Emotional Abuse: The Damaging Long-Term Effects
Emotional abuse occurs in interpersonal relationships as well as in professional relationships. The effects of emotional neglect or mistreatment are extremely damaging to one’s psychological and personal well-being.
It is imperative to identify warning signs and symptoms of emotional abuse from the onset to avoid the long-term effects thereof.
When dealing with emotional manipulation from a parent or an emotionally abusive husband or wife, identifying the signs can be challenging as you may excuse or justify toxic behavior out of love. However, this causes further complications within the relationship as well as individualistically.
It is important to note that emotional violence, whether from childhood experiences or current personal relationships, can cause severe damage. Which is known to complicate and develop into psychological and mental health disorders, such as PTSD, C+ PTSD, depression, and anxiety. These are a mere few challenges as an effect of emotional mistreatment among various others.
BetterHelp online emotional abuse therapists aim to educate, support, and heal those who have been emotionally mistreated at any stage of their lives.
Take note of the mentioned indicators in the following post and ensure that you can identify and recognize indicators of emotional mistreatment.
Long-Term Emotional Child Abuse
Emotional child abuse is common. It happens both intentionally or unintentionally from a parent or caregiver to a child.
Emotional child abuse is reported as one of the most common forms of domestic violence. At times parents or caregivers may not be aware of their emotionally abusive behaviors or actions. This causes deeply rooted stress, fear, anxiety, and an extensive list of psychologically damaging impacts on a child.
When a child is emotionally or physically neglected or abused, it directly affects their development. What this means is that emotionally abusive parents consequently cause a child to develop negative attachment styles such as anxious attachment, avoidant attachment, or dismissive attachment.
Additionally, the effects of emotional child harm make a child predisposed to developing personality disorders, mental health disorders, or stress disorders. In domestic abuse therapy, families and individuals are taught to identify the signs of an emotionally abusive parent, how to understand what emotional child maltreatment is as well as the potential impacts.
What is emotional child abuse? Emotional child abuse is a pattern of negative behaviors and mannerisms that damage a child’s emotional and psychological well-being. Whether in the act of withholding love and affection, or continuous criticism, rejection, or threats.
Emotional child abuse is more challenging to identify as it is more subtle and covert than physical mistreatment. However, emotional child neglect is as damaging, if not more damaging.
Identifying indicators of child abuse as an adult may be a complex, painful and revealing journey.
Think back to your childhood, these are the signs of an emotionally abusive parent;
- Constantly criticizing
- Rejecting the child
- Withholding food or clothes as punishment
- Ridiculing, mocking, or humiliating the child
- Blaming the child for personal problems
- Intentionally causing emotional pain
- Intimidating the child
- Threatening to hurt or abandon the child
- Frequently getting angry
- Dismissing their feelings and ignoring them
- Neglecting the child’s physical and emotional needs
Emotional child abuse is severely damaging to a child’s emotional and psychological development.
The effects of childhood emotional mistreatment from a parent may only arise later during adolescence or adulthood.
As an effect of experiencing emotional abuse from a father or an emotionally abusive mother, you may experience; low self-esteem, distrusting others, anxiety, depression, PTSD symptoms, and various further challenges.
Adult survivors of emotional neglect or ill-treatment commonly ask the question, “Can an emotionally abusive parent change?”.
The reality of emotionally neglectful parents is that most times they are unaware of their toxic and damaging behavior towards a child. Addressing and overcoming emotional child manipulation may require you to confront an emotionally abusive parent about the trauma they’ve caused you.
When confronting and overcoming childhood emotional distress trauma, the option of connecting to a professional abuse therapist can be helpful.
Childhood abuse therapists from BetterHelp offer support, educated and effective advice, as well as guidance on how to overcome and heal from emotional neglect trauma.
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Long Term Effects of Emotional Abuse
The long term effects of emotional abuse are severely damaging. Negatively impacting the psychological, emotional, and physical well-being of the victim.
When someone experiences emotional mistreatment from a partner, parent, friend, or even a boss, over time, they start to internalize and suppress negative emotions.
