In crisis now? DIAL 000
Emotional abuse

Is Emotional Abuse Considered Domestic Violence?

Emotional abuse, also known as verbal or psychological abuse, is the use of words, behaviours, and body language to maintain power and control over someone. In abusive relationships, emotional abuse is often accompanied by physical, sexual or financial abuse; learn more about other types of domestic violence here.


Healthy conflict vs emotional abuse

Healthy conflict


Emotional Abuse


What does emotional abuse look like?

Being continually subjected to unrealistic expectations, for example


Being continually invalidated


Living in fear of a partner’s temper


Being the target of emotional blackmail


Being treated as inferior


Being controlled and/or isolated


Red flags to watch for:


What are the impacts of emotional abuse?

Emotional abuse generally leaves a person feeling trapped in their relationship but too afraid to leave because the risk of something bad happening if they do leave is too high. It has severely damaging effects on a person’s mental health and self-esteem, as well as their relationships with other people outside of the relationship.


Impacts of emotional abuse include:


Q and A:

Will emotional abuse turn into physical abuse? 

It might, but not necessarily. The consequences of emotional abuse can be as severe as those of physical abuse. Emotional abuse by itself qualifies as domestic violence and is a very valid reason to leave a relationship.


Will emotional abuse stop? 

Sometimes emotional abuse is unintentional and the result of complex trauma or serious mental health issues by a partner. Frequently, it is intentional. Regardless of whether emotional abuse is intentional or not, it will not stop of its own accord. It requires deep emotional work and professional help.


Where can I get help for emotional abuse? 

Visit our prepare section for tips on increasing your safety. Other useful online resources include: 


If you think you may be experiencing emotional abuse, visit our Prepare section to improve your safety whilst living with an emotionally abusive person. 


Search YourToolkit