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The Hidden Signs of Emotional Abuse

By Nicole Pajer
Reviewed by Susan Ko, Ph.D.
October 13, 2022

Bruises and scratches aren’t the only signs of abuse.

This was one of the main takeaways of the recent Netflix series Maid, which followed a young mother who was trying to get away from her emotionally abusive partner and make a better life for herself and her young daughter. The humiliation, control, and condescension she endured brought the topic of domestic emotional abuse into the spotlight and sparked an overdue conversation in many publications, including Ms. and Marie Claire.

Emotional abuse also causes wounds. A 2013 study looking at emotional abuse in romantic relationships noted the possible links between the abuse and issues such as loneliness, despair, depression, and low self-esteem, which could then have a compounding effect on illnesses like chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.