When most people hear the word abuse, they usually imagine someone being beaten up with bruises and scars all over. And while this classifies under physical abuse, there are also other forms of abuse that tend to go unnoticed because they cannot be seen as easily. Unlike physical abuse, emotional and psychological abuse can sometimes go unnoticed. And that is exactly why more should be done to shed light on these forms of abuse.
But what is emotional/mental and psychological abuse really?
In short, emotional abuse occurs when a person uses emotions to mistreat or abuse another, whereas psychological abuse occurs when a person is subjected to different forms of mistreatment and manipulation by using words and social ways. While both are similar, it is important to point out that the former focuses on emotions, while the later impacts the way a person thinks.
It is also reported that both kinds of abuse follow the “grooming” approach, in which abusers tend to use kindness to lure people in and then slowly start turning on them. By being continuously subjected to emotional or psychological abuse, a person’s self-esteem and mental health will be negatively affected. With lowered self-esteem also comes self-doubt which is one of the things that abusers feed upon. This way abusers can control and manipulate others. And the problem with these kinds of abuse is that they are very difficult to see.
Not only do these kinds of abuse impact the mental wellbeing of people, but 88% of practitioners say that psychological abuse can be as damaging if not more than physical abuse. Furthermore, a study reports that emotional abuse can cause more despair than physical abuse, which might eventually lead to depression. Emotional abuse does not only affect our mental health negatively, but it can also lead to other illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.
Even though emotional and psychological abuse is usually done in a manipulative and subtle way, there are still some red flags that can help us recognize it. Here are some of these signs:
- Belittles you and your achievements
- Uses emotional blackmail to manipulate you and make you feel guilty
- Controlling and monitoring you excessively
- Verbal abuse and name calling
- Look down on you and treat you like an inferior
When a person is emotionally or psychologically abused, they usually feel trapped and yet feel afraid of leaving. People who are being abused live in a vicious cycle and they believe they cannot escape. Whether in romantic relationships, friendships or between family members, it can seem impossible to escape the abuse. And that is precisely why more should be done to shed light on how we can recognize the patterns of emotional and psychological abuse.
With knowledge and awareness comes power! And that is why it is imperative that we speak up about emotional and psychological abuse.
Ultimately, regardless of whether it is physical, emotional or psychological, abuse is abuse and it is a direct violation of human rights.
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