Resources for parents of at-risk and troubled teens.



September 2010

What is Emotional Abuse

by Staff, on at risk blog, at risk youth, emotional abuse, emotional harassment, mental abuse, mental injury, psychological abuse, verbal abuse, What is Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse or also known as psychological abuse, mental abuse, mental injury and verbal abuse includes acts by one or more people that will cause or have caused very serious cognitive, behavioral, mental and emotional disorders in a person. There are too many types of emotional abuse and it can be done by either parents, family members, siblings, friends, even teachers and peers. In most cases emotional abuse is straightforward, like punishing methods used in the name of discipline, locking a child into a closet, bizarre forms of punishment and regular confinement. But in some cases emotional abuse is not something that can be clearly described; here are some examples of emotional abuse:

-    Always correcting someone or countering everything they say and do and pointing out their mistakes and shortcomings
-    Belittling someone or someone’s actions, making the actions or words of a person unimportant and meaningless which directly influences persons self esteem
-    Bad jokes on someone’s account or in other words putting someone down. In most cases those are critical and dismissive remarks presented in a sarcastic way meant to point out a persons weakness, shortcomings and flaws
-    Teasing and Harassing. There are different harassment types; some involve sexual connotations while other fall under malicious harassment and putting someone through ridicule and persistently provoking. That is if one person only teases and harasses another, if the teasing is mutual that can’t be seen as harassment.
-    Changing lanes or shutting down, that is when you suddenly change someone’s topic and interrupt them suddenly and force another discussion onto them.
-    Blame shifting; this is one of the most common types of emotional abuse. It is when a person throws responsibility for something bad to someone else and blames him for everything that went wrong. “It’s your fault”, “If you had listened to me”, “if only you weren’t such a coward” etc…
-    Finding and pointing out flaws in a person and constantly criticizing
-    Intimidation is also one of the common forms of emotional abuse; emotional blackmail also falls under intimidation.
-    Insults, name calling and labeling
-    Selective memory, we all know what that is and we all have selective memory in some situations, but some people do it unconsciously on a more frightening level, that is when a person tends to only remember bad things about someone and negative aspects of something that happened or even altering “facts” in order to shift blame onto someone and make himself look good.
-    Commanding, issuing commands and controlling and dominating someone
-    Lashing out is also emotional abuse, yelling, angry attacks, screaming and raging, all of that can cause major traumas

Most of these examples happen to often, but they are very hard to prove, which is the biggest problem with emotional abuse. The consequences can be seen after a few months or years, but it is hard to recognize emotional abuse if you are not present, as such it is very hard to prevent emotional abuse unless the abused person comes forward and complains, which rarely happens. Staff