Emotional abuse includes non-physical behaviors such as threats, insults, constant monitoring or “checking in,” excessive texting, humiliation, intimidation, isolation or stalking.

There are many behaviors that qualify as emotional or verbal abuse:

  • Calling you names and putting you down.
  • Yelling and screaming at you.
  • Intentionally embarrassing you in public.
  • Withholding affection to “punish” you.
  • Giving you the “silent” treatment.
  • Preventing you from seeing or talking with friends and family.
  • Telling your family and friends lies about you.
  • Telling you what to do and wear.
  • Criticizing the things about you that you are sensitive to. (your weight, your appearance, etc.)
  • Using Facebook or cell phones to control, intimidate or humiliate you.
  • Blaming you for their abusive behavior, or for the reason they lost their job, got drunk, gambled away all the money, etc.
  • Stalking you.
  • Threatening to commit suicide to keep you from leaving them.
  • Threatening to harm you, your pet or people you care about.
  • Making you feel guilty or immature when you don’t consent to sexual activity.
  • Destroying possessions you care about.
  • Threatening to expose your secrets such as your sexual orientation or immigration status.
  • Starting rumors about you.
  • Threatening to have your children taken away.
  • Telling your children that you are a bad mother.
  • Making your children watch as he humiliates you.

The abuser uses these tactics to control you. If he feels that he is losing that control, he may escalate to physical, and/or sexual abuse.

If your partner is using emotional abuse to control what you do, where you go, who you see, what you wear, or any other aspect of your life, you may be a victim of domestic violence. Domestic violence does not always need to be physical abuse. If the person who is abusing you has gained control through tactics other than beatings, it has the same intended effect, power over you. For help finding ways to stay safe in or out of the relationship, please call the Illinois Valley Safe House Alliance in Cave Junction, Oregon; 541.592.2515. Services are always free and confidential.