Domestic violence takes many forms. Although physical actions are a form of domestic violence, so are non-physical ones such as threats and intimidation. These are forms of psychological abuse and emotional abuse, which can be just as damaging.
What is Emotional Abuse?
There’s a wide emotional abuse definition because the actions of the abuser are so varied. Emotional and mental abuse can be very subtle at times and, on occasion, you may not even notice that someone is attempting to manipulate you because the emotional abuse signs are not obvious. However, it’s important that this pattern of abuse is noticed quickly so it can be stopped.
The definition of emotional abuse covers action by an abuser who is attempting to maintain power or control over somebody. Often, this is done by preventing a person from making or keeping connections with their family, friends or even their cultural and spiritual beliefs and practices.
If you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship, you may feel trapped by your partner or you may feel like there’s no way out of the relationship.
It is important to know that the actions of your abuser are not your fault and it’s never acceptable for someone to try and control you and/or treat you in this way.
Emotional Abuse Examples
Because the definition of emotional abuse is wide ranging, there are a number of actions that could be considered to be emotional abuse indicators. Some examples might include:
- Your abuser following you while you are out in public;
- Your abuser remaining outside of your place of residence or work;
- Your abuser repeatedly contacting you, whether by phone, text message, email or social networking apps (or all of the above), without your consent;
- Your abuser threatening to withhold something from you, such as your medication;
- Your abuser trying to or succeeding in isolating you from your friendship group, family, cultural or spiritual community.
This is not an exhaustive list of emotional abuse examples, but it does show you the pattern of behaviour that victims of emotional abuse can expect. In fact, any action or words that are designed to intimidate, harass, offend or torment can be considered emotional abuse.
Leaving an Abusive Relationship
No matter what form of violence has been occurring, leaving an abusive relationship can be very difficult. If you are worried about how the abuser will respond to you and/or you are fearful of what they might do, you should consider reaching out to the domestic violence support groups in your area. If you are in immediate danger, you should ring the police.
You may also wish to speak to a family lawyer about making an application for a domestic violence order against your abuser.
Your family lawyer can discuss various options with you including making an application for an urgent/temporary Order that can be put into place immediately and before your abuser becomes aware that you had even made the application for protection in the first place.
Your family lawyer can also discuss with you making an application for certain conditions to be included in the interim or final Order that will provide you with further protection, such as your abuser being restrained from contacting you, attending at your residence, place of work or other places that you are required to be, or coming within a certain distance of you.