How to Recognize the Signs of Verbal/Emotional Abuse

How to Recognize the Signs of Verbal/Emotional Abuse

We all have friends who share with us problems they are having in relationships. When should you suggest professional help or intervention? If they describe any of the following tactics often used by abusers:

  • Public embarrassment including yelling, comments about physical appearance calculated to intimate or humiliate;
  • Threats to reveal an embarrassing “secret” (emotional blackmail);
  • Forced or coerced sexual behaviors;
  • Stalking behavior with letters, phone calls, text messages, e-mails, or surveillance;
  • Threatening suicide if they leave;
  • Isolating them from friends and family;
  • Using technology (cell phones social media) to threaten, intimidate, and control their actions; and/or
  • Controlling what they wear or their overall appearance to suit the abusers “ideal”.

Emotional abuse can quickly escalate to physical abuse. A relationship can be abusive and unhealthy without physical abuse. Loss of self esteem, depression, and feelings of worthlessness are common results. Reassure your friend that emotional abuse is NEVER their fault. Tell them help and healing are available. They are worth it.

For more information, please see The National Center for Victims of Crime for more information:

Author: Tahira Khan Merritt, Esq.

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