Emotional abuse is not as easy to spot as physical abuse, but oftentimes its effects can be just as traumatic. Emotional abuse can involve a wide range of tactics, including gaslighting, shaming and manipulation. All of these are intended to leave the victim feeling confused, powerless and hopeless.

Typically people suffer from long-term or short-term emotional abuse, and depending on the length of time, there can be varying mental health effects.

Long-term emotional abuse happens over many years. Examples are a child growing up in a home with an alcoholic parent or a sibling with anger issues. Someone may find themselves in a marriage with a narcissistic partner.

Short-term emotional abuse can result from a nasty exchange with a stranger or micro-interactions with colleagues or neighbors.

The following are some short-term and long-term effects of emotional abuse:

Short-Term Effects

  • Isolation or a sense of deep loneliness 
  • Self-doubt
  • Shame
  • Confusion
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anxiety connected with social interactions
  • Feelings of powerlessness

Long-term Effects

  • Neuroticism, or the tendency toward a depressed mood or negative emotions like anger
  • Chronic stress
  • Physical health issues like muscle tension and shortness of breath
  • Attachment issues
  • Apathy
  • Eating disorders
  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or CPTSD (chronic post-traumatic stress disorder)

You Can Heal from Emotional Abuse

With time, patience and plenty of self-compassion, it is very possible to heal from the trauma of emotional abuse. Working with a mental health professional who has been trained specifically to help people who have been the victim of emotional abuse is a great starting point.

If you’d like to explore treatment options, please reach out to me.

SOURCES:

https://psychcentral.com/health/effects-of-emotional-abuse

Emotional Abuse and its Impact on Mental Health

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327080

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