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The emotional and physical effects of psychological abuse

On Behalf of | Mar 24, 2020 | Family law

Many people see the effects of physical abuse, but psychological abuse is harder to recognize. Sometimes emotional abuse occurs in conjunction with physical abuse, but it also occurs by itself. 

If someone is in a marriage with someone who psychological abuses, it may take a while to realize it is even happening. This is unfortunate, because there are short- and long-term effects, and it is important for a victim to seek help if there is abuse in the relationship. 

Signs of psychological abuse 

According to Healthline, it can be hard for victims to identify signs of psychological abuse because they may be subtle, especially at first, and they often come between episodes of over-the-top kind gestures. Control is a big factor among abusers. Common signs include monitoring whereabouts, treating the spouse like a child and threatening. 

Criticism is also common in abusive relationships. This may show up as sarcasm, mean jokes, patronizing, belittling accomplishments or public embarrassment. Isolating and emotionally neglecting the victim are common tools used to control. Examples include distancing the victim from friends and family, withholding affection, interrupting and disputing feelings. 

Emotional and physical consequences 

Psychological abuse affects the victim emotionally, but many do not realize that there are physical effects as well. Medical News Today discusses some of the consequences that appear due to continued abuse. Short-term emotional and physiological effects may include fear, hopelessness, moodiness, shame and difficulty concentrating. As time goes on, these get worse. 

Abuse has long-term effects on the person as a whole. Some of these include 

  • Insomnia 
  • Loneliness and social withdrawal 
  • Chronic pain, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome 
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Low self-esteem 

Psychological abuse also often affects the victim’s ability to form healthy and trusting relationships in the future.