When people think of abuse they typically only think of physical or sexual abuse. While these are both egregious acts, other types of abuse can inflict just as much damage yet are much harder to identify. Here are a few examples of abuse that often go overlooked.
Verbal abuse will cause the abused person to remain in a state of fear. Even when the abuser is kind or expresses love, an abused person expects it to be short-lived and is anticipating further abuse. This fear can cause a person to constantly search for clues that they may have upset their abuser. Children who grow up facing verbal abuse will often turn to substance abuse, physical aggression, and may find themselves to be abusive in future relationships.
If the verbal abuse is not addressed the psychological effects can lead to fear and anxiety, depression, PTSD, anger issues, and may even lead to self-mutilation or suicide. While the old rhyme may say “words will never hurt me”, anyone who has endured verbal abuse knows that couldn’t be any further from the truth.
Emotional abuse can include any acts of confinement, isolation, humiliation, verbal assault or intimidation. Examples of emotional abuse could be threatening, intimidating, humiliating, or exclusion. Many victims of emotional abuse may suffer from abandonment issues and their abusers will prey on those issues.
Abusers may use regular threats of abandonment to get their way. Because emotional abuse shows no physical scars many people will disregard it as not a real problem and a case of a victim who is just “too sensitive”. This is where emotional abuse can gain a large portion of its strength. Abuse is often about control and by being able to force their will without any fear of retribution emotional abuse can give abusers plenty of the control they desire.
Psychological abuse can be harder to distinguish because it is based on deception. Many cases of psychological abuse could also be considered emotional abuse such as intimidation and threatening. Another example of psychological abuse is when an abuser intentionally causes their victim to begin questioning their sanity.
Psychological abusers will often play out long and elaborate lies for the sole purpose of making their victim feel unsure of themselves. Abusers may even find ways to make their victims sound crazy should they attempt to talk to someone about their problems.
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