Switch headers Switch to TIGweb.org

Are you an TIG Member?
Click here to switch to TIGweb.org

HomeHomeExpress YourselfPanoramaWhat is Emotional Abuse?
a TakingITGlobal online publication

(Advanced Search)

Panorama Home
Issue Archive
Current Issue
Next Issue
Featured Writer
TIG Magazine
Short Story
My Content
What is Emotional Abuse? Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by melanie mae, United States Oct 27, 2005
Health   Opinions


Emotional abuse happens when someone insults, humiliates, or uses "mind-games" to control another person.

It can happen to people in all income, education and ethnic groups. It can happen in same-sex as well as mixed relationships. It can happen between adults and children, adults and the elderly and couples. It can happen between roommates, between an employer and an employee, it can happen to anyone.

Emotional abuse doesn't always lead to physical violence. Almost all physical or sexual abuse includes emotional abuse. Studies have found that emotional abuse may occur in over 20% of all relationships.

Abuse isn't equal. Every couple disagrees at times but there is a big difference between arguing and abuse. In an argument, each partner is able to state his or her feelings or opinions. An abusive partner blames or puts down the other person.


The abused person winds up backing down or tries to "fix" the abuser's feelings. Emotional abuse is hard to recognize. The abused person may not even realize its happening and this can make it hard to take steps to stop it. The abused blames her or himself and believes that the partner's actions are signs of love. The longer the abuse goes on the more harmful it can be. The individual begins to question his or her own perceptions or feelings and often tries to explain what he or she meant. The abused will change how he or she acts to avoid making the partner angry.

Emotional abuse is a strong risk factor for physical or sexual abuse. It can also cause stress, depression and a loss of self-esteem. This type of abuse can lead to chronic headaches, fatigue, eating disorders; create isolation and alcohol and other drug use. A person may give up school, a job or other life goals.

-Don't blame yourself. You do not cause the abuse. It's the other person's fault, not yours.
-Refuse to be abused. Leave the area if you are being treated badly. Tell the person to Stop! Don't excuse your partner's anger when they call you "stupid."
-Think about leaving. You may decide it is time to end the relationship for your own well-being.
-Think about your safety and plan ways to be safe.
-Find a safe place. Call a crisis hotline or a women's shelter for advice.
-Seek help. Talk to trusted friends, family, or your health care provider. Look in the phone book for resources. Check the self-help section in bookstores, or search the Internet.

Not everyone understands emotional abuse. Keep looking until you find help that works for you.

-The abuser makes all the decisions.
-Acts very possessive.
-Needs to win every argument.
-May demand sex after an argument to
-Discounts feelings and views.
-Says the partner's opinions are "stupid."
-Says the partner is "too sensitive" if he or she complains.
-May be tender one moment and mad the next.
-Uses threat or physical force.
-May be reckless with alcohol, or other drugs or driving.

If the descriptions of an abusive partner might fit you: take responsibility. Your partner does not make you act this way. Feeling angry or frustrated is not an excuse. Being abusive is wrong, no matter what.

Stop the abuse. Do whatever you need to do so you won't act abusive. If you are losing control of what you say, stop. "Take a break" from the relationship until you can stop your actions.

Get help, talk to your health care provider. See a counselor. Learn to act in different ways.



You must be logged in to add tags.

Writer Profile
melanie mae

This user has not written anything in his panorama profile yet.
You must be a TakingITGlobal member to post a comment. Sign up for free or login.