What Is Emotional Abuse?
It’s usually hidden, often occurring behind closed doors. It can look like bullying, mocking, insulting, yelling, or threatening another person. It can also be seen as neglecting, deceiving, manipulating, or rejecting someone. It’s abuse. And no matter what form it takes, verbal and emotional abuse can leave wounds that last a lifetime. Whether you’ve been hurt by abuse or have yourself hurt others, God can heal and restore you to be the person He created you to be. In these Keys for Living, learn how to heal from past pain, establish boundaries in your relationships, and find victory over verbal and emotional abuse.
“You’re worthless!” … “You’ll never amount to anything!” … “I wish you had never been born!” Words like these in childhood can wound the heart for a lifetime. And further wounding takes place in adulthood when “control” is the name of the game. Threats like … “If you leave me, I’ll hurt the children!” or “I’ve taken the keys—you’re not going anywhere!”… are both emotionally and verbally abusive and are ways of maintaining control in relationships.
Emotional abuse is the unseen fallout of all other forms of abuse: physical, mental, verbal, sexual, and even spiritual abuse. People often minimize the importance of emotions. Yet with deeply wounded people, feelings can be the driving force behind their choices. At that point, for those people, their emotions become the life-sustaining element of their very beings. Emotional abuse strikes at the very core of who we are … crushing our confidence … wearing away our sense of worth.
Abuse can be perpetrated without a word − whether with degrading looks, obscene gestures or threatening behaviors. These actions inflict immense pain and impede emotional growth. You don’t have to allow an abuser to make you feel worthless. Jesus says that God knows not only each and every sparrow, but He also knows you intimately and gives you worth.
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Emotional abuse is the unseen fallout of all other forms of abuse: physical, mental, verbal, sexual, and even spiritual abuse. People often minimize the importance of emotions. Yet with deeply wounded people, their feelings can be the driving force behind their choices … the life-sustaining element of their very beings. Emotional abuse strikes at the very core of who we are … crushing our confidence … wearing away our sense of worth … crushing our spirit. The Bible says,
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
- Emotional abuse is any ongoing, negative behavior used to control or hurt another person.
- Emotional abuse ranges from consistent indifference to continual belittling of character.
- All forms of abuse—emotional, verbal, mental, physical, spiritual, and sexual—damage a person’s sense of dignity and God-given worth.
- All forms of abuse wound the spirit of a person and, therefore, are emotionally abusive. Proverbs, the book of wisdom, says,
“A crushed spirit who can bear?”
- Emotional abuse or “psychological mistreatment” scars the spirit of the one abused.
- The damage from emotional abuse lasts far longer than damage from any other kind of abuse. A broken arm will soon heal; a broken heart takes much longer.
- After extended periods of emotional abuse, many victims lose hope, feeling that life is not worth living.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick.”
- Emotional abuse can be passive-aggressive.
- Passive-aggressive abuse is a means of indirect, underhanded control; hence, the term is passive-aggressive.
- Passive-aggressive abusers express their anger through nonassertive, covert behavior. In an attempt to gain covert control, they often use manipulation as...
God desires to give you hope as you face life challenges, problems and difficult trials. The good news for us, God specializes in redemption and transformation.
He takes that which was lost and restores it. He takes that which was dead and gives it life. He takes that which had no hope and rewrites its story. This is our God! As you pray today, ask God boldly to transform the thing inside you that you want to see changed forever!
Our Women of Faith Keys for Living resources are designed to assist you in transforming and being the transformation story, you know God has in store for you.