Get the facts: Psychological or emotional abuse of adults


Psychological Abuse or emotional abuse:     Did you know?

Psychological abuse is common but often less obvious than some other types of abuse and people may live with it for a long time without getting help. It can affect your inner thoughts and feelings as well as exert control over your life and may negatively impact on close relationships, friendships and even how you feel about yourself. The aim of the perpetrator of emotional abuse in relationships is to reduce confidence and esteem in order to make their victim increasingly reliant on them.

Types of psychological or emotional abuse:

  • Enforced social isolation – preventing someone accessing services, educational and social opportunities and seeing friends
  • Removing mobility or communication aids or intentionally leaving someone unattended when they need assistance
  • Preventing someone from meeting their religious and cultural needs
  • Preventing the expression of choice and opinion
  • Failure to respect privacy
  • Preventing stimulation, meaningful occupation or activities
  • Intimidation, coercion, harassment, use of threats, humiliation, bullying, swearing or verbal abuse
  • Addressing a person in a patronising or infantilising way
  • Threats of harm or abandonment
  • Cyber bullying Possible indicators of psychological or emotional abuse:
  • An air of silence when a particular person is present
  • Withdrawal or change in the psychological state of the person
  • Insomnia
  • Low self-esteem
  • Uncooperative and aggressive behaviour
  • A change of appetite, weight loss/gain
  • Signs of distress: tearfulness, anger
  • Apparent false claims by someone involved with the person, to attract unnecessary treatment It is important to remember that psychological abuse is not the victim’s fault and that no one deserves to be abused.