Emotional abuse is more difficult to recognize than physical abuse because the victim has no physical marks. However, slanderous, critical, and reproachful words cause severe psychological damage and cause the victim to fall into a state of fear and panic.
What is mental abuse? The current situation
Mental abuse is the most common form of abuse besides physical abuse. With this type of abuse, the victim does not have to face violent acts, but is constantly tortured by insulting words with harsh, heavy words. In many cases, abusers use “silence” to torture and mentally oppress victims.
Mental abuse has many manifestations, but the common feature is causing deep psychological damage. Because there are no marks on the body, people around and even the victim themselves do not realize that they are being abused. However, there are also many cases of physical and mental abuse.
Violence in any form is a condemnable act. In Asian countries in general and Vietnam in particular, people do not have a sense of self-protection and speak up against acts of violence. This is also the reason why the rate of mental abuse has increased significantly in recent years. It is estimated that more than 50% of married women experience emotional abuse by their spouses and in-laws. Of these, 56% of cases occurred in rural areas and about 43% occurred in urban areas.
Currently, there is no exact figure on the rate of mental abuse because many victims do not speak up. As a result, the victim suffers emotional pain, hurt, resentment, despair, and pessimism. Mental trauma is the root cause of mental illness. Therefore, equipping with understanding about mental abuse is very necessary.
Signs of emotional abuse
Mental abuse is not as obvious as physical abuse. Instead of using violent acts, the abuser uses words, words, expressions and silence to hurt the victim’s psyche. In addition, some people use bullying to mentally oppress and cause suffering to those around them.
Mental abuse can happen in any relationship from spouse, parent-child, friend, lover, co-worker, etc. In each relationship, this type of abuse will be expressed. through various signs. Among the most common signs include:
- Realizing that I am always insecure, worried and suffering from seemingly normal words. The abuser is capable of sophisticated psychological manipulation and always uses words with purpose to cause feelings of pain, anxiety, and frustration for the victim.
- In some cases, abusers are always reprimanding, critical, and even insulting. Repeated words cause the victim to be mentally oppressed and have pessimistic and negative thoughts about themselves.
- Emotional abusers are constantly repeating the victim’s mistakes and blaming the victim in every situation. Many unreasonable people believe that bad luck and events in life are caused by the victim. Although understanding that this is not their own fault, before the harsh words, the victim cannot avoid disappointment, torment and suffering.
- Many people intentionally carry out acts of threatening harm to the victim or harming themselves to mentally oppress those around them. This condition is often seen in couples and romantic relationships. Some people have a tendency to hurt themselves to get their partner to do what they want, but don’t realize this is emotional abuse.
- Frequent yelling, irritability, yelling and yelling for no reason. This sign often occurs in a husband and wife relationship, parent-child or romantic relationship.
- Some abusers choose silence, the “cold war” to pressure and hurt their partner. This condition is common in the relationship between husband and wife. In addition to keeping quiet, some people are also intentionally indifferent to their families, not caring at all for their children and loved ones. Under oppression, the victim has to compromise and perform the behavior according to the wishes of the abuser.
- There are always words to manipulate and manipulate the victim to become worried, pessimistic, sad, thereby performing the desired behavior of the abuser.
- Parents who are mentally abusive to their children often show up through signs such as scolding their children often, without reason, being overly controlling, blaming their children in all circumstances, being selfish and imposing on their children. Some parents always emphasize that their children are useless and fail to punish their children for not achieving academic results as expected.
- In the workplace environment, mental abuse is expressed through boycott, isolation, suppression and bad play. In addition, the abuser also intentionally uses extreme and crude language to hurt the victim’s psyche.
- Mental abusers can subtly manipulate the psychology of their victims. At this point, the victim completely loses the clarity of view and evaluation. Instead of realizing the problem lies with the other party, the victim always admits the fault on themselves. At the same time, always self-pity, suffering, pessimism and anxiety.
- A new form of emotional abuse that has emerged in recent years is cyberbullying. Victims are mentally oppressed due to the abuser texting, threatening or releasing clips and images online with the purpose of insulting honor and dignity.
- Emotional abuse is manifested in many different behaviors but generally causes suffering, anxiety, restlessness, hesitation and guilt for the victim. Negative emotions prompt the victim to punish himself with self-injurious behaviors. Even many people become panic, live aloof and have little communication due to mental crisis.
Mental abuse has many manifestations and is difficult to recognize. Many victims do not realize they are being abused and manipulated. Some victims recognize the anomaly and share this with those around them. However, people often assume that the victim is being overly sensitive. This causes the victim to be abused for a long time and suffer a deep psychological crisis.
