What is Emotional Abuse?


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Any behaviour exhibited to control a person through the fear, humiliation, and verbal or physical acts. Emotional abuse is abuse that is emotional rather than physical in nature and includes verbal abuse ,criticism, ridicule, intimidation, manipulation, and refusal to ever be pleased.

Emotional abuse can be construed like brain washing, dragging the individual down, and eradicating their self confidence, self worth and belief in themselves. Gradually the victim of the abuse loses their self confidence and worth. Emotional abuse gets to the inner subconscious core of a person leaving deeper scars than physical ones.

Types of Emotional Abuse


Includes name-calling, accusing, blaming controlling, threatening, and ordering. Aggressing behaviours are generally direct and obvious. This parent-to-child pattern of communication is most obvious when the abuser takes an aggressive stance.

Aggressive abuse can be disguised as “helping.” Criticizing, advising, offering solutions, analysing, probing, and questioning. With the effect of control rather than help.


Invalidating seeks to distort or undermine the recipient’s perceptions of their world. Invalidating occurs when the abuser refuses or fails to acknowledge reality. For example, if the recipient confronts the abuser about an incident of name calling, the abuser may insist, “I never said that,” or  “ you are talking rubbish and imagining things “

Withholding is another form of denying. Withholding includes refusing to listen, refusing to communicate, and emotionally withdrawing as punishment. This is sometimes called the “silent treatment.”


The abuser may not deny that a particular situation has occurred, but they question the victims emotional understanding and experience to an event. Stating “You’re over sensitive,”” or “You’re blowing this out of perspective” all suggest that the victims emotions and thoughts are not to be trusted.

Both denying and minimising reduces self-esteem and creating conflict and can lead you to question and mistrust your own intuition, perceptions and emotional experience and understanding.

Understanding Emotional Abusive Relationships

No one intends to be in an abusive relationship, but individuals who were verbally abused by a parent or other significant person may find themselves in similar situations as an adult.

Victims of abuse may struggle with feelings of hopelessness, losing all power and be fearful. Ironically, abusers tend to struggle with these same feelings. Abusers may have been raised in emotionally abusive lives and learn to be abusive as a coping mechanism as they themselves feel with powerlessness, fearful and hurt. Abusers may be attracted to people who see themselves as helpless or who do not value their own feelings or views. Allowing the abuser to feel in control, and not dealing with theirown feelings.

Understanding the pattern of your relationships, especially those with family members and other significant people, is a first step toward change. Acknowledging and knowing yourself and understanding your past can prevent abuse from being recreated in your life.

Basic Rights in a healthy relationship

If you have been involved in emotionally abusive relationships, you may not have a clear idea of what a healthy relationship is like

The right to emotional support.

  • The right to be heard by the other and respected.
  • The right to have your own view.
  • The right to have your feelings
  • The right to live free from criticism and judgment.
  • The right to encouragement.
  • The right to live free from emotional and physical threat.
  • The right to be called by no name that devalues you.
  • The right to be respectfully asked rather than ordered.

How can you benefit from Simply Therapy Psychotherapy support

Simply Therapy can help you understand the impact of an emotionally abusive relationship and help you learn healthier ways of relating to others, safeguarding, protecting and caring for your own needs and emotions.

At Simply Therapy, I will provide a tailor made service that is unique to your needs and will be non judgmental, listen to you, support you all the way in dealing with your issues, exploring your feelings. As a result you will be enabled, empowered where we will discuss and analyse the most effective way of managing the concerns you have helping you to put n place effective solutions so you will regain control over your life and your troubles and be able to move on positively and grow as an individual .

With Simply Therapy Counselling and Psychotherapy I am passionate and driven in making a difference to people’s lives and have over 20 years experience in improving individuals lives and enabling them to lead enriched and fulfilled lives.

If you would like to find out more information please visit our website: www.simplytherapy.co.uk or email info @simplytherapy.co.uk or call on 0161 2985 999

Simply Therapy, Ela Mill Business Complex, Bury, Greater Manchester, BL9 7DU, with an office in Greater Manchester and Rossendale, Lancashire