Psychological abuse is widely overlooked and often goes unidentified, despite the fact that it is the most common form of intimate partner violence. Psychological abuse causes long-term damage to a victim’s mental health and subtle, psychological abuse has been shown to be more harmful than overt psychological abuse or direct aggression. Psychological abuse is also an important indicator of physical violence and it is often a precursor to physical abuse.
The shame and loneliness from this type of abuse can be overwhelming, leading to further isolation. Lower self-esteem, diminished sense of worth, inadequacy and shame are all associated with psychological abuse. Because psychological abuse can be so subtle, it often goes unidentified leaving its victims more isolated and vulnerable to PTSD, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, sleep disturbances, substance abuse and physical symptoms like chronic pain and irritable bowel syndrome.
It’s not always easy to know if what you are experiencing is psychological abuse, especially if the more overt forms of abuse are not occurring in your relationship. Please click here for a list of warning signs and symptoms.