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Emotional Abuse Is a Type of Domestic Abuse

 Posted on July 18, 2018 in Domestic Violence

DuPage County domestic violence attorneysWhen you hear the terms “domestic abuse” and “domestic violence,” it is likely that you picture physical acts such as punching, slapping, shaking, or choking. Or, maybe you envision the effects of such abuse—bruises, a black eye, or a broken wrist. While these are certainly appropriate images for you to associate with domestic violence, domestic abuse refers to more than just physical actions. Psychological and emotional abuse can be just as devastating as physical violence, and those who emotionally abuse their loved ones must be held accountable for their behavior.

Recognizing the Signs of Emotional Abuse

Virtually all couples have arguments on occasion—and some may even get loud and ugly. Partners may yell and say hurtful things to one another, but this is not necessarily abusive. It becomes abuse when one spouse tries to exercise control over the other through such behavior. Rather than using actual or threatened physical violence, an emotional abuser uses words—including insults, lies, and partial truths—as weapons.

A person may be engaged in emotional abuse if he or she exhibits a pattern of:

  • Embarrassing and insulting their partner: Saying hurtful things once in a while is probably not abuse, but when insults are constant and intentional, it can quickly become destructive. An abuser may use insulting comments and passive-aggressive observations to destroy the self-esteem and psychological well-being of the victim so that the victim becomes more dependent on the abuser;
  • Separating their partner from friends and family: An emotional abuser may try to isolate their partner and intentionally keep the victim from a healthy support system. Discouraging healthy relationships with family members, friends, and others outside the home is a big red flag of emotional abuse;
  • Gaslighting: Gaslighting is a form of manipulation in which an abuser tells lies, changes stories, and uses other techniques to confuse the victim and make him or her question their instincts, feelings, memory, and even their grip on reality. The term “gaslighting” comes from a play named “Gas Light” in which a man continually dimmed his home’s gas-fueled lights while denying it to confuse his spouse; and
  • Threatening their partner: Victims of emotional abuse are often afraid to seek help because they fear that their abuser will find out and retaliate somehow. Some abusers reinforce this fear with overt and implied threats to the victim, the victim’s children, and other family members or friends.

Get the Help You Need

Emotional abuse is almost always meant to allow an abuser to control his victim. At Pesce Law Group, P.C., we empower victims to regain control of themselves. If you have been the victim of emotional abuse, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney for information on how to obtain an order of protection against your abuser. We can also assist in providing options for ending the abusive relationship. Call 630-352-2240 for a free consultation today.



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