Emotional abuse

Emotional or psychological abuse is the wilful infliction of mental suffering, by a person in a position or expectation of trust, to a vulnerable person.

Typical examples of emotional or psychological abuse:

  • Verbal assault, e.g. shouting, screaming
  • Humiliation
  • Threats
  • Depriving a person of due respect
  • Denial of dignity and affection
  • Bullying
  • Instilling fear
  • Ridiculing
  • Name calling
  • Deprivation/loss of liberty
  • Denial of access to close relatives, friends, others
  • Blame
  • Insults
  • Deprivation of choice in decision making
  • Conditional ‘love’
  • Denial of access to cultural or religious observances.

Possible indicators of emotional or psychological abuse:

This list is not exhaustive – practitioners you maybe be confronted by the unusual and something not encountered before

  • High levels of anxiety/stress especially in response to certain individuals or circumstances, e.g. self mutilation, head banging and hand biting
  • Passivity
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Resignation
  • Fear
  • Signs of depression, such as suicidal ideation
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Changes in appetite
  • Loss of interest in pursuing social contact
  • An air of silence in the home when the alleged abuser is present
  • Cowering
  • Recoiling from the physical approach of carers
  • Excessive and inappropriate craving for affection
  • Helplessness
  • Isolation in a room in a house
  • Inappropriately or improperly dressed
  • Overly anxious to please
  • Denial
  • Running away or not wanting to go home.

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