Characteristics of Mental Abuse

Mental abuse, also referred to as emotional abuse, is not as often reported as physical abuse. It’s also harder to see, as there are no visible scars or injuries. However, mental abuse is extremely damaging to someone’s mental health. While the exact abuse may vary, the characteristics of mental abuse involve control and power.

Verbal Assault

Verbal assault is one characteristic of mental abuse. This takes the form of actions such as name calling, screaming and berating the mental abuse victim. In addition to these more aggressive characteristics of abuse, verbal assault can also include using sarcasm and humiliation against the victim. Much of the goal of this type of abuse is to denigrate and control the victim of mental abuse.


Domination and control are another characteristic of mental abuse. When the abuser dominates the victim, he wants to control all of your actions. The domination behaviors include threats, isolating the victim from loved ones and support systems and dominating financial affairs and not allowing the victim access to finances. It can often be hard to see this as mental abuse but it is just as much abuse as if your partner were to strike you.


According to the National Institute of Justice, approximately 503,485 women are staked yearly in the United States. Terrorizing someone by intimidating, stalking or inducing fear in them are all characteristics of mental abuse. Stalking on its own is intimidating and often induces fear, without anything else having to be said or done. Even the suggestion or threat of stalking is emotionally abusive.

Mental abuse