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When you picture domestic violence, you probably imagine a black eye or other assorted bruises. Sometimes, however, the marks of domestic abuse aren’t visual. Emotional abuse also constitutes domestic violence, and yet, victims often fail to receive the support they so desperately need.

Not only is emotional abuse a form of domestic violence, it’s the most common type of abuse. In Psychology Today, Dr. Steven Stosny explains that few situations can harm a spouse more than living with an emotionally abusive partner.

Why Is Emotional Abuse So Harmful?

Emotional abuse can take many forms, but it nearly always leads to a fearful spouse who alters behavior in hopes of keeping the abusive person happy. Abusers use tactics often seen in POW camps, as they realize that it’s easier to exert control via emotional manipulation than through physical means. Such behavior can leave lasting scars, including feelings of helplessness or shame. Many victims of emotional abuse struggle with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues.

Stopping the Cycle of Abuse

While life with an emotionally abusive spouse can be miserable, it’s possible to break free not only from the problematic relationship, but also from the lasting trauma that such abuse may inflict. Professional help is imperative, particularly for those who do not yet feel capable of leaving an abusive partner. From couples counseling to support groups, a variety of avenues can be pursued to minimize emotional damage and reduce the risk of falling into dangerous coping mechanisms.

Domestic violence may be your present reality, but it doesn’t need to be part of your future. With the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. on your side, you can finally end the cycle and move forward with your life. Reach out today to learn more about opportunities for gaining much-needed legal protection.