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National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or (TTY) 1-800-787-3224

Learn about Abuse

UPDATED June 21, 2012

Abuse comes in many different forms. Even if there is no violence, abusive language can be very damaging to you and your children. Common forms of emotional or psychological abuse are when your partner undermines your sense of self-worth by:
  • constantly criticizing you, your intelligence, your looks, your parenting abilities, etc.
  • calling you names, telling you that you are crazy, that no one wants you, making fun of you in front of others, etc.
  • damaging your relationship with your children by getting the children to participate in the abuse (e.g., telling your children to refer to you by a nasty name), criticizing your children or forcing you to do so, telling the children that you are worthless, that they should not listen to you, etc.
Other forms of psychological abuse are when your partner causes you fear by intimidation, threatens to harm to himself/herself, abuses pets or destroys property, causes you to be isolated from friends, family, school and/or work.

Advocates who work with victims and survivors of domestic violence understand that these forms of emotional and psychological abuse can be just as damaging as physical and sexual abuse.  For ways to get help, you can go to our Emotional Abuse national resources or talk to an advocate or counselor at your local domestic violence organization, listed on our State and Local Programs page.

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