Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse includes non-physical behaviours such as threats, insults, constant monitoring or “checking in,” excessive texting, humiliation, intimidation, isolation or stalking.

There are many behaviours that qualify as emotional or verbal abuse, including:

  • Calling you names and putting you down.
  • Yelling and screaming at you.
  • Intentionally embarrassing you in public.
  • Preventing you from seeing or talking with friends and family.
  • Telling you what to do and wear.
  • Damaging your property when they’re angry (throwing objects, punching walls, kicking doors, etc.)
  • Using online communities or cell phones to control, intimidate or humiliate you.
  • Blaming your actions for their abusive or unhealthy behaviour.
  • Accusing you of cheating and often being jealous of your outside relationships.
  • Stalking you.
  • Threatening to commit suicide.
  • Threatening to harm you, your pet or people you care about.
  • Using gaslighting techniques to confuse or manipulate you.  Gaslighting is a very effective form of emotional abuse that causes a victim to question their own feelings, instincts, and sanity, which gives the abusive person a lot of power.
  • Making you feel guilty or immature when you don’t consent to sexual activity.
  • Threatening to expose your secrets.
  • Starting rumours about you.

Is Emotional Abuse Really Abuse?

Verbal abuse may not cause physical damage, but it does cause emotional pain and scarring. Sometimes verbal abuse is so bad that you start believing what the person says. You begin to think you’re stupid, ugly or worthless. Constantly being criticized and told you aren’t good enough causes you to lose confidence and lowers your self-esteem. As a result, you may start to blame yourself for the other person’s abusive behaviour.

Remember: emotional abuse is never your fault. In fact, the person may just be trying to control or manipulate you. Talk to someone you trust, like a parent, friend or teacher, about the situation and make a safety plan.