This consequently results in the development;
- Cognitive challenges. Difficulty with memory or concentrating.
- Mental health conditions and disorders. Depression, anxiety, or PTSD.
- Emotional distress. Challenges with processing, expressing, or regulating emotions.
- Substance abuse.
- High-risk behavior. Unprotected sex or dangerous and impulsive behavior.
- Career challenges. Unable to thrive in a work environment.
- Interpersonal relationship issues. Difficulty connecting with others or maintaining healthy relationships.
- Sleep and appetite disturbances.
Emotional abuse is a form of psychological abuse that is used to control or manipulate another person. It is commonly covert and only happens in a private setting. When you experience emotionally offensive relationships or marriages, you become at risk of the short and long-term effects of abuse trauma.
The immediate psychological effects of emotional abuse are not always visible, but they are known to escalate into further complications. It is crucial to learn how to identify the warning signs of emotional mistreatment and relieve yourself of the situation.
Someone who is emotionally abusive will;
- Humiliate you in front of others.
- Intimidate you with anger.
- Threaten to hurt you or themselves to manipulate you.
- Bizarre acts of jealousy.
- Gaslight you or twist your words to confuse you.
- Isolate you from friends or family. They may make you feel guilty.
- Threaten to hurt a pet out of anger.
- Change the conversation to avoid being confronted.
- Constantly make you feel unworthy.
- Accusing you of cheating.
Recognizing and identifying signs of emotional abuse is a confusing and difficult task. You may feel shameful about what is happening or even begin to doubt yourself. This is a common side effect of an emotionally hurtful relationship.
Cases of emotional abuse during pregnancy can have devastating effects on the developing baby and the mother. When the pregnant woman responds to trauma, they may experience severe complications such as; high blood pressure, miscarriage, premature labor, stillbirth, broken bones, or hemorrhage in the fetus.
When a woman experiences abuse during pregnancy, the abuser might;
- Force her to have an abortion.
- Continue or change the cycle of abuse.
- Refuse to support her emotionally during pregnancy.
- Withhold or limit her prenatal care.
- Threaten to abandon her and the unborn baby.
- Become increasingly controlling.
- Deny the child as theirs.
These emotionally manipulative tactics have severe consequences on a pregnant woman. If you or anyone you know is experiencing emotional abuse, it is extremely important to seek professional help and support immediately.
Consider connecting to a specialist in therapy for emotional abuse for personal guidance, support, and professional advice on how to cope and overcome emotional neglect trauma.
BetterHelp counseling for emotional abuse offers victims the chance to heal and understand the psychological, emotional, and physical effects of emotional abuse. BetterHelp offers affordable, convenient, and effective methods of online therapy.
Emotionally Abusive Relationship
“How do I know if I’m in an emotionally abusive relationship?”. If you are in a relationship with an emotionally harmful boyfriend or girlfriend – you may find yourself having depressive episodes, feeling on edge, or anxious. In emotionally toxic relationships, you might experience covert or overt emotional abuse.
Covert emotional abuse is subtle and usually happens in private. Overt abuse is obvious and easily identified, and physical abuse is overt abuse.
In an emotionally disruptive relationship, seeing the signs may be a challenge, many times victims of emotional abuse ask the question, “Is my boyfriend emotionally abusive? How do I know?”. It is important to educate yourself about the signs of emotional mistreatment in a relationship that may look like this;
Your partner may seem as though they are overly invested in your social life. They monitor your daily routine and you don’t have the freedom to make your own decisions. They might make small comments to undermine your independence.
Violently shouting or screaming.
Raising your voice occasionally in a disagreement is normal. However, an emotionally abusive partner will regularly shout at you to intimidate or frighten you.
What happens when one partner is contempt, it makes it hard for the other to express their feelings.
If you have to constantly defend yourself during meaningful conversations, it makes it challenging to have positive communication. You feel as though you’re in a battle and you always have to have a shield up.
Emotional manipulation is a form of psychological control. A partner will threaten to hurt you, people you love, or themselves. This frightens you from leaving.
