2 thoughts on “Is emotional abuse ‘real’ abuse?

  1. Excellent graphics but I am not sure whether you mean “Is emotional abuse real abuse?” or “Are claims of emotional abuse likely to be real, or false?”
    In the case of the former, it is especially real for our alienated kids. The Josef Fritzl case in Austria, back in 1984, highlighted how vulnerable an 11-year old can be. However, the daughter’s emotional hell resulted from the physical reality of being imprisoned, and routinely raped (and pregnant) for years. Even so, the real point from that terrible history is not emotional abuse, but the special vulnerability of children. We should also remember that mentally or physically disabled or sick people are also vulnerable (not women especially). For children though, their successful progress through developmental psychological stages, being environmentally dependent, makes them most particularly vulnerable.
    In the case of the latter, in modern society with smart phones, internet access, transport, family, neighbors, friends, and a welfare state (i.e. no absolute dependency), the scope for emotional abuse is nearly zero (unless sickness develops). If a marriage is going through a rough patch, it will be emotionally upsetting for both partners. Being emotionally upset is not the same as being emotionally abused.
    It is a travesty that the family courts fail to recognize the extreme vulnerability of kids to emotional abuse (completely dependent, real-world naivete, progressing through developmental stages psychologically), and yet accept without challenge supposed adult partner emotional abuse.

  2. Hi Richard

    I meant to draw a distinction between physical/sexual abuse on the one hand, and emotional abuse on the other (and, although i did not intend this specifically, I am not really concerned with whether the victim is a child or not). I am really making an observation that if we can’t see something, we seem to accept too readily that it’s not there.

    It seem to me that the law makes a distinction between these different kinds of abuse, as it approaches physical/sexual abuse aggressively (quite right), but treats emotional-psychological abuse with passivity and indifference.

    I don’t think I addressed whether emotional abuse claims are genuine or made up – well, i didn’t intend to.

    There is, though, the distinction between emotional abuse of kids and emotional abuse of adults. Certainly i think we all should accept that kids are more likely to be more seriously affected.



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