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Laura Dale & Associates, P.C.

How bad is emotional abuse?

When it comes to safely escaping from an abusive marriage, a great deal of emphasis is placed on domestic violence. It’s true that violence can threaten the safety of abused spouses and children. However, emotional violence should not be discounted. You and other Texas residents in unhappy marriages should understand what constitutes emotional and psychological abuse, as well as the long-lasting effects.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, emotional abuse can be as devastating as physical abuse, and it may be even more difficult to recognize. You and your spouse may argue often, but you might not realize your spouse’s behavior counts as abusive. Non-violent abuse can include verbal, financial and psychological attacks, which can impact your self-esteem and independence. The following behaviors are classic signs of emotional abuse:

  • Your spouse isolates you from family members and friends by not allowing you to see or contact them without his or her permission.
  • You are not allowed to work outside the home or have access to a car, phone or internet.
  • Your spouse belittles and insults you, then says you are being overly sensitive to teasing or harmless jokes when you try to defend yourself.
  • You constantly feel afraid of the slightest misstep upsetting or angering your partner.
  • You feel as if everything that goes wrong, even if you had no control over it, is your fault.
  • Your partner tells you and others that you are crazy and that everything is in your own head.

An emotionally unpredictable relationship can also become violent without warning, even if your partner has never hit you before. Also, children are profoundly affected by emotional abuse. Growing up with a parent who frequently yells, threatens and insults family members can result in children being more likely to be involved in abusive relationships after they grow up, as well as suffering from anxiety and depression.

You and your children deserve to be treated with love and respect. With the right professional help, it is possible to escape an abusive relationship and end this destructive cycle.

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