Causes of mental abuse
Mental abuse leaves serious consequences that are not inferior to physical abuse. According to psychologists, this type of abuse is related to the following factors:
1. Feudal Thought
Our country is deeply influenced by China’s feudal ideology. This ideology promotes men, disregarding the roles, status and rights of women. In addition, feudal ideology also gives the head of the family many rights and has the right to decide the life of his wife, children and grandchildren.
At present, feudal thought has been gradually abolished and replaced by modern thought, upholding justice and civilization. However, there are still many people who hold this antiquated idea. Most people who follow feudalism are patriarchal, aggressive, respect men and despise women, etc.
This ideology makes men give themselves the right to mentally abuse their wives and children. The abuser may use words, threatening behavior or silence to put pressure on the victim’s psyche.
2. Incorrect conception of education
Vietnamese parents always believe that parents give their children life, so they have the right to decide for their children. This educational concept is the source of mental abuse along with negative problems such as expecting too much from children, controlling, imposing on children and lack of understanding and listening.
Because they think they have authority over their children, these parents “innocently” hurt their children by scolding, criticizing, and even using harsh words. Parents see this as punishment because children do not obey or do not achieve high results in school.
Incorrect educational conception will make it difficult for children to develop healthy. Even in many cases, children hate their parents because they have been mentally oppressed for a long time and always feel tired and heavy in their own family.
3. Personality traits
In addition to the above two reasons, psychologists also point out that people with a rigid, conservative, selfish, lack of empathy, and lack of love are likely to become mentally abusive people. .
In addition, people who develop distorted personality types such as narcissistic personality disorder, dramatic personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder may also mentally abuse others to achieve their goals. own.
Subjects prone to mental abuse
Similar to physical abuse, emotional abuse can happen to anyone. Most of the victims are vulnerable people such as children, women and the elderly. This group of subjects has no power and voice, so they often choose to be patient and endure violent acts.
Subjects at high risk of mental abuse:
- Children, especially those who are shy, lack self-confidence, do not have good looks, and have low academic performance
- Married women, seen mainly in housewives, lack financial self-control and have a gentle, tolerant personality.
- New employees, who have no status, difficult family circumstances and not so prominent abilities will be susceptible to mental abuse in the working environment.
- People with weak and dependent personalities easily become victims of verbal and mental abuse when entering emotional relationships.
People with power, looks, and abilities rarely fall victim to emotional abuse. However, these subjects can also be abused by someone more powerful (husband, parent, superior).
What are the effects of emotional abuse?
Mental abuse is a burning problem in modern society. This type of abuse leaves a deep wound that is not inferior to physical abuse. Harsh, reproachful, and disparaging words can destabilize victims.
People with weak personalities and lack of life experience (children, women, etc.) may suffer from psychological crisis, panic and excessive fear. In which, many cases of depression, anxiety disorders, insomnia, … due to mental abuse for a long time.
In addition to the psychological effects, emotional abuse also distorts personality – especially for children in the process of development. Children raised by toxic parents, often mentally and verbally abusive, will repeat this type of education to the next generation. Constantly being mentally attacked also makes children become melancholy, hostile to their families, unable to nurture love, not knowing how to share, understand and empathize.
In addition, mental abuse is also a source of divorce, separation, family breakdown, etc. In the working environment, this type of violence causes work to be delayed and people are not developed in the workplace. healthy environment. Gradually affect overall work performance, reduce profits and hinder the development of organizations and businesses. This is also the reason why large companies attach great importance to the working environment and fairness and civility in behavior.
In the worst case scenario, the victim may choose to commit suicide to free themselves from humiliation and suffering. It can be seen that mental abuse leaves extremely severe consequences. To protect themselves, each person needs to be strong, calmly find solutions to overcome abusive behaviors.
How to help you overcome emotional abuse
Mental abuse has become a major social problem in modern life. This type of abuse is difficult to detect because the victims are often people with high education and status. Currently, the law has provisions on punishment for mental abusers. Therefore, victims need to be strong to find justice for themselves.
Here are some ways victims can help overcome emotional abuse:
1. Ask the other party to stop the mental abuse
The common feature of victims of mental abuse is patience and tolerance. However, this response will cause the abuser to become increasingly dominant and increase his or her behavior. Therefore, the first thing the victim needs to do is ask the other person to stop the acts of mental abuse.
The other party may not accept these as acts of abuse and intentional psychological manipulation. Therefore, you need to be alert, strong and decisive to regain justice for yourself. Your decisiveness will make the other party more cautious and cautious in your words.
In many cases, the abuser himself is completely unaware that his or her behavior is abnormal. This case occurs mainly in the relationship between husband and wife and parent-child. Parents often criticize and blame their children when they do not achieve good results and assume that their children are useless and weak, so they cannot succeed in life.
