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Types of Abuse

Following are types of emotional abuse:

DOMINATION: Someone wants to control your every action. They have to have their own way, and will resort to threats to get it. When you allow someone else to dominate you, you can lose respect for yourself.

VERBAL ASSAULTS: berating, belittling, criticizing, name calling, screaming, threatening, excessive blaming, and using sarcasm and humiliation. Blowing your flaws out of proportion and making fun of you in front of others. Over time, this type of abuse erodes your sense of self confidence and self-worth.

ABUSIVE EXPECTATIONS: The other person places unreasonable demands on you and wants you to put everything else aside to tend to their needs. It could be a demand for constant attention, frequent sex, or a requirement that you spend all your free time with the person. But no matter how much you give, it's never enough. You are subjected to constant criticism, and you are constantly berated because you don't fulfill all this person's needs.

EMOTIONAL BLACKMAIL: The other person plays on your fear, guilt, compassion, values, or other "hot buttons" to get what they want. This could include threats to end the relationship, the "cold shoulder," or use other fear tactics to control you.

UNPREDICTABLE RESPONSES: Drastic mood changes or sudden emotional outbursts. Whenever someone in your life reacts very differently at different times to the same behavior from you, tells you one thing one day and the opposite the next, or likes something you do one day and hates it the next, you are being abused with unpredictable responses. 

This behavior is damaging because it puts you always on edge. You're always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and you can never know what's expected of you. You must remain hypervigilant, waiting for the other person's next outburst or change of mood.
An alcoholic or drug abuser is likely to act this way. Living with someone like this is tremendously demanding and anxiety provoking, causing the abused person to feel constantly frightened, unsettled and off balance.

GASLIGHTING: The other person may deny that certain events occurred or that certain things were said. You know differently. The other person may deny your perceptions, memory and very sanity.

CONSTANT CHAOS: The other person may deliberately start arguments and be in constant conflict with others. The person may be "addicted to drama" since it creates excitement.


Verbal abuse is usually hidden. It takes a long time to recover. It is very traumatizing. It can go on for the length of a long relationship without becoming physical. Also, it precedes and is part of physically abusive and threatening relationships--ones where a person is hit, pushed, shoved, or witnesses demonstrations of violence. Verbal abuse is like mind control that the victim may doubt her sanity.


VERBAL AND NON-VERBAL ABUSE of a spouse or intimate partner may include:

• threatening or intimidating to gain compliance

• destruction of the victim’s personal property and possessions, or threats to do so

• violence to an object (such as a wall or piece of furniture) or pet, in the presence of the intended

   victim, as a way of instilling fear of further violence

• yelling or screaming

• name-calling

• constant harassment

• embarrassment, making fun of, or mocking the victim, either alone within the household, in public, or

   in front of family or friends

• criticizing or diminishing the victim’s accomplishments or goals

• not trusting the victim’s decision-making

• telling the victim that they are worthless on their own,

• excessive possessiveness, isolation from friends and family

• excessive checking-up on the victim to make sure they are at home or where they said they would be

• saying hurtful things while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and using the substance as an

   excuse to say the hurtful things

• blaming the victim for how the abuser acts or feels

• making the victim remain on the premises after a fight, or leaving them somewhere else after a fight,

   just to “teach them a lesson”

• making the victim feel that there is no way out of the relationship

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