Do you remember the childhood rhyme “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? This lie has taught many of us to believe, “If I’m not being hit or kicked, if I don’t have bruises or cuts, I can’t be a victim of domestic abuse.” And many people will stay in an unhealthy relationship just because their partner “never laid a hand on them.” But sometimes the most damaging abuse isn’t physical, it’s emotional.
Emotional abuse is a way to control a person by using their emotions to criticize, blame, or otherwise manipulate them. It can include insults, put downs, or other tactics that make them feel threatened, ashamed, or degraded. Emotional abuse comes in many different forms and can chip away at someone’s self-esteem, often making them doubt their perceptions and reality. And this abuse can be difficult to recognize because they have often been “tricked” into believing they are not being abused.
Despite the lack of bruises and blood, emotional abuse is just as lasting and damaging as physical abuse because it sends the victim crippling messages about his or her own power and value as a human being. The trauma from this abuse often results in anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. This month, we will be looking at different forms of emotional abuse, such as gaslighting, emotional blackmail, love bombing, and negging. Please check out our social media platforms and website.
If you or someone you love is being impacted by emotional abuse, we can help. Call our 24/7/365 resource hotline at 334-263-0218. (Collect calls are accepted)