WON Landing Page OCT 2022

Mental and Emotional Abuse: It’s Not Always Physical

Part two of my domestic abuse series, sponsored by GTM Original, covers types of abuse that many don’t recognize, even those in the abusive situation. Used interchangeably, mental and emotional abuse are both ways for someone to control another person. The abuse comes from spoken offenses (verbal abuse) such as threats, criticism and bullying. An abuser uses manipulation, shaming and intimidation to undermine a person’s mental health, chip away at her self-esteem and dominate his victim. 

Sponsored by GTM Original

Recognizing Mental and Emotional Abuse

As I mentioned in this first part of this series, sometimes those in abusive relationships don’t realize what they experience on a daily basis isn’t the norm. I created the following list after researching a few different websites about mental and emotional abuse. Consider the following questions and decide for yourself if any sound familiar.


Does this person:

  • Expect you to drop everything and meet his needs?
  • Demand you spend all of your time together?
  • Criticize you for not completing tasks according to his standards.
  • Expect you to share all his opinions?
  • Refuse to accept your feelings by trying to define how you should feel?
  • Accuse you of being “too sensitive,” “too emotional,” or “crazy?”
  • Start arguments for the sake of arguing?
  • Make confusing and contradictory statements?
  • Have drastic mood changes or sudden emotional outbursts?
  • Behave so erratically and unpredictably that you feel like you are “walking on eggshells?”
  • Pick fights or make fun of your shortcomings in public?
  • Treat you like you are inferior?
  • Make jokes that make you look foolish? 
  • Tell you that your opinions, ideas, values, and thoughts are stupid, illogical, or “don’t make sense?”
  • Try to control who you spend time with?
  • Monitor your text messages, mail or email?
  • Accuse you of cheating and being jealous of outside relationships?
  • Demand to know where you are at all times?
  • Treat you like his possession or property?
  • Belittle your accomplishments or even claim responsibly for your success?
  • Do things that he knows pushes your buttons every chance he gets? 
  • Tell you that you’re lucky to be with him or that you’ll never find someone better?

Those who experience physical abuse were almost always abused mentally and emotionally first.

Physical Symptoms

Now that you’ve read some of the things the abuser may do, consider the following physical symptoms a victim may experience that I found at healthline.com. These symptoms often go unexplained, even after numerous medical exams and tests. 

verbal abuse speech bubble

You may notice: 

  • Appetite changes
  • Upset stomach or nausea
  • Stomach pain and other gastrointestinal distress
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue 
The wounds of mental and verbal abuse are invisible.

Victims of Mental and Emotional Abuse

As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, many victims of mental and emotional abuse don’t realize they are being abused because usually it’s not physical. These invisible wounds may include low self-esteem, self-doubt, feelings of inadequacy or worthlessness. Often, victims develop coping mechanisms to deal with the abuse. This may develop into devastating long term effects which may include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and dependency on alcohol, drugs or even food. However, mental and emotional abuse doesn’t have to leave a lasting impact. Victims can learn to cope and overcome the abuse they experienced through intervention and counseling.

You deserve to be treated with respect and kindness.

Recognizing and accepting that you (or someone you know) is in an abusive relationship is just the beginning of what could become a very long journey. However, it is a start. Please consider following this series sponsored by GTM Original and sharing it with others who may be in a similar situation. 

Fat and happy abusive language

Part one — Understanding and Identifying Domestic Abuse

Next month, I will offer resources and tools to prepare a safety plan

  • About Michelle Cerino

    Michelle Cerino, aka Princess Gunslinger, entered the firearms industry in 2011 when Cerino Training Group was established. She immediately began competing in both 3-Gun and NRA Action Pistol, becoming a sponsored shooter. Michelle is currently a columnist and Managing Editor of Women’s Outdoor News, as well as owner of Pervenio LLC. She also manages social media for Vera Koo and GTM Original. Michelle encourages others to step out of the comforts of home and explore.


The Conversation

One Comment
  • Gene Benedetto. Psychologist/Emeritus says: June 22, 2021 at 9:43 am

    I wish to express my gratitude to WON for offering high quality articles for women, especially those dealing with SELF PROTECTION and specifically recognizing and dealing with abuse in relationships. Control, manipulation and abuse is a serious issue in our world, and the number of Narcissistic, Sociopathic and even Psychotic individuals in our world seem to be on the increase.

    I am especially pleased to see the articles by Michelle Cerino, the Princess Gunslinger, and I would hope that these cause an awakening in the minds WON’s many readers that abuse in relationships may begin in subtle ways, or behaviors that may easily be shrugged off, but they must be dealt with or they become devastating and life changing factors in one’s life.