Physical & Emotional Abuse
Emotional or psychological abuse occurs when someone is exposed or subjected to behavior that is psychologically harmful. The abuser intentionally inflicts emotional or mental anguish through threats, humiliation, verbal abuse or non-verbal conduct.
- What is your relationship like?
- Things to consider
- Domestic Abuse
- Self -help Resources
Examples of emotional abuse include constantly belittling, berating, isolating, ignoring, or rejecting someone.
Emotional abuse, like physical abuse, is used to control, demean, harm or punish the victim. While the forms of abuse may vary, the end result is the same – the victim is fearful of the abuser and walks on eggshells to please him/her and try to be safe from harm. Long term effects of emotional abuse include isolation and withdrawal from others, decreased self-esteem, depression, physical illness, alcohol and other drug use/abuse.
Emotional abuse is sometimes referred to as “pre-battering behavior”, as it often escalates to physical abuse.
These questions will help you identify if you are being emotionally and/or physically abused, and provide some ideas on available support and resources.
Source: Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness
What is your relationship like?
- Do you feel that something is wrong with your relationship, but you don’t know how to describe it?
- Do you feel that your partner controls your life?
- Do you feel that your partner does not value your thoughts or feelings?
- Will your partner do anything to win an argument, such as put you down, threaten or intimidate you?
- Does your partner get angry and jealous if you talk to someone else? Are you accused of having affairs?
- Do you feel that you cannot do anything right in your partner’s eyes?
- Are you told that no one else would want you, or that you are lucky your partner takes care of you?
- Do you have to account for every moment of your time?
- When you try to talk to your partner about problems, are you called names?
- Does your partner prevent you from going to work or school, or from learning English?
- If you wish to spend money, does your partner make you account for every penny, or say you don’t deserve anything?
- Does your partner threaten to withdraw your sponsorship or send you back to your country of origin?
- After an argument, does your partner insist that you have sex
- Does your partner use the children against you in arguments? Does your partner threaten that you will never see the children again if you leave?
- Does your partner blame you for everything that goes wrong?
Things to consider
- Know that you are not to blame for your partner’s abusive behavior.
- Recognize that you have the right to make your own decisions, in your own time, and that dealing with any form of abuse may take time.
- Recognize that emotional abuse should be taken seriously.
- Know that emotional abuse can escalate to physical violence.
- Find people to talk to that can support you. Consider getting individual counseling from professionals who are trained about abusive relationships and will hold your partner responsible for the abuse you are experiencing.
- Do not give up if community professionals are not helpful. Keep looking for someone that will listen to you and take emotional abuse seriously.
- Trust yourself and your own experiences. Believe in your own strengths. Remember that you are your own best source of knowledge and strength.
Domestic abuse is physical abuse that occurs between family or household members who are living together or who have lived together within the past year, between separated or divorced spouses, between individuals who have a child together, or between individuals who are currently in an intimate relationship or who were in such a relationship within the year prior to the abuse. Iowa’s Domestic Abuse law describes the process for obtaining a restraining order (.pdf), police responsibilities, how the criminal justice system works, and other resources.
Some victims leave, others stay, and yet others leave, but later return to their batterer, having been convinced that he has changed. To an outsider, this is frustrating and confusing. They wonder, “why would anyone stay in an abusive relationship?”
Research shows that domestic violence tends to escalate in severity when victims communicate that they intend to leave or they actually leave the relationship. For this reason, it is very important to plan (.pdf). carefully to leave.
The Wellness Resource Lab, located on the 1st floor of the Wellness Recreation Center in Room 104, includes a resource library with many books, videos, cassettes, pamphlets and newsletters on a variety of health and wellness topics. There is also a special section for Violence Intervention Resources .
Checking out materials is free and you may keep these materials for two weeks.
If you have concerns about accessing materials from the Wellness Lab in person, please contact Violence Intervention Services staff member Mark Rowe-Barth to make confidential material check-out arrangements.