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What are the signs of emotional abuse?

On Behalf of | Jul 16, 2021 | Domestic Violence |

Individuals who cope with domestic abuse go through a variety of problems, but what happens when the mistreatment is not always obvious? While most think of domestic violence as physical, emotional abuse is often just as rampant or may take place at the same time.

Web MD notes that there are many different types of abuse; however, most of this behavior intimidates and controls one’s partner. Learning to recognize the signs of emotional abuse may help those in unhealthy relationships understand when to seek help.


Name-calling is one type of emotional abuse a person may employ to make their partner feel small or to reduce their self-esteem. Over time, the individual on the receiving end of these names may start to believe the content of the disparaging words, which are usually aimed at perceived mental and physical shortcomings, such as:

  • Physical weight or body shape
  • A lack of intelligence or education
  • Shaming of hobbies or employment status

The one who uses name-calling may also defend his or her behavior by saying the names are jokes or that it is simply how they express affection. In reality, these names are usually a tool to make the target feel worthless.

Threatening self-harm

Some individuals who practice emotional abuse might threaten to harm themselves if their partner tries to leave or divorce them. This is a tactic that controls the partner, who may feel guilty or helpless over the threats. The threats may even feel more realistic if the one making them has a history of mental illness, such as depression.

In many cases, disabled individuals and minorities experience emotional abuse most often. As such, they may want to watch carefully for the signs listed above and take action as soon as the mistreatment begins.