What is Mental Abuse and How to Get Help for Mental Abuse?
Mental Abuse or emotional abuse or psychological abuse is where one person tries to control another. It is the use of behavior, which leads to anxiety, stress, fear, and trauma. It may not involve physical violence, but its effects are as negative as physical abuse. It happens when one partner tries to dominate the other and control his/her life. It can happen at the workplace where a colleague or a superior tries to dominate and creates a feeling of stress and fear.
Forms of mental abuse
Mental abuse can take many forms. It can happen on so many levels, where a person may not even realize that they are subject to mental abuse. The forms of mental abuse include:
- Bullying in school, college or at the workplace.
- They are threatening harm to self or someone else, especially children.
- Trying to control or regulate a partner’s life.
- I am controlling the finances or a partner.
- I am trying to stop someone from going out of the home to school, work, or any other place.
- You are accusing someone of cheating on them.
- You are manipulating someone to do something.
- They are making decisions on someone’s behalf like what they should wear and what they should do.
- They are refusing to communicate.
- They are refusing to show affection.
- Name calling or shaming someone.
- Targeted verbal abuse based on someone’s gender, race, religion, or nationality.
- Destruction of property.
- Isolating someone at school, college, or at the workplace to make them feel left out.
- Insulting someone in private or in public.
- Gaslighting involving forceful denial of abuse
- Cyberbullying, where mental abuse happens through text messages or on social media platforms.
- Forcing someone (a partner) to reveal their digital passwords.
- Preventing from meeting others, including friends and family.
- Denying access to help, including medical help.
As we saw, mental abuse has many forms, some of them can be done in such a subtle way that the victim may not even realize what is happening.
Effects of mental abuse
Mental abuse can happen in a home and can happen from anyone. It can be one’s parents or spouse. It can happen at school, college, or work. But this is a serious issue, and it leads to problems for the victim. The effects of mental abuse include:
- It can lead to feelings of confusion, shame, guilt or hopelessness.
- It can affect one’s confidence and have a negative impact on academic or career performance.
- It can cause stress and fear and even lead to panic attacks.
- It can affect one’s mental health leading to memory problems, difficulty in concentrating, and even affect sleep.
- It can lead to physical issues like an increased heartbeat, increased blood pressure, aches and pains due to muscle tension.
- It can lead to problems like obesity, headaches, eating disorders and can make someone resort to substance abuse.
- It can cause a person to withdraw from society and seriously affect their lives.
How to get Help for Mental and Emotional Abuse
The first thing is to recognize and acknowledge the problem. If you are the victim of mental abuse, talk to a close friend or a family member who is sympathetic. Explain your problem and seek their help. At school take to a teacher or a senior faculty member. At the workplace, you can contact your superior or the Human resources department to stop bullying and other such instances.
You can meet a counselor alone or with your partner to resolve your problems. If the abuse is severe, you can even file a complaint with the law enforcement agencies.
For abuse by a partner, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for help.