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What is Psychological Abuse

What is Psychological Abuse

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Published by Dorothy Krajewski

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Published by: Dorothy Krajewski on May 04, 2011
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What is Psychological Abuse?
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We tend to think about abuse along a continuum with the effects of physical abuse being considered“more harmful” than psychological abuse. This is because psychological abuse, unlike physical abuse,leaves no visible scars or bruises, making it harder to detect. Doctors, counsellors, therapists andsocial workers may not link a person’s presenting concerns to current or past psychological abuse,particularly when a victim has doubts about his/her own perceptions, or fails to link their problems toa psychological trauma.
 
Neglectful Tactics Deliberate TacticsDenying Emotional Responsiveness
 
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failing to provide care in a sensitive andresponsive manner;
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interacting in a detached and uninvolvedmanner;
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interacting only when necessary;
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ignoring the other person’s attempts tointeract (for example, treating an older adult who lives in a residence or institution asthough she/he is “a job to be done”)
 
Accusing, blaming and jealous control
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telling a person repeatedly that he/she hascaused the abuse;
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blaming the person unfairly for everythingthat goes wrong;
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accusing the person of having affairs or flirtingwith others;
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making the person feel they cannot be trusted;
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checking up on their activities;
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demanding the person account for everymoment of the day;
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using anger to control the other person
.
 
Discounting
 –
not giving any credence to the person’s point of view;
 –
not validating the person’s feelings;
 –
claiming the behaviour was meant as a joke.
 
Criticizing behaviour and ridiculing traits
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continuously finding fault with the otherperson or making the person feel nothinghe/she does is ever right;
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setting unrealistic standards;
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belittling the person’s thoughts, ideas andachievements;
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diminishing the identity, dignity and self‐worth of the person;
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mimicking her/him.
 
Ignoring
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purposefully not acknowledging thepresence, value or contribution of the other;
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acting as though the other person were not there.
 
Degrading
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insulting, ridiculing, name calling, imitating, orinfantilizing;
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yelling, swearing, publicly humiliating orlabelling the other person as stupid
.
 
Denying or forgetting
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denying that any abuse has ever taken place;
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telling the person no one would believe theaccusations because it is all in his/her head;
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forgetting promises or agreements
.
 
Harassing
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repeatedly contacting, following or watchingthe other person;
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‘keeping tabs’ on him/her through others; –sending unwanted gifts
.
 
1
 
Canada. National Clearinghouse on Family Violence.
Psychological 
 
 Abuse:
 
 A
 
Discussion
 
Paper 
. Prepared by DeborahDoherty and Dorothy Berglund. Ottawa: Public Health Agency of Canada, 2008.
 

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