The psychological violence It is one of the forms of abuse that can occur in the partner, the family or the work or educational environment. Psychological violence can be an active or passive behavior, of discrediting, subjugation and contempt towards another person. Psychological violence is not a specific and isolated situation but rather a sustained behavior over time. For instance: threats, humiliation, insults.
It usually deepens over time. In addition, its damage to the victim is intensified, causing psychological effects that prevent you from defending yourself or even identifying the problem. Those who exercise it may not do so consciously of the damage it causes, since many forms of abuse are socially or culturally legitimized.
Psychological violence can take subtle shapes not perceived by the victim, but over time they ensure control of the same behavior, through fear, dependence and coercion.
In some cases, it can occur alongside other forms of abuse such as physical or sexual violence.
Its consequences are the deterioration of self-esteem and independence, increased stress and can even trigger psychosomatic pathologies. It can also lead to the development of addictive, psychotic, or violent personalities.
For example, psychological violence towards children can cause the child to be a batterer in adulthood as well. In the workplace, productivity decreases and the use of skills and discomfort increases.
The following examples can be given individually or in isolation without a link characterized by psychological violence. In cases of psychological violence, one or more of the examples occurs systematically over a long period of time.
Examples of psychological violence
- Threat. They generate fear in the victim and restrict their actions. When the threat is harmful, it is punishable by law. However, the threats can also be of abandonment or infidelity.
- Blackmail. It is a form of control through guilt or fear.
- Humiliation. Denigration in front of others (friends, co-workers, relatives) or in privacy.
- Monopolize decision making. There are relationships in which decisions are shared (friendship, partner, etc.), however, when there is a situation of violence, one of the people makes all the decisions. This extends to managing money, the way free time is used, and you can even make decisions about the other person’s life.
- Control. While there are relationships in which control is healthy (for example, parent-child control) it becomes a violent practice when it is excessive. There are other relationships, for example the couple or friendship, in which control is not justifiable. For example, checking private messages or listening to telephone conversations.
- Abuse. Insults can be part of the forms of humiliation.
- Disqualifying comparisons. The permanent comparison with other employees (in the workplace), people of the same sex (in the area of the couple) or siblings (in the family environment) to point out the shortcomings or defects of a person is a form of abuse.
- Screams. Arguments are common in any type of everyday relationship. However, shouting for arguments is a form of violence.
- Image control. Although we all have opinions about the image of others, that does not mean that the other should follow our position. Control over the image of another is done through humiliation, blackmail and / or threats.
- Teasing. Jokes can be a nice way to bond when there is trust. However, constant teasing aimed at the disqualification and denigration of another is one of the elements of psychological violence.
- Moralization. The actions and thoughts of the other person are always judged from a supposed moral superiority. It is associated with blackmail and humiliation.
- Review. We can all have negative opinions about some actions or thoughts of the other. However, repeated and constant criticism of the other can be one of the elements that builds a behavior of psychological violence. The criticisms that aim to denigrate never have a constructive form, which encourages the growth of the other, but a destructive form, which directly attack self-esteem.
- Denying the perceptions or feelings of the other. Disqualifying someone’s feelings (sadness, loneliness, joy) in a systematic way causes an inability to express themselves and even mistrust in their own judgment.
- Indifference. Both in the sphere of the couple, as in the workplace or the family, remaining indifferent to the other (to the problems of the children, the presence of the partner, the achievements of the students or the work of the employees) is a way of abuse. This is a passive behavior that nevertheless is a form of psychological violence when it is maintained over time.
- Psychological harassment. It is a deliberate form of psychological violence that seeks to destroy the victim’s self-esteem. The aforementioned examples of psychological violence are used as part of a strategy with the aim of creating intense discomfort and distress. Moral harassment is carried out with the complicity of the group, as collaborators or passive witnesses. Harassment can be vertical, when the harasser has some kind of power over the victim. These are cases of psychological violence at work, called mobbing. Or the harassment can be horizontal, between people who in principle consider themselves equal. For example, bullying between students.