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Examples of emotional abuse

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

(Part 1)

Emotional abuse casts a shadow that can be just as damaging as more visible types of abuse. This blog post aims to provide examples of damaging types of emotional abuse which often can be hard to recognize.

sad women looking through window experiencing emotional abuse


"You're xxx; I can't believe I have to explain everything to you."

"You're embarrassing me with xx"

Destructive criticism:

"You're useless; you can't do anything right."

"No one else would put up with you like me"

sad women with flowers affected by abuse

Undermining self-worth

"No one would hire you or want you.”

Blame shifting

"This is all your fault. If you were better, I wouldn't have to treat you this way."

"You made me do this; you know how to push my buttons."

fire in the mountain like person who is abusive


"No one else would want you."

"You're a failure; look at how much you've messed up your life."

Guilt tripping

"I do everything for you, and this is how you repay me?"

women in front of the court in abusive relationship this is part of everyday life

Conditional love

"I'll only love you if you meet my expectations and do as I say."

"You're lucky to have someone like me who puts up with you."

love cupons is compared to conditional love in emotional abuse


"Stop making everything about you; you're just seeking attention."

Your requests, wants, and needs are ridiculous/unmerited”


"Look at you, thinking you're smart. You're just embarrassing yourself."

women sitting distressed exhausted from emotional abuse

Silent treatment

"I'm not going to talk to you until you apologize and admit you were wrong."

"You don't deserve my attention; maybe then you'll appreciate me more."

man during silent treatment

Emotional blackmail

"Your flaws or are at fault, you did xx wrong, we should not talk about what I am doing wrong"

"You responsible for my poor choices or mistakes"

Undermining accomplishments

"That's the best you could do? I expected more from you."

"Anyone could have achieved that; it's not that impressive."

trophies stored treasures which do not matter

As we bring this part of illustrations of emotional abuse to a close, it's evident that understanding its nuanced manifestations is a crucial step toward fostering healthier relationships. However, our journey doesn't end here. In the Part 2 (click here to read), I delve even more types of emotional abuse.

If you or someone you know is navigating the complexities of emotional abuse, as a psychologist, I provide therapy online and in person in Veldhoven (Eindhoven), Netherlands for those experiencing emotional abuse and also for those committing it. Let's continue this important conversation together.

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