Emotional abuse is often difficult to identify as there are no visible marks or injuries left on the victim. This form of abuse often allows the abuser to gain power over the other through demeaning words and gestures. Generally, emotional abuse can be put into three categories.
- Aggressive: This can include name-calling, blaming, accusing, and making threats or destructive criticism.
- Denying: This can include manipulation, neglecting, withholding affection.
- Minimising: This can include belittling the victim's feelings or thoughts, isolation or accusing them of exaggerating.
It's important to remember that conflict, arguments and criticism are all healthy ways of interacting with others - but there is a clear difference between this and emotional abuse: the way we feel.