Can Verbal or Emotional Abuse Lead to Domestic Physical Abuse?

Posted in Domestic Violence on October 15, 2020

Verbal and emotional abuse are nonphysical forms of domestic violence. While you may not feel you are being abused if you have no physical injuries, emotional abuse can be just as damaging to you mentally and psychologically as physical abuse. In many cases, emotional or verbal abuse can also lead to physical abuse. Verbal, emotional and psychological abuse are common precursors to physical violence in domestic abuse situations.

What Are the Signs of Emotional Abuse?

Emotional abuse does not involve physical contact between you and an aggressor. It describes different types of nonphysical abuse, such as making you feel inadequate or insecure through words used against you. Emotional abuse and verbal abuse typically go hand-in-hand. An aggressor may use verbal abuse to harm, control or manipulate you emotionally.

  • Using threats or intimidation to control you
  • Threatening to hurt you or the people (or pets) you love
  • Implying self-harm if you do not comply with his or her wishes
  • Preventing you from communicating with your friends and family
  • Isolating you at home
  • Refusing to allow you to work
  • Exhibiting jealous or controlling behaviors
  • Belittling, insulting, criticizing or demeaning you
  • Blaming you for things that are not your fault
  • Giving you the silent treatment
  • Using aggressive or abusive language
  • Demanding the passwords for your personal accounts
  • Controlling your finances

In general, any actions or behaviors used to control, scare or isolate you constitute emotional abuse. Some signs of emotional abuse are obvious while others are discreet. Emotional abuse may start suddenly after someone has behaved normally and non-abusively for the beginning of the relationship. This can make emotional abuse more difficult to spot as it becomes a problem later. If you suspect emotional or verbal abuse, take action before things become physical.

The Connection Between Nonphysical and Physical Domestic Abuse

The effects of verbal and emotional abuse can be significant enough within themselves to make it critical to get yourself out of the situation. Emotional abuse is a type of domestic abuse just like physical abuse. It can have long-lasting adverse effects on your mental and physical health. Victims of verbal and emotional abuse have experienced chronic physical pain, depression, anxiety and many other negative health effects. Another concern you should have if you are experiencing emotional abuse is the possibility of it preceding physical abuse.

Someone who abuses another person emotionally and/or verbally already show signs of control issues. Most aggressors begin abusing victims emotionally as a way to exert power over another person. If emotional or verbal abuse does not have the desired effect, or if the aggressor realizes he or she can get away with emotional abuse, the aggressor may turn to physical abuse as the next step. It is also common for an emotionally abusive relationship to involve volatile fights that can turn physical.

What to Do If You Are Experiencing Emotional or Verbal Abuse

Recognizing emotional abuse and getting help right away could be critical for your physical and mental safety. The moment you believe someone is emotionally or verbally abusing you, tell a trusted friend or family member before it turns into physical abuse. Then, contact a professional for assistance getting out of the domestic violence situation safely. Trained professionals can help you leave the home you share with an aggressor without risking your personal safety.

Call the police if you believe you are in immediate danger. The police can intervene and may arrest the aggressor for domestic violence or abuse. The police can also connect you to resources such as a shelter or help center. You do not need a physical injury to report domestic abuse to the police. Emotional abuse can also lead to an arrest. Contact an attorney for assistance obtaining a protective order, such as a restraining order, if you feel you need one. If emotional, verbal or physical domestic abuse has given you losses such as physical injuries, medical bills, lost wages, physical pain or emotional suffering, an attorney can help you go up against your aggressor with a civil claim as well.