This happens when a partner refuses to communicate and shuts down during important or uncomfortable conversations. This can feel like emotional abandonment.
Blame or guilt.
Emotionally mistreated victims are made to feel guilty and deserving of ill-treatment. This makes a victim unable to break the abuse cycle.
Emotional manipulation affects all areas of your life. Abusive partners will convince you that no one cares and try to remove and isolate you from your friends and family.
The consequences of an emotionally destructive relationship are long-lasting and extremely devastating. It affects your psychological and emotional well-being.
When trying to fix an emotionally abusive relationship, it requires you to acknowledge the risk of staying in the relationship as well as understand the effects.
An emotionally manipulative partner can change in some circumstances, however, it is not always guaranteed.
With 24-hour access to an abuse therapist of your choice, BetterHelp online counseling for emotionally abusive relationships is far more convenient, affordable, and effective in comparison to traditional methods of therapy and counseling.
Avoiding, addressing, and overcoming an emotionally traumatic relationship. It is possible to heal from an emotionally toxic relationship. It does however require persistent hard work and emotional support. It is not an easy journey to identify being emotionally abused, particularly from someone you love and trust.
These are therapist-approved methods to help you overcome the effects of an emotionally stressful relationship;
- Acknowledge and accept the abuse has happened.
- Change your thought patterns. Reduce negative self-talk and blame yourself for the abuse.
- Start self-care. Self-care helps to maintain a stable emotional balance and healthy mental and emotional well-being.
- Make yourself a priority. Engage in fun social activities or new hobbies. This is a form of stress relief.
- Take care of your health.
- Practice mindful meditation.
- Create a strong and positive support system of friends and family.
Connecting to a specialist in emotional abuse therapy has been helpful for trauma victims. Should you need professional and effective guidance or support, seek assistance from an emotional abuse therapist.
Victim of Emotional Abuse
The effects of emotional abuse drastically impact a victim’s life. From psychological damage to physical illness and mental health disorders, emotional abuse is dangerous.
The behaviors of an emotionally traumatized victim will look different in each circumstance. The aftermath of any form of abuse depends on the severity and longevity of the abuse incident. For someone that has experienced emotional neglect during childhood, in comparison to someone who experienced emotional manipulation in a workplace or in friendship – their behaviors might differ. These are the common indicators to look for:
- Constantly apologizing. Due to emotional abusers blame victim, this leads victim to feel responsible for everyone’s wrong-doings.
- Low self-esteem, confidence, and negative self-image.
- Depression and anxiety.
- Symptoms of PTSD.
- Constantly feeling on edge or hypervigilant.
- You feel as though you’re constantly walking on edge to avoid conflict.
- Isolation from enjoyable activities.
- Lack of sleep and changes in appetite.
- Substance use or abuse.
- Overly compliant.
- Cognitive impairment, confusion, or memory loss.
As every emotional mistreatment situation is different, the aftermath and effects will vary. However, it is crucial to educate yourself on the behavioral indicators of emotional neglect. If you or anyone you know might be a victim of emotional mistreatment, the above-mentioned indicators are warning signs.
BetterHelp online abuse therapy has been carefully structured to support, guide, and advise emotional abuse victims. With direct access to your chosen abuse specialist, you have the advantage of conducting therapy on your terms.
Online therapy for emotional abuse victims is Affordable, effective, and convenient.
The consequences and long-term effects of emotional neglect can affect various areas of a victim’s life. The consequences are known to cause challenges in;
- Interpersonal relationships.
- Emotional well-being.
- Anxiety and depression.
- Psychological trauma.
- Shame, fear, and guilt.
- Feeling hopeless.
- Lack of self-worth.
- Trust issues.
The consequences of emotional abuse can result in becoming increasingly vulnerable and prone to depression. In the future, this can cause challenges when developing and maintaining relationships.
As an effect of emotional mistreatment, victims often begin to feel insecure and unworthy of healthy love. This negatively impacts developing healthy friendships and relationships. Additionally, you may experience severe psychological damage.
