Psychological abuse is a type of abuse that can cause profound harm to the victim’s mental health. It is often subtle, insidious, and difficult to identify, but it can have serious consequences for the person’s emotional well-being and self-esteem. Unfortunately, psychological abuse is far too common in relationships and families, and individuals often don’t realize they are being abused until it is too late. To understand why this type of abuse is so damaging, let's take a look at some of the ways psychological abusers use tactics to manipulate others.
Manipulation Tactics Used by Abusers
One of the most common tactics used by abusers is gaslighting—a technique used to make a person doubt their own perceptions or reality. Abusers may deny that an incident occurred or they may question the person’s interpretation of events. This can be incredibly damaging because it makes a person feel like they cannot trust their own judgment or instincts.
Another tactic commonly used by abusers is emotional blackmail. This involves threatening behaviors such as withholding affection or making threats about ending the relationship if the individual does not do what the abuser wants them to do. This can lead to feelings of guilt and shame in a person because they will often give in just to keep the peace in order to avoid conflict with their abuser.
Finally, abusers may also use verbal attacks as a way to control a person. Words like "lazy", "stupid", or "useless" can be extremely damaging to someone's sense of worth and identity, leading them to feel powerless and unable to fight back against their abuser's manipulation techniques.
The Effects of Psychological Abuse
Psychological abuse has a devastating impact on a person. It can lead to feelings of helplessness, fear, anxiety, low self-esteem, depression and even suicidal thoughts. In extreme cases, it can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A person may experience difficulty trusting others or forming relationships with others due to the psychological damage they have endured. They may also suffer from physical ailments such as chronic headaches or stomach aches as a result of their emotional distress.
Signs of Psychological Abuse
Psychological abuse can manifest in many different ways. It often goes unnoticed because it isn’t physical violence and so is not as easy to spot.
Some signs include:
Making jokes at your expense
Manipulating you with guilt or shame tactics
Controlling who you talk to and where you go
Constant criticism and belittling remarks
Isolating you from friends and family
Gaslighting (making you doubt your own memory or perception)
The effects of psychological abuse can be just as severe as those caused by physical or sexual abuse. The impact on a person includes low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, fearfulness, confusion, helplessness, and difficulty making decisions. There are also long-term effects such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can last for years after the relationship has ended.
Psychological abuse has long-term effects on a person that can have devastating consequences for their mental health and overall well-being. If you are in a situation where you believe you may be a victim of psychological abuse, it is important that you seek help from one of our professional counselors or therapists who can provide support, assistance in dealing with your abuser’s manipulative tactics, and coping techniques to deal with the deep emotional effects.
Remember – no one deserves to be treated this way!
You have a right to be respected and treated with dignity regardless of your relationship status or situation. Do not hesitate to reach out to us for help!