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Life and Religion

Psychological abuse is first warning to get out
Could you be in abusive relationship and not know it?
Published Tuesday, October 8, 2013
by Dee Louis-Scott, Pasadena/St. Gabriel Valley Journal News

We often think of domestic violence in terms of bodily harm. However, psychological abuse can be as damaging to the psyche as physical abuse can be to the body, yet little is written about this common problem, which is typically the precursor to physical abuse.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 95 percent of men who physically abuse their intimate partners also psychologically abuse them.

Psychological abuse consists of impairing the mental life and impeding mental development. It creates distorted beliefs, taught by the abuser, about the world. Those beliefs become ingrained in the victim’s mind and can interfere with the flexibility that needed to constantly assess the environment and respond appropriately. Knowing the signs of psychological abuse may save women from the physical abuse that so often follows.

Signs of psychological abuse include:

  • Your partner uses finances to control you.
  • He often threatens to leave.
  • She seeks to intimidate using looks, gestures or actions.
  • He smashes things.
  • Your partner seeks to control you by minimizing, denying and blaming
  • He makes light of the abuse and does not take your concerns about it seriously.
  • You are continually criticized, called names and/or shouted at.
  • She emotionally degrades you in private, but acts charming in public.
  • He humiliates you in private or public.
  • They withhold approval, appreciation or affection as punishment.

Effects of psychological abuse on the victim, from the Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness:

  • A distrust of his or her own spontaneity
  • A loss of enthusiasm
  • An uncertainty about how she is coming across
  • A concern that something is wrong with him
  • An inclination to reviewing incidents with the hopes of determining what went wrong
  • A loss of self-confidence
  • A growing self-doubt
  • An internalized critical voice
  • A concern that she isn’t happier and ought to be
  • An anxiety or fear of being crazy
  • A sense that time is passing and he’s missing something
  • A desire not to be the way she is, e.g. “too sensitive,” etc.
  • A hesitancy to accept her perceptions
  • A reluctance to come to conclusions
  • A tendency to live in the future, e.g. “Everything will be great when/after . . .”
  • A desire to escape or run away
  • A distrust of future relationships

If you answered yes to even one, you may be in an abusive relationship. Get help.

Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.

Dee Louis-Scott is the author of "Believe in the Magic: Let the Tenacity of Mattie Fisher Inspire You," (www.mattiefisher.com), the story of her mother's journey.



My husband use to abuse me psychologically. I didn't know what was happening to me until I received marriage counseling. I was not being screamed at or insulted verbally. He is the passive man which is worse. He slaps me with kind words, kicks, cuts and bruise and I didn't know it until I felt a pain later.
Posted on October 9, 2013
I absolutely know that I am in a relationship as described above. It is with my husband of 43 yrs.
He constantly insults me, making me feel that I'm stupid. It doesn't matter where we are nor who is present. My only option is to get away from him so, then, at least I don't have to hear what he's saying about me. I know that our company must think I'm a snob; however, I refuse to talk about him because if it gets back to him, I'll have hell to pay. I'm in an electric wheelchair due to having had a severe case of polio when I was 5 and I really need his help.
Posted on October 8, 2013

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