If you know of someone that is a victim of emotional abuse, it can be helpful to know how to help them. Emotional abuse therapists advise people to;
- Listen to them. Emotional mistreatment can be disorienting and confusing. Offering a listening ear can help them share their experience.
- Don’t judge, criticize or blame them.
- Believe them when they share their experience.
- Don’t make excuses for the abuser’s behavior.
- Share your honest concerns.
- Don’t make it about yourself or force your opinions and feelings on them.
- Research helpful resources.
The information listed above can help you protect yourself from emotional violence. Connecting to an emotional abuse specialist can help you alleviate and overcome emotional abuse.
Emotional Abuse From a Spouse
In a marriage where there is emotional mistreatment from a husband or from a wife, the other spouse will start to feel abandoned, isolated and unloved. Consequently, the result of this causes underlying challenges in the marriage which can be damaging in future.
How does emotional abuse from a spouse happen? In any marriage it is common to have challenges and conflict. However, there is a significant difference between emotional abuse and common conflict.
If you have experienced any type of hurtful verbal attack from a partner who is threatening to divorce as emotional abuse, this is a sign of spousal abuse.
Covert abuse is a form of psychological manipulation that is used to control, intimidate and overpower another person. Covert abuse means hidden, insidious or indirect. It is extremely difficult to identify the signs as they come across as normal.
Example of covert abuse can seem like;
- Being blamed for a spouse’s wrongdoings.
- Experiencing your words being twisted and confused. Also known as gaslighting.
- Posing physical threats to you.
- Being belittled or constantly criticised and patronised.
- Having to apologize when you are not wrong.
- Fake empathy.
- Various forms of controlling and monitoring your movements.
- Makes you question yourself and your sanity.
- Constantly putting you down.
- Changing history or denying a situation.
- Speaking to you in a condescending manner. Or a sarcastic and dismissive tone.
These are all common indicators of covert manipulation which is a form of emotional abuse. Confronting a spouse who is emotionally abusive can either cause further conflict or be positive and progressive. It is common for emotional manipulators to deny their actions and become extremely defensive. The long-term effects of martial emotional abuse can be particularly damaging to a spouse’s overall well-being.
As a consequence of an emotionally abusive wife or husband, you are susceptible to experience;
- Mental illness and anxiety disorders.
- Uncertainty and confusion.
- Lack of emotional availability or emotional ‘numbness’.
- Loss of motivation.
- Anger, resentment and frustration.
- Sleep disorders and chronic nightmares and flashbacks.
- Substance abuse and addiction.
- Trust issues.
- Constantly seeking approval.
- Self-harming or pain-inflicting behavior.
- Challenges with completing daily tasks or responsibilities.
As a result of an emotionally abusive spouse, you may experience these effects within the marriage and long after you’ve left.
Unfortunately, many spouses do not take immediate action towards fixing an emotionally abusive marriage. This results in either divorce or a continued cycle.
To maintain a happy and healthy marriage, we encourage couples to seek professional help from a Christian marriage counselor. In doing so, you will be able to clearly identify and address the challenges in your marriage.
Family Emotional Abuse
Family emotional abuse is a common form of abuse that happens between family members. At times, it goes unnoticed or even ignored. This can cause tremendous damage to a family unit.
What is family emotional abuse? Emotional abuse can happen between siblings, between a parent and a sibling or between parents. Witnessing verbal abuse attacks, name calling or constant covert methods of emotional abuse can cause psychological and emotional trauma.
If you have experienced or witnessed family emotional abuse , you may have noticed incidents as listed below.
- Patronizing and disrespectful verbal disagreements between parents.
- Experienced name-calling, insults or humiliation.
- Emotional bullying or guilting from a sibling or parent.
- Being a witness to favouritism between siblings.
- Having to fight for attention, love or acknowledgement.
- Being compared to another sibling or family member of a similar age group.
- Made to feel insignificant or unnoticed.
- Having necessities such as food or clothes withheld as punishment.
- Given silent treatment or being ignored.
- Being threatened with abandonment.
