Psychological abuse comes in the form of control, deception, denial, invalidation, ridicule, contradiction, and derogatory statements that cause harm and interfere with the psychological adjustment of a person.

These statements are attacks or passive-aggressive comments on the victim’s competence, (“You can’t do anything right; you’re just a big dummy”) or character (e.g., “You’re so lazy, no one will ever love you as I do, you are too big/fat /not the most beautiful, but I still love you, good for nothing, etc).

Sometimes a statement is made to sound like a compliment but starts with a disparaging comment covered with praise. When the targeted person expresses concern about these comments, the intentions get twisted into making it sound like this person is too sensitive, overreacting, or can not take a joke.

Emotional abuse happens when a person controls another person using emotions, criticism, embarrassment, intimidation, shame, gaslighting, blame, and manipulation.

In general, an emotionally abusive relationship is when there is a consistent pattern of, bullying, inappropriate, demeaning, and offensive words and/or behaviors that wear down and disarm a person’s defenses.