What Is Emotional Abuse?

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What Is Emotional Abuse?

We’ve all seen how much of an impact abuse can have on mental health. However, when you hear the word ‘abuse’ what does it make you think of? Most people’s minds will go straight to the physical aspect of abuse rather than the emotional aspect of it. The truth is, much of the time abuse isn’t physical, but this does not make it any less impactful. This is because emotional abuse may be going on without the victim even realizing it.


What Is Emotional Abuse?

Emotional abuse can be caused by anyone. Parents, spouses or even friends and siblings can be the perpetrator of this abuse. It comes in many different forms; neglect, verbal and rejection are different forms of emotional abuse that have different effects on the victim. However, all forms of this abuse can lead to detrimental mental effects down the road.

The similarity between all forms of emotional abuse is the fact that much of the time it is not seen. Unlike physical abuse, emotional abuse can’t leave scars. This makes it so that it’s hard to see when the abuse is taking place, even to the victim.

For example, one form of emotional abuse is rejection. Rejection is when the abuser often times doesn’t even acknowledge the presence of the victim. If the victim achieves something, the abuser will act disinterested, and downplay their achievement. Often times they’ll lower their value, calling the victim useless or not worth their time. Often times, the victim will blame themselves for this. They’ll feel like it is their fault that they’re getting treated like this as if they did something wrong to deserve it. However, this is NEVER the case.


Lasting Impacts 

Don’t be mistaken – emotional abuse is often as detrimental as physical abuse. Just because you can’t see visible scars doesn’t mean that the abuse hurts any less. Often times the abuse will cause a slew of future mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Sometimes, these problems end in suicide. Emotional abuse is not something that can just be brushed off. It’s not something that someone can just get over. It will leave lasting scars on the inside and leads to a very hard life.

Fortunately, there is help. Counseling can have a positive effect on people who have gone through or are currently experiencing the effects of emotional abuse. Even something as simple as consoling a friend or family member can be helpful to victims of emotional abuse, as having an outlet to voice their issues can show them that people really do care for them, and they are important.


If you or someone you know is suffering from emotional abuse, know that the battle does not need to be fought alone. There is help for the people who need it. Know that abuse is never warranted, both in physical or emotional form. If you or someone you know needs help, Holy Cross can be there for you.


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