Emotional abuse is hard to talk about, but it’s a discussion worth having. Emotional health is a key component of overall health and well-being. If you personally have not experienced emotional abuse, there’s a good chance that someone you’re close to — a friend, neighbor, sibling, co-worker — has experienced it in the past or is dealing with it now.
Domestic abuse isn’t just a private, personal matter — it can be just as pervasive in our workplaces, schools and neighborhoods.
It’s not limited to romantically involved partners. It can happen in a variety of relationships — between child and parent or boss and employee, for example. Victims of emotional abuse react in a variety of ways, experiencing everything from fear and anxiety to anger.
In episode 25, host Mark Gomez, MD, and his guests, Gillian Schmitz, MDE, FACEP, and Jason Morris, PsyD, CDP, explain the behavior associated with emotional abuse, how to recognize the signs of emotional abuse in someone who is a victim, and identify key resources to help people break free from it.
Get help for domestic violence. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE, or the National Mental Health Hotline (Dial 988).
Myths vs. Facts
“Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.” - Fact
We all have something unique to add to the world. To have someone suppress that isn’t fair or right.
“Research indicates that the consequences of emotional abuse are just as severe as those from physical abuse.” - Fact
It can be even more devastating because of the long-term consequences and difficulty in identifying it. Emotional abuse is every bit as important and sometimes worse than physical abuse.
“While the reasons for emotional abuse are complex, most experts believe it is rooted in unresolved childhood trauma.” - Fact
Growing into an abuser is a long-term process, and that experience impacts someone’s entire outlook.
“If a victim doesn’t leave, then it must not be that bad or they are okay with how they are being treated.” - Myth
This is frequently misunderstood. People want to believe it, but emotional abuse affect’s someone’s decision making and perception of reality. It can be much worse than it appears on the surface. The victim may stay because they still love the person, it may be unsafe to leave, or there are other people or children involved that is making it difficult for them to leave.
“Emotional abuse can even impact friendships because emotionally abused people often worry about how people truly see them and if they truly like them.” - Fact
When we think about how the abuser will isolate an individual, demean them and erode their self-worth, it’s easy for the victim to see themselves in a negative light in all situations. They easily come up with that opinion of themselves.
“Abuse can only be found in low-income, uneducated individuals.” - Myth
Emotional and physical abuse transcends all socioeconomic levels, race and gender. It’s prevalent throughout.
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