24 Hour Crisis Resource Hotline 334.263.0218

Hidden Scars: The Impact of Emotional Abuse

“Emotional abuse doesn’t just hurt your feelings; it can wreak havoc on your physical and mental health. From overwhelming shame and a sense of worthlessness to crippling anxiety, insomnia, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the effects can be profound and long-lasting.” 

One of the hardest stereotypes of domestic/family violence to break is the idea that the most severe injuries stem from physical abuse. The injuries inflicted by emotional abuse, however, often prove more devastating, and can have a lasting impact on your health and well-being.

Emotional abuse is a pattern of behavior designed to control, manipulate, or demean you. It can take various forms, but the end goal remains consistent – manipulation or gaining control over you. It’s akin to brainwashing, where the abuser manipulates your feelings and self-worth to establish dominance. This insidious form of abuse is a favored tool because it leaves no visible scars or bruises, making it challenging to identify and confront.

Signs of emotional abuse to watch out for include:

  • Gaslighting: Manipulating you into questioning your own reality and sanity.
  • Emotional blackmail: When someone uses your feelings as a way to control your behavior or persuade you to see things their way.
  • Silent treatment: Ignoring or avoiding communication to control or punish you.
  • Isolation: When someone intentionally severs your ties with loved ones, restricting your social circle and fostering dependence.
  • Love bombing: when someone bombards a person with affection, intense emotions, and an excess of their time and energy.
  • Degradation or Name-calling
  • Threats of physical or sexual abuse

Emotional abuse can take as much of a toll on your health as physical abuse, especially if left untreated. And that’s all too common for survivors of domestic violence who can’t access treatment during the relationship to choose to keep their experiences hidden due to guilt, shame or some other reason. Left untreated, emotional abuse can lead to

  • Feelings of worthlessness, low self-esteem
  • Inability to trust self and others
  • Anxiety, Depression, and feelings of hopelessness
  • Digestion issues, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and heart disease
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic headaches, back aches and body pains
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts and inflicting self-harm

Remember, “Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words can break my heart.” Emotional abuse is just as destructive as physical abuse, and its effects can linger long after the abuse has ended. This makes it challenging for you to trust yourself to make good decisions and others to form healthy relationships in the future. Understand that emotional abuse is domestic abuse, and it is never your fault. If you are concerned that you or someone you love is experiencing emotional abuse, there is help available. 334-263-0218 (collect calls accepted) or 800-650-6522.

Further resources about emotional abuse:

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You can leave this website quickly by clicking the orange “click to escape” in the left right corner or by pressing the Escape key twice.

Family Sunshine Center wants you to know that your browser history may be monitored without your knowledge. Remember to clear your browser history after visiting this website.

Need Help? Call us at 334.263.0218
(collect calls accepted)