Family emotional abuse is known to result in individual consequences that can be long-lasting if not effectively addressed. The causes of family emotional abuse are varied and vast. In some circumstances parents might be experiencing external pressure such as finances or work. Additionally, another common cause of family emotional abuse is unresolved childhood trauma.
Regardless of the causes, emotional abuse victims suffer from long and short-term effects;
- Psychological challenges such as, mental illness, anxiety, eating or sleeping disorders.
- Social disorders, withdrawal and Loneliness.
- Physical regression or illnesses.
- Unexplained chronic pain.
- Traumatic flashbacks and memories.
- Anger management challenges.
- Lack of emotional understanding and effective expression.
- Poor communication styles.
- Negative or dangerous coping mechanisms.
- Prone to getting involved with an emotionally abusive partner.
Healing from family emotional abuse is a long journey. It requires victims to identify and acknowledge the abuse, revisit painful memories and confront the incidents. At times this may cause conflict between family members, thus- it is always suggested for families to consult and involve a family emotional abuse therapist.
Faithful Counseling, family counseling to address emotional abuse, offers struggling family members professional support and guidance.
Christian family therapy near me or online is our best recommendation.
Abuse therapist approved healing methods;
- Communicate your experience, feelings and thoughts about the incident to your family.
- Be open to listening to their explanation respectfully.
- Distance yourself healthily to heal.
- Acknowledge that the abuse has happened and it is not your fault.
- Practice methods of self-regulation or self-soothing.
- Keep track of your triggers, feelings and thoughts.
- Slowly rebuild a healthier relationship with family members.
- Learn to let go and forgive.
When addressing and confronting family emotional mistreatment, an impartial third party therapist can make the journey more effective and healing for everyone.
Emotional Abuse from Friends
How do you know if a friend is being emotionally abusive? Do you know how to tell the signs?
“What is narcissistic friend abuse and how do I know if I am a victim?”
When friendships develop, at times there may be conflict that arises and causes a few disagreements. However, in circumstances of narcissistic friend abuse, one friend may start to feel as though they are always having to change their plans or are made to feel guilty for having other obligations. This is a sign of narcissistic friend abuse.
What is a narcissist? By definition, a narcissist is someone who has an extensive interest in themselves. They believe that they are and always need to be the best at any cost. Narcissists lack compassion, empathy, and genuine interest for anyone or anything other than themselves.
Narcissism is a personality disorder developed from a deep sense of insecurity and low self-esteem.
The experience of a narcissistic friend may present itself as normal. Narcissistic abuse will be subtle, they will make it seem as though you owe them your time and effort. However, in some cases narcissistic abuse becomes toxic and dangerous.
Take note of these warning signs;
- They consistently seek approval and admiration from you or others.
- They are extremely possessive and territorial.
- They might guilt you or blackmail you into doing things you’re not comfortable with.
- Their needs always come first.
- They lack empathy or genuine concern.
- When you really need a friend, they are there, however, expect you to be there all the time.
- They will put you down to make themselves feel good.
- They exploit you or use you.
- They are extremely jealous of your other relationships.
- You feel emotionally and mentally drained when you spend time with them.
- The friendship will end when it stops serving them and they will seek out better friends.
The warning signs of narcissistic friend manipulation should be taken seriously. Over time, these toxic relationships can cause tremendous emotional and mental distress. In addition, narcissistic emotional abuse can become physically dangerous and impossible to relieve yourself of.
It is common for individuals who are experiencing narcissistic manipulation to forgive and attempt to understand their narcissistic friends’ demands, however, this becomes a toxic cycle and a burden, instead of a healthy and mutual friendship.
Addressing emotional mistreatment from friends can either be productive and positive, or, become an impossible circumstance. Attempting to address a friend that is emotionally abusing you may experience emotional manipulation and denial of their behavior.
Here are steps to take to ensure your safety and a productive confrontation;
- Do thorough research and make sure you understand narcissistic abuse. This puts you in a better position to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, allows you to not succumb to abuse tactics.
- Build yourself up. Having positive self-esteem and confidence is helpful when protecting yourself from narcissistic abuse.
