There are many forms of abuse–many of which are not physical–that not a lot of people talk about.
The maltreatment of others can be so subtle, the victim may not even recognize they are being bullied, perpetually undermined, or dismissed altogether until they long after the fact.
Curious to hear what others experienced in an attempt to identify the abuse Redditor TheBeardedAntt asked:
"What’s a form of mental abuse that no one really talks about?"
Constantly not getting validated eventually chips away at your confidence.
"When someone consistently undermines your interests and goals and mocks you for them."
"Constantly undermining someone or second guessing someone. My brother does this on a regular basis about big, small or totally irrelevant stuff. At first I didn't think much of it but after a long time it started to make me not be able to make decisions properly because I was always told my decisions were wrong. It took a lot of time to come to the conclusion that even if my decisions are wrong, they're MY decisions and I'm learning from my own mistakes."
"Death by a thousand paper cuts."
"When you finally crack, as you should since you are literally being tortured, they paint you as the crazy one. They also cut you in private, until they know you are at your breaking point, then do something seemingly innocuous in public to cause you to explode."
"Some people are really good at it. My mother was very good at it, much to my mother-in-laws chagrin. My MIL is an idiot compared to my mother, so her attempts just look stupid and amateurish to me."
Piling On The Guilt
"Definitely guilt tripping. Both of my exes used to take everything I did 'wrong' as a personal attack and used it to try to make me feel guilty. I want to see my best friend instead of them today? Oh, you must not love me. I didn’t get the right order from Starbucks? You must not care enough to remember the right order. Even worse is when I’m mad at something they did and they use me being mad to guilt trip me, leading to me having to apologize for something they did!"
"I see it all the time and nobody calls people out for doing this, but it really infuriates me."
Not all adults are fit for parenting.
"Neglect. People always talk about abuse. But neglect, as humorous as it may sound gets neglected. When I was a teenager I would regularly go missing for days. I'd purposely dip out and go to friends houses with a packed bag and tell their parents my mom said it was ok for me to stay for a week."
"My friends parents must've understood no one cared about me at home and would oblige me and let me stay. I'd return home after a few days and see if anyone knew I was gone. After asking if they knew I wasn't home I'd always get a "No, you were out? Oh well that's nice." Once I left for 10 days. I snuck back in that time thinking they have to know I wasn't home and I would be in trouble. I came in through the back door and could clearly hear my mom and stepdad watching TV and enjoying themselves. I break it to them that I wasn't home for 10 days after questioning them in regards of whether they noticed I was gone. They tell me "We thought you were in your room." I was 16 at the time."
"Yeah, you are correct, it f'ks with your head pretty bad. Once as a teenager I stayed up all night with stomach ache and spent the morning puking, after brown ooze came up I figured f'k this I want to go to the hospital, so I tell my mother and she just brushes it off 'you are fine'."
"I call my friend and his mother takes me to the hospital and I have my appendix removed. Anyhow, I already distrusted my mother but after this I knew to never count on her. It was not a question of means, we have free healthcare, middle class etc."
"Same. My parents once left me alone at 11 for 2 weeks to go on vacation. Never checked up on me and I skipped school the entire time. Finally found out a year later and when they asked how I just said 'no one ever asked.' They gave me rules like I 5 minutes to talk to them after school because I was 'annoying.' I couldn’t see for years because they’d forget that I needed glasses."
"It lead me to develop selective-mutism and I spent most of my childhood on my own and disappearing for long periods of time. If I had an issue I learned to either deal with it myself or be silent about it. Many relatives and friends parents along the way that would 'adopt' me and would basically teach me how to be a functioning person. I grew up too fast yet also lacked basic social skills:knowledge (at one point I was tested for autism because of it). I opened up more later on but I still have those habits that creep in once in a while."
"Any kind of fear based parenting."
"I remember how you made me feel when I was small and vulnerable. I was afraid. No you didn’t hit me that hard, but that’s by adult standards. To me you were a giant 3 times my size."
"If a child is afraid of you they won’t trust you. Ever."
Ticking Off Boxes
"Being brought up by parents who think that if you’re fed, watered & clothed that’s their responsibilities completed."
"Not allowing children to make choices."
"I was raised by parents who dictated most decisions. Making good choices is a necessary skill. I think children raised this way do not develop a sense of autonomy. I have a terrible time making decisions, and I don't care about many things like color choices, food, recreation, and more important life choices like partners and occupations. It is harder to find pleasure in life when choices are based on what you dislike the least."
The people you bring into your life may not always be who you had hoped they were.
"Getting rid of your stuff without asking. Filming you without asking. Going through your phone and belongings without asking. Nothing f'ks up your trust more than your privacy constantly being invaded. Thousands of pictures, gone. All my social media, gone. Almost all my contacts, gone. My jacket I got for Christmas, gone. All without my knowledge or permission."
"EDIT: My EX did all of this sh*t. My parents are lovely and would never do such awful things."
Walking On Thin Ice
"Living with a narcissist and never knowing what will set them off. Did you say something in the wrong tone? Did you have a good day and want to talk about it? It's like walking on thin ice all of the time and it's stressful because you never know what will set them off."
"Financial abuse. I didn't even know it was a legitimate thing until recently."
"I wish more people recognized it as ACTUAL abuse. It's insidious and controlling and manipulative. Just because it's not physically painful or make someone actually cry doesn't mean it isn't."
As a kid, I always thought being constantly ridiculed for being "different" and "a sissy" and subjected to lots of name-calling and racial slurs were unbearable enough to make me want to vanish.
The emotional bullying was so torturous, I remember thinking I would have rather taken several punches to the face instead.
Words hurt. Words matter.
Reading through some of these examples is a good reminder we should be cautious with how we use them.
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