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Psychological abuse is a hidden form of domestic violence

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2024 | CRIMINAL LAW - Domestic Violence

Domestic violence often conjures images of physical harm, but a hidden and insidious form of abuse exists. Psychological abuse is a relentless assault on a partner’s self-esteem and sanity, aiming for control through emotional manipulation.

Psychological abuse can take many forms and present itself in ways that are difficult to recognize.

Verbal onslaught

This is the most common tactic, encompassing constant criticism, insults, put-downs and yelling. The abuser may belittle a partner’s intelligence, abilities or appearance, with the intention of eroding their self-esteem.

Emotional blackmail

This involves manipulating emotions to control behavior. The abuser might threaten to leave, withhold affection or even harm themselves if their partner does not comply. This creates a constant state of anxiety, fostering fear and blind obedience.


The abuser may try to cut their partner off from their support system, limiting contact with friends, family or social activities. This creates a sense of dependence and makes it harder for the victim to seek help.


This is a particularly cruel tactic. Gaslighting involves twisting reality, denying events happened or making the victim question their own memory and sanity. This leaves them confused and self-doubting, making it difficult to trust their own judgment.

Financial abuse

The abuser might control access to money, monitor spending excessively or prevent the victim from being financially independent. This creates a power imbalance and makes it harder for them to leave the relationship.

Pathological jealousy

The abuser may constantly accuse their partner of cheating, even without any reason. They might monitor their every move, track their phone location or become possessive of their time and attention.

Minimization and denial

The abuser might dismiss the victim’s feelings as unimportant or try to convince them that the abuse is not happening. This can make it harder for the victim to recognize the abuse and seek help.

Abusers often employ a combination of these tactics, creating a complex web of control. If you suspect someone you know is experiencing any of these forms of abuse, resources are available to help them break free and build a healthy life.