situation of violence (even run away, disappear from view). Victims of psychological abuse cannot avoid mental problems. Such people are in a state of psychological trauma and experience anxiety, fear, may become depressed, and suicidal attempts are not excluded. There is also emotional dependence, neglect of one's needs, various addictions may arise, for example, alcohol or drugs.

According to studies, in those families where various types of violence (physical, psychological) are used, signs of a delay in the physical and neuropsychic development of children are noticed.

In each specific case of violence, a psychological consultation is required.

It is important to take responsibility for your life, set your own goals, learn to listen to yourself and your feelings, stop negative influences and report what is unpleasant, not tolerate when something causes negative feelings.

In difficult social, economic and psychological situations, you should contact crisis centers to receive the necessary assistance.

For psychological support, you can contact the helpline, where they will listen, support and determine the type of assistance.

There are no bruises, but the soul is crippled: answers to important questions about psychological abuse

Does emotional abuse necessarily lead to physical abuse? Why do victims of psychological abuse not always understand what they are facing? Why do those who find themselves in a particularly difficult situation refuse help? Is it possible to “cure” relationships that involve non-physical abuse? Dealing with a psychologist

Not so long ago, Netflix released the series Maid (aka The Cleaner: The Story of a Single Mother in Russian translation), dedicated to the problem of emotional and psychological violence in the family. According to the plot of the series, Alex (Margaret Qualley) leaves her husband, who cannot control his outbursts of anger. Alex is especially frightened by his behavior while intoxicated. The heroine finds the strength to break off these relations, but does not immediately seek help - it is difficult for her to admit and accept that she faced violence, because the aggressor did not beat her. Co-founder and supervisor of the “NeTerpi” psychological assistance center, former psychologist of the “Nasiliyu.net” center (recognized as a foreign agent in Russia) Tatyana Orlova tells why it is difficult for a person who has found himself in a situation of emotional abuse to realize what is happening, whether the only reason for aggression is alcohol and where to turn to the victims.

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A person may not always realize that he is in a situation of psychological violence

Why is this happening? There may be several reasons for this. A person who has experienced violence may have lived in similar relationships as a child - for example, he was severely punished or ignored. He takes it as the norm. Or violence arises very gradually, is added in small portions. Then our consciousness manages to adapt to it, create protective mechanisms (for example, pity for the offender) - and also ceases to notice it. There is a third reason: immediately a very cruel attitude that causes serious injury. And the trauma is experienced by our consciousness due to repression: we seem to forget the episodes that traumatize us and therefore we cannot draw proper conclusions from them.

Psychological abuse is difficult to notice at an early stage

Therefore, if the relationship develops too quickly, if the partner constantly requires you to make some kind of sacrifice, if he is very jealous, scolds and blames former partners and friends, or talks about cases of cruelty and revenge against them, it is worth behaving carefully and giving yourself time. If you do not approach too quickly, it will gradually become clear who is in front of you and whether you can build a dialogue with such a person, find something in common and build respectful contact.

Emotional abuse is no less, and often more damaging to the individual than physical

Psychological abuse does not always lead to physical abuse, but it is no less destructive to the individual

Relationships in which psychological abuse is present are much more common than relationships in which there is physical violence, and the first does not always lead to the second. But emotional abuse is no less, and often more damaging to the individual, than physical abuse. It implies humiliation, devaluation, comparisons, blackmail and threats, pressure and control. When you live in such a relationship, you are forced to agree with what the one who uses emotional abuse inspires you, and gradually you begin to think that, indeed, “it’s all my fault”, “I really have problems with self-esteem, motivation , time management”, “I don’t dance well and I’m not smart enough”. Despite the fact that there are no bruises on the body, the human soul is wounded and crippled.

Survivors of psychological abuse tend to underestimate the seriousness of what is happening

This is not a property of victims as some special type of personality, but a property of any human psyche: our consciousness does not want to be in a state of helplessness. This is the most unpleasant state for consciousness, as there is a loss of control when it is impossible to manage your life. Therefore, consciousness hides such traumatic experiences from us whenever possible. Therefore, to a person experiencing psychological abuse, it seems that nothing special has happened.

