Psychological / Emotional Abuse


Psychological/Emotional abuse is any kind of abuse that affects the mind rather than the body. It may systematically wear away at the victim’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth, and trust in their own preconceptions and self-concept. It can include anything from verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics, such as intimidation, manipulation, and refusal to ever be pleased. The abuse can be carried out overtly through berating and belittling or intimidation, or under the guise of “guidance”, “teaching”, or “advice”. Regardless of the specific form that this abuse can take, the negative effects on the victim’s sense of self are undeniable. Examples include:

  • embarrassing the person in public or in front of family or friends;
  • criticizing, telling the person they are not good enough;
  • calling a person names like stupid, slut, cow, pig;
  • constantly correcting the person;
  • refusing to be intimate with them as a punishment;
  • talking a person down because of things they can’t change (race, skin color, family, history);
  • criminally harassing or stalking;
  • harming their personal possessions or pets; and/or
  • terrorizing a person.