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How does emotional abuse tie in with domestic violence?

Spousal abuse is a pervasive issue that affects men and women of all races, income levels and social standing. Each year in Colorado and elsewhere, thousands of people fear for their safety from those they should be able to trust the most. There is no dispute that domestic violence is a terrible problem that should never happen. However, you might wonder where emotional and psychological abuse fit in the puzzle. Is non-violent abuse as serious as a slap, punch, kick or worse?

Emotional abuse is, in fact, a serious form of spousal and child abuse, states the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Emotional manipulation is almost always present in relationships that include physical violence, but an abuser does not have to ever hit you for some behavior to qualify as abuse. For example, an emotional abuser may use the following tactics:

  • Consistently insulting and belittling you to make you feel inferior
  • Threatening to harm you, the kids or your pets if you upset your abuser
  • Making you feel like you are always wrong or “going crazy”
  • Getting angry, offended or upset at any slight, real or imagined
  • Constantly being suspicious of your whereabouts and jealous of your friends and associates
  • Isolating you from your family and friends

It can be extremely difficult to leave an abuser. A violent abuser might make you feel afraid to leave. With emotional abuse, you might not even realize you are the victim of abuse until after your spouse has made you feel utterly worthless and incapable of surviving on your own. There is also the possibility of a verbal abuser becoming violent. For these reasons and more, it is important for you to surround yourself with trusted allies in helping you get out. These can include your family, friends, counselors, law enforcement and a family law attorney with experience in spousal abuse.

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