1 : a corrupt practice or custom the buying of votes and other election abuses
2 : improper or excessive use or treatment : misuse drug abuse
3 : language that condemns or vilifies usually unjustly, intemperately, and angrily verbal abuse a term of abuse
4 : physical maltreatment child abuse sexual abuse..."
There are five predominant variations of abuse - physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, mental abuse and emotional abuse.
Firstly, physical abuse could comprise of pushing, pulling, kicking or hitting another human being or an animal, causing pain and grief against their personal wishes. Secondly, sexual abuse would comprise of inappropriate touching, molestation, outrage of modesty or even rape.Thirdly, there is verbal abuse. This consists of verbal insults such as, "You're good for nothing", "You're worthless", "You're stupid and nothing but a let-down", and so on. Then, there is mental abuse, which could consist of unsolicited mind games and insults and put-downs through individual actions and gestures. Finally, there is emotional abuse. Examples of such abuse would include, intentional humiliation of a specif targeted being, the show of over-control against the wishes of another, or even the withdrawal of affection, causing one to lose confidence in themselves, generating a low-self esteem and just emotional pain and grief.
There are so many sub-categories of abuse and some are when someone shows rejection, causing isolation and making degrading remarks about the abused. The main component of this essay would be on the very much downplayed, emotional abuse.
Emotional abuse has much in common with verbal abuse in that it is an attempt to hurt attack or control the victim. The abuser often uses verbal abuse to hurt the victim. Emotional abuse often is read together with other types of abuse such as physical and mental abuse. The abused being would be targeted as he/she is a weaker type of person. This type of abuse has the potential to leave behind many unseen emotional scars, disenabling the abused individual to lead a normal and productive life.
According to wikipedia, emotional abuse could be a medical terminology. The online encyclopedia has this to say about emotional abuse:
"Psychological abuse (also referred to as psychological violence, emotional abuse, or mental abuse) is a form of abuse, characterized by a person subjecting, or exposing, another person to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. It is often associated with situations of power imbalance in abusive relationships including bullying, gaslighting and abuse in the workplace." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_abuse
People who suffer from emotional abuse tend to have very low self-esteem, show personality changes and may even become depressed, anxious or suicidal. It is indeed a vicious cycle. Long-term exposure to emotional abuse would render the abused being to act abusively towards another. If you are in an abusive relationship, it is best to seek help and leave the relationship.
Emotional abuse is about the effects of behavior, not verbal abuse. Silent communication could be expressed via body language, rolling one's eyes, sighing, giving someone the cold shoulder treatment and there are many other ways to be emotionally abusive, though these are the most common ways. If you feel as though you were being subjected to emotional abuse, you absolutely do not deserve to be made to feel hurt or belittled, by the abuser.
Gunta Krumins, author of 'The Detrimental Effects of Emotional Abuse' has this to say about this topic:
“Emotional abuse is the silent monster in our midst, occurring in neighbors’ and loved ones’ homes more than we realize. It is a tragic situation that’s a daily reality for millions... A widespread illegal activity is being ignored when people are victimized in their own homes. What emotional abusers are doing to their victims is criminal and [this] has to be stopped.” (emphasis added)
Abuse, in general, will make you feel emotionally exposed to negativity. Early onset symptoms include doubting oneself, your memories, feelings, and of course, judgment. Ultimately, the abused would be made to feel vulnerable and powerless. This may lead you to develop mental disorders such as depression and other mood disorders, like bi-polar syndromes.
Emotional abuse, according to another website, divides emotional abuse into (a) passive abuse and (b) active abuse:
(a) "Five categories of passive emotional abuse have been identified (Barlow and Schrader McMillan, 2010):
- Emotional unavailability
where a parent or carer is not connected with the child and cannot give them the love that they deserve and need
- Negative attitudes
such as having a low opinion of the child and not offering any praise or encouragement
- Developmentally inappropriate interaction with the child
either expecting the child to perform tasks that they are not emotionally mature enough to do or speaking and acting in an inappropriate way in front of a child
- Failure to recognise a child’s individuality
this can mean an adult relying on a child to fulfil their emotional needs and not recognising that the child has needs
- Failure to promote social adaptation
not encouraging a child to make friends and mix among their own social peers.
When someone intentionally scares, demeans or verbally abuses a child it’s known as “active” abuse. This requires a premeditated intention to harm a child.
(b) Active emotional abuse has been defined as:
- spurning (rejecting)
- exploiting or corrupting.
(Barlow and Schrader McMillan, 2010)
Sometimes a fifth category of “ignoring” is also included (Cawson et al, 2000)..."
Emotional abuse in our culture is rampant and damaging and it is as pertinent a subject as physical or sexual abuse. Personally, as an emotionally abused person, I have come to understand the damage emotional abuse renders to the mind, soul and body. Sufferers of emotional abuse may expect changes in personality or in extreme events, development of personality disorders such as schizophrenia.
Nearing the end of this essay, I would like to mention this - what goes around, comes around. The Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule)
Aptly stated, an author says the following:
"One of the basic human rights he takes away from you is the right to be angry with him. No matter how badly he treats you, he believes that your voice shouldn’t rise and your blood shouldn’t boil. The privilege of rage is reserved for him alone. When your anger does jump out of you—as will happen to any abused woman from time to time—he is likely to try to jam it back down your throat as quickly as he can. Then he uses your anger against you to prove what an irrational person you are. Abuse can make you feel straitjacketed. You may develop physical or emotional reactions to swallowing your anger, such as depression, nightmares, emotional numbing, or eating and sleeping problems, which your partner may use as an excuse to belittle you further or make you feel crazy.”
(Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)
Seek help if and when you are caught in an abusive relationship or if you witness someone else being abused.
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