- Create firm boundaries. Should you want to continue the friendship, make sure you get clear boundaries to avoid any further unhealthy and toxic behavior.
- Communicate and speak up for yourself. If something doesn’t align with you or causes you any form of discomfort – don’t be afraid to mention it.
- Demand immediate action and not empty promises. Set timelines for the things that you need to seek change in.
- Practice methods to stay calm. Breathing exercises and mindful meditation are helpful.
- Be aware and understand that the other person may need professional help.
- Acknowledge when you need to get help.
- Know when it’s time to let go and move on.
When detoxing from narcissistic manipulation, creating distance and altogether stopping communication with them is the best option.
This may be challenging as they will continue to try to contact you or your circle of friends and family. It is advised to create a support system of loved ones and make them aware of the situation.
BetterHelp counselors have extensive experience in helping victims of narcissistic friend abuse not only by educating them about the dangers of emotional distress- but also how to protect themselves and heal from narcissistic friend mistreatment.
Depression Due to Long Term Emotional Abuse
BetterHelp online emotional trauma therapists are conveniently available to you 24 hours a day. You have direct access to an experienced, professional and certified specialist in emotional abuse therapy whenever you need. Affordable, convenient and effective methods of therapy.
Emotional mistreatment in any capacity or setting is known to cause depression alongside various other psychological and emotional challenges. In severe cases of emotional abuse, victims are proven to develop PTSD, personality, eating and sleep disorders.
As a long-term consequence of emotional distress, victims will be challenged with the negative impacts on interpersonal relationships, productivity, and personal well-being.
Emotional neglect can happen during childhood in a household, within a friendship, relationship or even with a co-worker.
Forms of emotional abuse;
- Verbal abuse.
- Covert emotional abuse.
- Financial abuse.
- Racial discrimination.
- Intimidation and manipulation.
- Forceful Isolation.
- Monitoring or controlling behaviors.
- Withholding necessities.
- Passive aggressive or backhanded comments/compliments.
Because emotional abuse is not physical, it makes it more challenging to identify and confront. It is a form of psychological manipulation and control. Consequently, this leads to negative impacts.
Abuse victims regress slowly, the abuse begins to cause anxiety, depression, and cognitive impairments. It is common among emotional neglect victims to experience symptoms of PTSD during and after the abuse.
What happens when someone is emotionally abused is that they start to acquire negative coping mechanisms to avoid the effects of the emotional mistreatment as a form of self-protection. As a result, this will lead them to blame themselves for the abuse, causing low self-esteem, negative self-talk and lack of self-worth. In the long run, this is how depression due to abuse will begin.
Identifying the signs of emotional abuse due to depression.
When you are involved in a situation where you are an emotional neglect victim, it is challenging to objectively assess the other person’s behavior. Particularly in family relationships and romantic relationships.
Emotional trauma victims will deny and excuse the toxic behaviors or mannerisms of a loved one to protect them and avoid conflict. It is crucial to educate yourself on the warning signs of emotional manipulation in order to avoid irreversibly long-term consequences.
“How do I recover from depression when leaving an emotionally abusive relationship?”. Unfortunately, because emotional mistreatment directly affects a victim’s psychological well-being, they are at risk of long-term effects.
We encourage emotional trauma victims suffering from depression to take note of these self-help methods as well as to seek professional support.
- Educate yourself on what emotional abuse is and why it happens.
- Take note of what a healthy relationship looks like.
- Understand that you are not to blame and the abuse is not okay.
- Realize that emotional abuse is a cycle and it’s not your fault for getting stuck.
- Reach out to close friends and family for support.
- Reclaim your life and make it your own.
- Pay attention to your logical thoughts instead of your emotional feelings.
- Don’t be afraid to hurt and accept the pain.
- Constructively release the anger and frustration.
- Rebuild your self-esteem and confidence through new adventures, hobbies or activities.
- Take the initiative to seek professional help for depression and anxiety. Don’t let it weigh you down.
The effects of emotional mistreatment are devastating and extremely damaging, more importantly, it can control your life.
Understand that depression due to emotional abuse is manageable and you are able to conquer it!