Physical and sexual abuse can often be seen on the bodies of its victims. Bruises, scars, infections, breaks and fractures are common signs of these kinds of abuses.
Abuse is never okay, no matter what the circumstances. It can cause profound negative effects that can last a lifetime.
Another abuse that's possibly less talked about is psychological abuse, also called emotional or verbal abuse.
This is an invisible infliction. There is no physical evidence, no broken bones, no broken furniture. Yet broken minds and spirits are the side effects that many American men, women and children suffer from due to psychological abuse.
Most relationships start off very well, with kindness, fun, romance and commitment. But as time progresses, and people get more invested and even dependent on the relationship, things can sometimes take a turn for the worse.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes psychological abuse as behavior that "involves trauma to the victim caused by acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics."
Some of the ways this is done, accord to the CDC, include:
- Humiliating the victim
- Controlling what the victim can and cannot do
- Withholding information from the victim
- Getting annoyed if the victim disagrees
- Deliberately doing something to make the victim feel diminished
Name-calling, put downs, shouting and physical intimidation (like towering over a person or yelling face-to-face at them) are also signs of psychological abuse.
Women can also be psychological abusers. What may often be called "nagging" their husbands or partners can actually be very emotionally abusive.
Harassing him as soon as he gets home, putting him down, calling him names, and public humiliation is something some women do, and this is classic emotional abuse.
Psychological abuse of children includes cruel words, making them feel worthless. Ignoring them, name-calling, intimidation and threats of violence are all ways that parents or other adults can emotionally abuse a child.
People who are emotionally abused can end up feeling worthless because they have been told they are.