Prevent men’s violence against women

Emotional abuse

What is emotional abuse?

You can experience abuse and violence without being physically hurt. Emotional abuse does not leave physical scars but it can have a big impact on a person’s mental health and wellbeing. Someone experiencing emotional abuse can feel anxious, depressed and even suicidal.

Perpetrators of emotional abuse use it to take away a person’s independence, confidence and self-esteem. This helps the perpetrator maintain power and control in the relationship. Physically abusive relationships often include aspects of emotional abuse.

Signs of emotional abuse

Because emotional abuse is non-physical, the signs of emotional abuse can be difficult to identify. Emotional abuse includes:

  • blaming a partner for all the problems in a relationship
  • constantly comparing them with others to undermine their self-esteem and self-worth
  • usually being in a bad mood
  • intentionally embarrassing them in public
  • name calling
  • yelling, insulting or swearing at them
  • controlling a woman’s finances
  • telling them what to wear
  • preventing them from seeing her friends and family
  • stalking
  • threatening suicide
  • making them feel guilty when she refuses sex
  • threatening to report her immigration status
  • online humiliation and intimidation.

Impact of emotional abuse

Someone experiencing emotional abuse can start to believe that what the perpetrator says about them is true. They may also blame themselves for the abuse.

The constant criticism lowers their self-esteem and confidence, making it very difficult to leave the abusive relationship.

Learn more about the other types of abuse.

What to do if you’re experiencing emotional abuse

If you are in an abusive relationship, you can find help now.


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