Psychological abuse. What it is and when to ask for help.

Much is said about physical abuse but little about psychological abuse. Something equally common but often undervalued. Psychological abuse is a form of mistreatment that substitutes physical for emotional, verbal, and mental means.

This abuse can be difficult to detect, as the symptoms may be hard to identify and often go unnoticed. It’s often a method used by one person to gain power over another. It can include verbal threats, insults, intimidation, humiliation, and manipulation.

Psychological abuse is not limited to a single individual but it is common in relationships where one partner wants control over the other. Such relationships are often characterized by power struggles.

A victim of psychological abuse may experience a loss of self-esteem and self-confidence. This can lead to depression and sometimes even suicide if left untreated. It is important that victims of psychological abuse seek the help of medical associations if they are experiencing any of these symptoms or if they feel their situation is getting out of hand. In some cases, it may be necessary for them to separate from their abuser in order for them to regain their sense of self-worth and confidence in themselves.

How to detect psychological abuse within the family circle?

  • Feelings that your family members are not being supportive.
  • Feelings that your family members are always putting you down.
  • Being always compared to other family members as if you do not measure up.
  • Your opinion is rarely considered when it comes to making important decisions.
  • You often find yourself apologizing for things that aren’t your fault.
  • You feel like you must walk on eggshells when dealing with your family members in order to avoid an argument or negative reactions.
  • Your parent/sibling/husband/wife constantly blames you for things that go wrong in the day-to-day life of the household, as if it is your fault and no one else’s.
  • Your parent/sibling/husband/wife yells and screams at you, or gets very angry and threatens violently on a regular basis (even though if they have never hit you).
  • Your parent/sibling/husband/wife tells you that they will hurt themselves or commit suicide if you leave them or don’t do what they want (even though they have never threatened with self-harm before).
  • Your parent/sibling criticizes everything about who you are and how you live your life (friends, appearance, education, career choice, etc.).
  • Your parent constantly puts down what he or she did when he or she was young as

If you detect any of these patterns, it is important that you seek the help of a non-profit organization for mental health as soon as possible.

What are the effects of psychological abuse?

Psychological abuse can have long-term effects on an individual’s relationships, self-esteem, and overall emotional well-being. Victims of psychological abuse can often develop anxiety disorders, depression, and low self-esteem as a result of their exposure to abusive behavior within the family circle. In addition to these symptoms, victims of psychological abuse can also experience difficulties in their professional lives. If they are employed in a job where there is a lot of pressure, they may be unable to perform up to standards because they do not have the confidence in themselves that they once had.

Why is it important to see a psychologist or psychiatrist?

People who have been abused often develop patterns of emotional dependency or insecurity. This makes the treatment of this type of case require specific particularities. Attitudes such as the fear of being abandoned or the perception of not being valid on their own are additional complications. Therefore, the therapist will have to solve the underlying problem, the trauma, but also many other causes.

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