Similarly, the husband always has words of light and contempt for the wife. Some people intentionally keep quiet when their wives have behaviors that make them unhappy. The “Cold War” caused the wife’s spirit to be oppressed, unstable and hurt.
For the above cases, you need to have a frank conversation with your loved ones so that they understand that seemingly normal words make you deeply hurt. In addition, you should share your feelings and thoughts to be understood by your partner and family. However, this way does not always bring results because feudal thought and false educational conceptions are deeply imprinted in the subconscious.
2. End the relationship with the abuser
If your partner doesn’t make a move or you feel like you can’t continue the relationship, take the initiative to end the abuser. Statistics show that the rate of divorce cases due to violence has increased significantly. Although the breakdown in marriage will more or less affect the children, it is still better to let them live in an unhealthy environment.
When you decide to end your relationship with your abuser, you need to be strong and decisive. Absolutely do not be light-hearted and weak before the opponent’s grip. Because going back to the abuser will make you continue to face similar words and behaviors in the future.
In terms of love and marriage, you can easily end the relationship. However, if the abuser is a parent, it really isn’t easy to stop – especially if you are dependent on your family.
In this case, you should talk to your parents to better understand your psychology, thoughts and feelings. At the same time, he expressed his desire for parents to change their words and behavior with their children. If you are financially independent, you may be able to move out if your parents don’t stop their emotional abuse.
3. Seek help from relatives and friends
In many cases, the abuser may not agree to compromise with your request and continue with words and behaviors that cause emotional abuse. In this case, you should seek the help of relatives and friends.
The people around will help you see things properly, think carefully before making decisions, and be stronger with the person who abused you. If the abuser is a parent, you can share it with your teachers and friends. The school will take measures to help you stabilize your psychology, and at the same time discuss with your family so that parents can change the wrong way of education and stop the behaviors that hurt their children’s psyche.
In fact, many people have absolutely no concept of emotional abuse. Limited knowledge makes them not know how to share, understand and think that the victim is being overly sensitive. This situation makes the victim weak, lack of confidence and continue to tolerate abusive behavior. Therefore, you should choose trustworthy and knowledgeable people to share this issue with.
4. Legal intervention when necessary
The law has clear provisions on acts of infringing upon honor, dignity, etc., causing psychological and spiritual damage to others. Depending on the severity of the behavior, the abuser can be fined or imprisoned from 3 months to 7 years. In the event that the other party does not compromise and continuously commits acts of mental violence, you should report it to the police for support.
To facilitate the investigation process, you should collect evidence of abusive behavior (messages, clips, audio files, …). If your partner is constantly threatening, you also need legal protection to avoid the abuser’s aggressive behavior.
There are many cases where the victim has ended the relationship but the abuser is still clinging. In this case, you should seek legal intervention to avoid unfortunate situations. Besides, it is advisable to move in with family, friends or other relatives to ensure safety.
5. Strive to improve yourself
People who suffer from mental violence always consider themselves incompetent, weak, lacking confidence and pessimistic. This is the result of reproachful, critical and insulting words. So after overcoming emotional abuse, you should make efforts to improve yourself to be more confident in life.
In addition, having the ability will also help you easily find a job, be financially independent and have a voice when getting married. In the case of family violence, trying to improve yourself will help you impress your parents and get rid of criticism and blame. In addition, when you have enough capacity, you will also easily find a job and move out to avoid violence from family members.
6. Take care of mental health
Psychology will be seriously affected after experiencing emotional abuse. Therefore, you need to take care and relaxation measures to stabilize your mind. Restoring mental health helps you feel more comfortable, confident in life and motivated to overcome difficulties and challenges.
First, it is necessary to take care of physical health, ensure a moderate diet and scientific activities. Being physically healthy will support you mentally through the trauma and instability caused by violence. In addition, you should also spend time on relaxing activities such as massage, meditation, exercise, herbal tea, etc. to relieve your mood and find balance.
7. Healing trauma with psychotherapy
In fact, there are many people who are deeply traumatized by mental abuse. Trauma can develop leading to psychological problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, Self-Harm syndrome, personality disorders, etc. Therefore, you should intervene in psychotherapy in case of necessity.
Psychotherapy helps to stabilize the mind and release emotions. In addition, experts will also help you learn how to control your personal emotions, equip life skills and adapt to life’s difficulties. If you are a student, you can go to school psychology counseling rooms for support. Or you can also share with teachers about the situation you are facing for support.
Mental abuse is a common form of abuse that is rarely taken into account. This type of abuse causes serious consequences that are not inferior to physical abuse. Therefore, the victims themselves need to be strong to overcome in order to lead a better life.