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The abuser's use of psychological or mental violence can include constant verbal abuse, harassment, excessive possessiveness, isolation from friends or family or other behaviors designed to rob the victim of self-esteem and a sense of personal security.


Among these tactics are the following:

  • Demeaning jokes and/or personal insults
  • Ugly, vicious name-calling
  • Repeated insults, labeling
  • Ignoring partner's feelings
  • Deliberate damage or destruction of personal items belonging to partner
  • Withholding approval as punishment
  • "Putdowns" or ridiculing partner's roles or abilities
  • Private humiliation
  • Blaming partner for circumstances not in their control
  • Controlling or degrading partner's choices (food, clothing, friends, etc.)
  • Demanding partner's constant and total attention
  • Resentment of partner's attention to their children
  • Making constant threats against the marriage
  • Sending mixed signals about wishes and desires
  • Claims to forget abusive incidents or denial that they occurred
  • Challenging or questioning partner's sense of reality
  • Causing partner to question sense of reality
  • Minimizes or denies abuse which has occurred
  • Constantly making veiled threats
  • Making threats to take away or harm the children
  • Stalking partner; monitoring all of partner's activities and whereabouts
  • Isolating partner from family and friends
  • Eliminating partner's support systems
  • Threatening to harm family and friends
  • Accusing partner of mental illness in responses and reactions to abuse
  • Making threats to harm or kill partner
  • Exposing or handling of firearms or other weapons during an argument
  • Taking weapons to bed at night