What is Emotional Abuse?

Emotional abuse is one form of abuse that people can experience in a relationship.

Though emotional abuse doesn’t leave physical scars, it can have a huge impact on your confidence and self-esteem.

There are different types of emotional abuse which are not noticeable at first.

This might be a problem if you...feel like you are not good enough, you are afraid of your partner leaving you, you are called names by your partner or they put you down.

Many concerning relationships involve aspects of emotional abuse. The aim of emotional abuse is to chip away at a person’s feelings of self-worth and independence.

In an emotionally abusive relationship, a person may feel that there is no way out of the relationship or that without their partner they will have nothing.

Emotional abuse can feel equally as destructive and damaging as physical abuse to a person’s mental health.

It's common for physically abusive relationships to also include aspects of emotional abuse as this is how power and control is maintained within the relationship.

Some types of emotional abuse can include:

Verbal - yelling, insulting or swearing at someone
Rejection - pretending not to notice someone’s presence, conversation or value
Put downs - name calling, public embarrassment, calling someone stupid, blaming them for everything
Being afraid - causing someone to feel afraid, intimidated or threatened
Isolation - limiting freedom of movement, stopping someone from contacting other people (like friends or family)
Money - controlling someone’s money, withholding money, preventing someone from working, stealing or taking money
Bullying- purposely and repeatedly saying or doing hurtful things to someone.

Though physical violence is often seen as being more serious than emotional abuse, this is not the case.

The scars of emotional abuse are real and long lasting. Emotional abuse can leave a person feeling depressed, anxious and even suicidal, as well as having a negative impact on self-esteem and confidence.

If you are experiencing emotional abuse it is important for you to seek help.

What can I do now?

Learn more about different types of abuse
Talk to someone who understands abusive and violent relationships
Work on your self-confidence


​Effects of Bullying
Bullying can affect everyone—those who are bullied, those who bully, and those who witness bullying.

Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide.

It is important to talk to children to determine whether bullying—or something else—is a concern.


Children Who are Bullied
Children who are bullied can experience negative physical, emotional and mental health issues.

They are more likely to experience: depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy, health complaints, decreased academic achievement— they are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.

These issues may persist into adulthood.

Children Who Bully Others
Children who bully others can also engage in violent and other risky behaviors into adulthood. They are more likely to:
abuse alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults, get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school, engage in early sexual activity, have criminal convictions as adults, be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses, or children as adults

Children who witness bullying are more likely to:
Have increased use of tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs. Have increased mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.
Miss or skip school

​​​​​​​​Effects of Sexual Assault
Sexual violence can have psychological, emotional, and physical effects on a survivor. These effects are not always easy to deal with, but with the right help and support they can be managed. Learning more can help you find the best form of care to begin the healing process.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Prolonged feelings of anxiety, stress, or fear can be a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Some survivors of sexual assault result to self-harm as a way to cope with difficult or painful feelings.


It is possible for memories of a past trauma to feel like they are taking place in the current moment.

Sexually Transmitted Infections
STIs can occur during sexual contact.

Feelings of sadness and unhappiness that have a negative impact on your life could be a sign of depression.

Substance Use
There are a number of reasons that survivors report using substances like alcohol and drugs.

Other reactions and effects of sexual assault:
Eating Disorders
Sleep Disorders




How to Talk About Bullying
Parents, school staff, and other caring adults have a role to play in preventing bullying.

They can:

Help children understand bullying.

Talk about what bullying is and how to stand up to it safely.

Educate children on bullying and how to get help.
Keep the lines of communication open. Listen to them.

Know their friends, ask about school, and understand their concerns.

Encourage them to engage in their hobbies to boost confidence.

Model how to treat others with kindness and respect.

Children who know what bullying is can better identify it.

They can talk about bullying if it happens to them or others.

Children need to know ways to safely stand up to bullying and how to get help.

Encourage children to speak to a trusted adult.

Encourage the child to report bullying if it happens.
Talk about how to stand up to children who bully.

Give tips, like using humor and saying “stop” directly and confidently.

Talk about what to do if those actions do not work, like walking away.

Talk about strategies for staying safe, like staying near adults or groups of other kids.


Keep the lines of communication open.

Sometimes spending 15 minutes a day talking to your child can help to reassure your child in case they have a problem.

Start conversations about daily life and feelings with questions like these:

What was one good thing that happened today?

Any bad things?

What is lunch time like at your school?

Who do you sit with?

What do you talk about?

What is it like toride the school bus?

What are you good at?

What would do you like best about yourself?

Talking about bullying directly is an important step in understanding how the issue might be affecting kids.

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions, but it is important to encourage kids to answer them honestly.

Assure children that they are not alone in addressing any problems that arise.


Start conversations about bullying with questions like these:

What does “bullying” mean to you?

Describe what kids who bully are like.

Why do you think people bully?

Have you everfelt scared to go to school because you were afraid of bullying?

What ways have you triedto change it?

What do you think parents cando to help stop bullying?

Have you or your friendsleft other kids out on purpose?

Do you think that was bullying?

Why or why not?

What do you usuallydo when you see bullying going on?

Do you ever seechildren at your school being bullied by other kids?

How does it make you feel?

Have you ever tried tohelp someone who is being bullied?

What happened?

What would you do if it happens again?
Get more ideas for talking with children about life and about bullying.


If concerns come up, be sure to respond.
There are simple ways that parents and caregivers can keep up-to-date with kids’ lives.

Read class newsletters and school flyers.
Talk about them at home.

Check the school website
Go to school events
Greet the bus driver
Meet teachers and counselors at “Back to School”
night or reach out by email

Share phone numbers with other kids’ parents




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