A person experiencing violence often cannot understand that it is time to seek help

It is usually those who are in a particularly difficult situation who tend to deny the need for help. It always seems to such a person that there is someone who needs more, and the situation is not too critical, maybe this time everything will work out. To really assess the danger, you need to understand whether there is a threat to life and health. If at least once there was physical violence, if scandals and threats are repeated and growing, if the offender uses drugs or alcohol, then the danger is very great. You should not wait for the next episode, you need to leave as soon as possible. Because you are around, the situation will not improve and the abuser will not improve, and you and your children will receive psychological trauma.

Alcohol cannot be the only cause of aggression towards a partner. Alcohol and drugs, of course, aggravate abuse - control over emotions is destroyed, and a person can no longer control his reactions. But even after quitting drinking, a person may not stop being an aggressor. It is certainly worth treating alcoholism, but this does not mean that it is worth continuing the relationship with the one who is being treated and forgetting about yourself for this. It is advisable to leave your needs in the first place.

If only the injured party wants changes and seeks to “heal the relationship with his love”, then the matter is doomed to failure

Psychological abuse can be stopped, but both partners should want it only the victim, but also the one who uses violence. Or if there are two aggressors in a pair, which is also very common. Then they should work in parallel with a psychologist dealing with the trauma of violence, and an EFT therapist (EFT - emotionally focused therapy. - Forbes Woman ), which will help restore trust in a couple and improve communication between partners.

But if only the injured party wants changes and seeks to “heal the relationship with their love”, then the matter is doomed to failure. Because the more love is invested and the more forgiveness and humility the injured partner demonstrates, the more the abuser can afford and the more he will think that his behavior has no negative consequences.

It will not be possible to change the offender

All efforts aimed at achieving this are in vain. You also need to realize that while you live in such a relationship, you not only receive damage yourself, but also do not allow the aggressor to change, because you serve as a resource that allows him to behave this way. It is not necessary to diagnose yourself and another like “I am a victim” or “he is an abuser”: this does not always change the situation. What is needed is a workable escape plan, support from outside, and recognition of the impossibility of changing anything in this relationship.

The one who produces violence often feels like a victim

He sees a threat in a partner, for example, he is afraid that he will leave him or will humiliate him - and therefore he attacks first. At the same time, he thinks he is defending himself. This is a perceptual error. Probably, in the past - mostly in childhood - a person had enough episodes when he was really a victim, and now he projects this experience onto reality.

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Psychological violence can occur not only in partnerships, but also in working relationships

Almost everyone, in some cases, uses elements of psychological violence and experiences it himself. We know how to defend ourselves against it, and it does not become something categorically harmful and bad for us, if it does not turn out to be a constant factor in relationships.

For example, a boss might ask for overtime work, implying that non-hard-working employees do not work for the company. Here, a person may have a choice: to comply with the requirement or to defend the right to rest and subsequently, possibly, face a deterioration in attitude. If at least theoretically a person has the opportunity to change jobs, for him this choice is not so critical, he can say “no” in this situation. But if it is difficult with work or in a previous experience (for example, in childhood) a person did not have the opportunity to refuse, since this was followed by punishment, the person loses this choice. He is forced to agree, and if such manipulations continue, he may become a victim of violence.

This state can be noticed by the feeling of hopelessness, anxiety and fear arising in contact with a person or people who violate the boundaries; by feelings of shame and guilt; internal monologues in their defense. Such relationships destroy self-esteem and eventually lead to burnout.

Recognizing a victim of psychological abuse can be difficult, but if you know about such a person, tell him about the organizations that help. Often they devalue the danger and harm that such a relationship causes them. Therefore, even if we see that a person does not resist when he is treated badly, we should not think that he likes it or is fine with it.

Professional help is needed to deal with this. Therefore, it is important not to blame the victim and not to insist on immediate changes. But it’s definitely worth telling the person that there are free services where you can talk about your situation and better understand it. For example, the oldest center "Anna" (recognized as a "foreign agent") has an excellent help map on the site.

Victims of psychological and financial violence are entitled to help from organizations dealing with the problem of domestic violence, but obtaining asylum in Russia is not always easy

Recently, many public organizations have appeared in Russia that provide assistance to victims of psychological and other types of non-physical violence.

Learn more