At first glance, emotional abuse may not be as obvious as physical abuse. However, its consequences exist, persist and leave consequences even more serious than those of physical violence. However, many find it difficult to classify it as a form of abuse, maltreatment or violence.
As the name implies, emotional abuse is a form of arrogance that one person exerts over another. Among its forms, it is usually characterized by:
- Attitudes, actions and words to humiliate or devalue the other.
- Criticism and disapproval.
- Isolate the other person.
So, as much as physical abuse, emotional abuse is a type of violence and abuse. In this sense, it is an aggression to another person, usually verbal, in which the aggressor uses offensive expressions to humiliate, disapprove or devalue the abused person.
Furthermore, as it is not so evident, it usually extends over time, causing the victim to have low self-esteem and a bad personal image, leading him to believe that the aggressor is right in his statements.
Psychological abuse has no preferences. In fact, it can occur among children, young people, adults or the elderly. Likewise, it is not restricted to a single scope, therefore, it can occur in the family, at work, between couples, friends, etc.
On the other hand, we must keep in mind that there may be witnesses to this type of abuse. Children may witness incidents at home or coworkers may witness a boss treating his employee in a demeaning way. In this sense, the emotional health of witnesses can also be affected.
Effects of Emotional Abuse
The consequences of prolonged emotional abuse are, in many cases, invisible. For this reason, it is very difficult to detect them, even for the person who is abused.
Low self esteem
Low self-esteem can be one of the causes of abuse, but also one of its consequences. In other words, low self-esteem can be a factor that encourages the aggressor to start his abuse and, at the same time, through mistreatment, it limits the abused person’s self-esteem.
In fact, the victim’s weakness is one of the aspects that attract attackers, so they will attack precisely where it hurts the most. The aggressor will constantly repeat that the victim is useless, humiliating and devaluing him. In turn, the victim ends up believing, thus expanding the bond of dependence.
stress and anxiety
People who experience emotional abuse have high levels of stress and anxiety. This is mainly because they can’t see what’s really going on. In fact, they are often not aware that they are being abused and that the offender’s behavior is not normal or acceptable.
As indicated above, the victim has low levels of self-esteem and personal valuation, increased by the abuse of the aggressor. Therefore, on many occasions, she may even blame herself for the abuse. That is, you can justify the abuse by thinking you are to blame for the aggressor’s behavior.
In this sense, the aggressor – especially in couples’ relationships – promotes this feeling of guilt in the victim, which is known as emotional blackmail.
There are cases of abuse where the effects can be even more critical than those mentioned above. Among them, we highlight:
- Depression. Consequence of prolonged abuse and lack of self-esteem.
- Suicidal ideas. This is an extreme case, but unfortunately it exists. Recall the case of some teenagers who were bullied by schoolmates.
- Drug or alcohol abuse. Using these substances can help victims escape reality and ignore emotional abuse, refusing to see the truth.
- Aggressiveness. Accumulated hatred and anger can lead to an aggressive personality. Especially in children, this can become a serious problem in adolescence and adulthood.
- Difficulty maintaining relationships with other people. Abuse, low self-esteem and lack of confidence can lead victims to be unable to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships, preferring emotional ostracism.
For all these reasons, emotional abuse should be considered a type of aggression as harmful as physical abuse. It is necessary to set limits and move away from abusive relationships or people, reporting the situation as soon as possible.
Furthermore, in the case of children and adolescents, it involves the active participation and ability of their parents or guardians to detect the signs, in order to avoid more serious consequences.
In fact, if physical abuse is to be reported, so is emotional abuse. Therefore, in a situation like this, a process and therapy that help the victim to regain self-esteem and self-confidence must be initiated.