Not every domestic violence situation involves physically striking one’s partner. Sometimes, blows come in the form of emotional or verbal abuse. 

The Office on Women’s Health describes how verbal and emotional abuse functions. Those facing domestic violence charges or accusations must understand the nuances of abuse to ensure the best possible resolution.

Examples of non-physical abuse

Specific instances of verbal or emotional abuse include: 

  • Threats of self-harm when upset with the other partner 
  • Demanding to know the other partner’s whereabouts at all times  
  • Demanding access to personal accounts, such as social media profiles and email
  • Controlling the other partner’s finances 
  • Attempting to keep the other person from going to work or school 

Another example of non-physical abuse is one partner humiliating the other in front of people. It should be noted that non-physical abuse can come in many other forms as well depending on specific circumstances.

Origins of non-physical abuse

Sometimes, verbal and emotional abuse spring from an unexpected place. One partner may come across as charming and caring at the beginning of the relationship before displaying signs of emotional abuse as the relationship matures.

Victims sometimes blame themselves and feel guilty for being in a relationship with an abuser. Some abusers want their victims to feel closely connected to them, which can ultimately make the situation that much more devastating.

Effects of non-physical abuse  

Victims of emotional or verbal domestic abuse often suffer mentally, emotionally and physically. Harmful words and actions may lead to anxiety or depression for the victim, or he or she could experience chronic pain. Victims may feel powerless in their situation, experience shame or feel constant worry about angering their abusive partner. 

Some victims live in an ongoing state of overwhelming stress about appeasing their partner. Those who feel threatened may call 911 or seek help from a friend, relative or therapist.