Emotional Abuse: What You Need to Know

Abuse is a word that many people equate with physical violence. While there's no denying that physical abuse is a serious issue, emotional abuse can be just as harmful. Studies show that approximately half of Americans experience emotional abuse by a partner. Emotional abuse can cause serious issues like depression, anxiety, and social withdrawal. Here's what you need to know about this widespread issue.

What is Emotional Abuse? 

Emotional abuse is an attempt to control another person by using emotions. Rather than using physical violence to control another person, an emotional abuser uses their words to inflict harm on another person.

Since it doesn't leave physical scars, it can be difficult to detect emotional abuse. Here are some warning signs that someone is emotionally abusing you:

  • Criticizing, shaming, or embarrassing you
  • Blaming you for their mistakes
  • Refusing to acknowledge your feelings
  • Having emotional outbursts
  • Manipulating or gaslighting you
  • Forcing you to spend time with them
  • Invalidating your opinions
  • Being dismissive of your complaints

 Emotional abuse commonly occurs in relationships between intimate partners. Although isolated instances may not be enough to warrant emotional abuse, a pattern of this behavior is cause for concern.

If you aren't sure whether or not you're a victim of emotional abuse, think back to your interactions with the other person. You may be experiencing abuse if you're frequently left feeling low self-esteem, fear, or a lack of control over your life.

What to Do if You've Experienced Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse can be a vicious cycle. Emotional abuse victims often experience a low sense of self-worth. As a result, they feel trapped and are afraid to leave their relationship with their abuser. Emotional abuse can have long-term effects that impact victim you for years.

It's critical to remove yourself from an emotionally abusive situation. You may be able to voice your concerns with your abuser. If the pattern of abuse continues, you should take steps to disassociate from that person.
You don't have to recover from emotional abuse alone. Many professional therapists have the skills and experience to support you during this challenging time. You can also use a crisis hotline to guide you through the process, especially if you're concerned about your safety.

An experienced attorney may be able to help you take legal action against your abuser. In certain cases, they can file a petition for an emergency protective order or restraining order to protect you.

Your Next Steps  

If you've experienced emotional abuse, we're here to help. The family law attorneys at Caulder & Valentine can help you take steps to protect yourself and to move on from emotional abuse. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.