The signs of physical and sexual abuse are often visible, which makes it easier for outsiders to approach victims and offer assistance. Emotional abuse, on the other hand, has few physical markers. Victims of emotional abuse frequently do not recognize the damage being done to their own mental and physical health.

Since emotional abuse is more insidious in nature, it’s important to recognize that there are several different ways to identify emotional abuse. Experts agree, however, that an overall definition of emotional abuse is the persistent attempt to control someone, the same way that physical abuse is used.

Emotional abuse targets individuals through criticism, shaming, humiliation and blaming in efforts to manipulate them into submission. Most abusive relationships display consistent patterns of bullying behavior that wear down a person’s self-esteem and mental health. Abusers tend to pressure victims into silence, and silence can lead to isolation, which often causes victims to lose contact and intimacy with a majority of friends and family.

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