What is psychological abuse?
Psychological abuse (quite similar to mental abuse) involves the deliberate act of attacking a person’s mind using words and non-physical actions in a passive-aggressive manner, with the intention to manipulate, hurt, weaken, or frighten a person emotionally and mentally. This kind of abuse is often used by narcissists who are in the process of slowly, gradually on a day-by-day basis destroying their victim’s mind, self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence.
A psychological abuser can make their victim feel like they are losing their mind. The abuser will embarrass (undermind, put down, belittle) their victim in public, in front of work colleagues, family, or friends. A psychological abuser can often pose as a friend and pretend to care about their victim, all the while their actions and intentions are filled with destruction for their victim’s state of mind.
Psychological abuse is often associated with situations of power imbalance in abusive relationships, a spouse can use psychological abuse to gain and keep control of their partner, and as a result, the victim can stay in the abusive situation because they have been stripped of self-esteem and self-confidence, thus believing they cannot survive without this toxic relationship or lacking the confidence to escape.
Psychological abuse leaves no physical signs, such as bruises, but may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Although this kind of abuse is against the law in the UK and parts of Europe, how do you prove a crime that leaves no physical marks and the only witness is the victim?
Psychological abuse can happen in everyday life and be overlooked because the actions of the abuser seem to be just commonplace behavior in a toxic society, for example, a mother psychologically abuses the father when she refuses to let him see his child or makes it difficult to see his child, in one action she causes trauma to both father and child. A husband psychologically abuses his wife when he mentally forces her to do his will without physical violence. An employer can psychologically abuse their staff if the staff are constantly in threat of losing their job.
Here are seven signs of Psychological abuse
- Being constantly criticized: If someone constantly critiques you and has no good thing to say about you. You never quite measure up. You speak with the wrong tone of voice. You are often compared with other people and asked why you cannot be more like this person or that person.
- Being intentionally humiliated: In public, you are the butt of the joke, you can see in the look of people’s eyes they do not respect you, they have heard stories about you as the abuser will make every effort to tear down your reputation behind your back. When you confront your abuser about the things they say and do in public they will convince you it is all in your mind.
- Being intimidated: This does not necessarily mean the threat of physical violence, you could be intimidated by the threat of eviction, in the case of a woman who does not give her landlord sexual favors. The threat of unemployment,
- Being Isolated, and cut off from family and peers: An abusive person will want to control and dominate you. They will throw a tantrum if you plan to visit friends or family. They will make up reasons why you should no longer talk with, see or hang out with certain individuals.
- Being rejected: A psychological abuser will reject you to hurt you, if you are in a romantic relationship they will always threaten to end it to provoke a reaction. They will give you the cold shoulder and stop speaking with you, or give you the silent treatment.
- Feeling Used: An abuser will not value your time, energy, or effort, yet will demand you be at their beck and call. An abuser will have a sense of entitlement, they have the attitude that you should feel grateful they have asked you for a favor.
- Feeling controlled and manipulated: The psychological abuser will use guilt-tripping to force you to do things against your will.
Knowing and recognizing the signs of psychological abuse is the first step to helping yourself if you are in an abusive relationship. Finding a professional therapist or counselor can help restore and repair your mind from the emotional trauma suffered by the psychologically abusive person.