Emotional Abuse

Psychological or emotional abuse involves trauma to the victim caused by acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics.

Examples of emotional abuse 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 (e.g., less smart, less attractive)
  • Deliberately doing something that makes the victim feel embarrassed
  • Using money that is the victim’s
  • Taking advantage of the victim
  • Disregarding what the victim wants
  • Isolating the victim from friends or family
  • Prohibiting access to transportation or telephone
  • Getting the victim to engage in illegal activities
  • Using the victim’s children to control victim’s behavior
  • Threatening loss of custody of children
  • Smashing objects or destroying property
  • Denying the victim access to money or other basic resources
  • Disclosing information that would tarnish the victim’s reputation

This list is not exhaustive. Other behaviors may be considered emotionally abusive if they are perceived as such by the victim. Additionally, all victims may not perceive some of the behaviors on the list as psychologically or emotionally abusive.