What is emotional abuse?

Published on August 5, 2019

Emotional abuse is not as apparent as other forms of violence, however, it can be just as damaging. Emotional abuse can also start later in a relationship, after the abuser has groomed the person that they want to control. Groomingstarts with small abuses to see how much the person will tolerate.  Emotional abuse is a control tactic to devalue someone, so the person feels powerless.  Emotional abuse can also be used to manipulate others. Here are some forms of emotional abuse.


Intimidation can come in the form of threats, scary emotional reactions and punishment.  “If you do not do what I say, then…..”


Devaluing can come in the form of backhanded compliments, public humiliation, smear campaigns and hurtful criticism.

Smear campaigns

Smear campaigns are used to ruin the reputation of another person.  The abuser targets the person’s friends and family, colleagues or community.  A smear campaign consists of negative gossip about the targeted person.  


This could be a parent turning a child against the other parent and their family, or a partner turning the targeted partner away from friends and family.This could be a parent turning a child against the other parent and their family, or a partner turning the targeted partner away from friends and family.


Lying or manipulating the other person so that the abuser does not have to take responsibility for their actions or to make the other person feel crazy.  An example would be catching the abuser in a lie, and then the abuser turning around and telling the personthey are insane, seeing things, or that didn’t happen 


Harmful manipulation is done to get someone else to do something that they would not normally do.  


Stalking is a violation of privacy to gather information, intimidate, control or manipulate. This form of abuse leaves someone feeling unsafe and violated. If you are being stalked, makesafety a priority.


Do you feel that you are going through some kind of emotional abuse? A professional can help. To set up an appointment with me please contact +852 2521 4668 or email m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash

Category(s):Abuse / Abuse Survivor Issues, Complex PTSD, Ending a relationship issues, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) / Trauma / Complex PTSD, Relationships & Marriage

Written by:

Dr Monica Borschel

Dr Borschel specialises in Attachment and Loss. She is experienced in helping adults, teens, children, and families adjust to anxiety, trauma, abuse, divorce, separation, or loss of a loved one.

Dr. Borschel’s attachment-based psychodynamic therapy along with EMDR, enables her clients to find healing within themselves. In so doing, she can help adults, teens, and children to overcome grief, anxiety, trauma, neglect, emotional, verbal, physical abuse, and child abuse.

Furthermore, as an attachment specialist, she also helps individuals understand relationship patterns which prevent them from developing or maintaining healthy relationships. She is able to help reduce anxiety, insomnia, depression and promote confidence and self-esteem. This may include deciding what is in the best interest of the children during custody disputes, strengthening the relationship and communication between the parents and the children.

Dr. Borschel is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. She graduated with her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University in New York City. She later moved to Hong Kong to pursue her doctorate at the University of Hong Kong in Social Work and Social Administration.

Registered Clinical Psychologist with The Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology. Member of the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Counseling Association (ACA), The British Psychological Society (BPS), the Hong Kong Family Law Association (HKFLA) and EMDRIA certified therapist.

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