Social and Sexual Prejudice:
Added to all of the other forms of emotional battering that a
victim suffers from, he or she also lives in a society that perceives
the victim as helpless, second class, emotionally immature and
often irrational. This means that as a victim struggles to break
free from an abusive situation or relationship, he or she has
to battle social, financial and cultural pressures that may prevent
the victim from breaking free from the batterer. Although
we often pay more attention to the physical and sexual abuse,
more often these prejudices provide the context in which repeated
or extreme criticisms that injure the personal, emotional, sexual
and professional image. Insults can greatly undermine a person's
self-confidence and eventually render the victim emotionally incapacitated.
Direct or indirect statements that create feelings of unworthiness.
Constant rejection teaches a victim that he or she is unworthy
of receiving loving behavior. Rejection can be used as punishment
for not cooperating with an abusive partner. Abusers may also
employ rejection in an attempt to justify their anger towards
Emotional Threats and Accusations:
Direct or indirect statements made in an attempt to cause emotional
or physical harm to the victim. This includes lying about the
victim's behavior, attitude or emotional state.
A statement or behavior that uses fear, guilt, insecurity or
confusion to trap a victim into giving the abuser power
over him or her.
This behavior distorts reality and destroys the possibility of
honest communication. Demonstrated in the classic movie, A
Clockwork Orange, this is a very effective device to
increase confusion and insecurity in the victim.
Possessive and Punitive Behavior:
Perceiving another person as physical property or an emotional
extension of himself or herself. Behavior includes jealousy,
limiting freedom, creating isolation, denying a person's capabilities
or opportunities to develop. Many times it includes using shame
and guilt to prevent a victim from getting the deserved support
Basing Relationships on Unrealistic Expectations:
This includes an assumption by the abuser that he or she knows
what is best for the victim. Denying someone the opportunity
to discover and define himself or herself prevents the possibility
of a mutually beneficial and realistic relationship.
Threats to Harm or Take Away Children:
One of the most common reasons given for resuming an abusive
relationship is the fear that the abuser will act on the threats
of taking the children from the victim. Studies show that
batterers have been able to convince authorities that the victim
is unfit or undeserving of sole custody in approximately
70% of challenged cases.
Financial Blackmail: A batterer often controls the victim's finances, denying access to money. Financial battering may range from not allowing the victim to earn money to preventing education or access to work. If the victim is currently working, the abuser will make threats to destroy the means of earning a living.