How to Recognize Mental Abuse

Name calling, controlling behavior, gaslighting, learning how to recognize mental abuse to put a stop to this behavior.

Maybe things aren’t great at home lately. Your partner or a parent calls you names, puts you down, or makes you feel worthless. They do things like check your phone, control who you see, or just make you feel like you’re going crazy. They might be nice sometimes, but the hurtful words and actions always come back. Without knowing how to recognize mental abuse, you might wonder, “Is this normal?” Learn how to recognize mental abuse.

Mental abuse, also known as emotional abuse, is a real and serious form of abuse. It can be just as damaging as physical abuse, leaving deep emotional scars. But unlike bruises or broken bones, mental abuse isn’t always easy to spot. It can be subtle, and abusers often make their victims feel like the abuse is their fault. Mariposa Center in Orange County, CA, understands the pain and confusion of mental abuse. We’ve been helping people in our community heal from all forms of abuse for over 45 years. If you’re wondering if you’re experiencing abuse, you’re not alone. Keep reading to learn more.

How to Recognize Mental Abuse

Mental abuse comes in many forms, but here are some common signs:

  • Name-calling and insults: Do they call you names, put you down, or constantly criticize you?
  • Controlling behavior: Do they try to control who you see, what you wear, or how you spend your time?
  • Isolation: Do they try to keep you away from your friends and family?
  • Blaming: Do they always blame you for their problems and refuse to take responsibility for their actions?
  • Gaslighting: Do they deny reality or accuse you of being “crazy”? 
  • Threats and intimidation: Do they threaten to hurt you, your loved ones, or themselves if you don’t do what they want?

These are just a few examples, and everyone’s experience is different. If something doesn’t feel right in your relationship, trust your gut. Even if you don’t see these exact behaviors, you know what feels healthy and what doesn’t.

Why Does Mental Abuse Happen?

Mental abuse isn’t about love; it’s about power and control. Abusers want to feel in charge, and they use hurtful words and actions to make their victims feel small and powerless.

It’s important to remember that it’s never your fault. No one deserves to be treated this way. There’s nothing you did to cause the abuse, and you’re not responsible for fixing it.

Related Article: May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Where Can I Find Help for Abuse in Orange County?

If you think you might be experiencing mental abuse, there are people who care and want to help. Here are some options:

  • Mariposa Center: We offer confidential counseling and support groups for survivors of abuse. Our therapists can help you understand what’s happening, work through the emotional impact of the abuse, and develop a safety plan if needed.
  • 24-Hour Crisis Hotline: Call 911 if you’re in immediate danger. You can also reach the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
    • You can also reach the National Domestic Hotline by texting “BEGIN” to 88788

“Leaving an abusive situation can be scary, but it’s the bravest thing you can do for yourself. There is a path to healing, and we’re here to help you find it.”

Dr. Krista Driver, LMFT, CEO, Mariposa Center

    Find Hope and Healing at Mariposa Center

    If you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to Mariposa Center, a safe haven in Orange County for anyone affected by abuse. Our therapists can help you understand your rights, create a safety plan, and begin the healing process. You don’t have to go through this alone. Remember, there is help available. You deserve to be safe, loved, and respected. 

    Contact us to learn more about mental abuse help in Orange County, CA.

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