Emotional abuse includes, but is not limited to, name-calling, humiliation, manipulation, shaming, and gaslighting. Whether the abuse is subtle or overt, its impact on psychological health can be profound, fueling difficult emotions, such as anger, helplessness, and anxiety. Emotional abuse in intimate relationships can occur on its own, or it can be compounded with physical, sexual, and financial abuse. For those dealing with abuse in any form, it might be helpful to see a mental health professional to navigate the experience and decide on next steps. Along with therapy, there are plenty of online resources that offer useful information, support, and insight on emotional abuse, particularly in the context of romantic relationships. Here are just a few of those resources that can help.
Hotlines for immediate guidance in times of crisis
1. National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline): 1 (800) 799 – 7233
Available 24/7 and 365 days a year, The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a great resource for anyone experiencing emotional and/or physical abuse, or anyone questioning the health and safety of their relationship. It also provides resources, safety and de-escalation tips, and information on finding local services. The Hotline is available via call, chat, or text, and it offers its services in over 140 languages.
2. Love is Respect: 1 (800) 331 - 9474
Love is Respect is available for anyone between the ages of 13 and 26 who have concerns or questions about their romantic relationships. It provides 24/7 chat, call, and text support, and it has interactive resources, such as quizzes, toolkits, and training, to promote healthy relationships.
Organizations that provide chat support, resources, and information on emotional abuse
3. 7 Cups
7 Cups is a website and app that offers online support for people experiencing emotional distress. It has an anonymous and free virtual chat feature where users can chat with trained listeners. Its also available 24/7. In addition to virtual chat, 7 Cups provides community support, including chat rooms and forums for various issues (i.e. anxiety, relationships).
4. The Center For Relationship Abuse Awareness
The Center For Relationship Abuse Awareness works to educate individuals, communities, and institutions on violence and abuse in intimate relationships. On its website, you can learn all about relationship abuse, including warning signs, the different types of relationship abuse, the different types of relationship abuse, warning signs of abuse, and barriers to leaving an abusive relationship. You can also find information on state-by-state resources, developing a safety plan, and supporting loved ones experiencing abuse.
5. Chayn: Manipulation is Abuse
This guide, which was created by Chayn volunteers, offers information and helpful resources for anyone struggling with emotional abuse or struggling to identify emotional abuse. It also features a quiz that can help you self-assess your relationship, in addition to a compilation of useful articles and stories about emotional abuse.
Podcast episodes that share tools on how to move forward from suffering
6. Dear Sugar: Emotional Abuse with Reema Zaman
In Dear Sugar, hosts Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond offer advice to listeners about everything from grief, to body image, to love and loss. In this episode, Cheryl and Steve speak with author Reema Zaman about signs of an emotionally abusive relationship. They also give advice to two listeners who are struggling to leave their abusive partners for good. Zaman herself experienced emotional abuse in a previous relationship, and her insight is vulnerable, compelling, and empathetic.
7. Unlocking Us: Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Bruce Perry on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing
Unlocking Us, which is hosted by acclaimed researcher Brené Brown, features conversations with leading experts on vulnerability, courage, and connection. In this episode, Brown speaks with Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Bruce Perry about the impact of various forms of trauma and how we can transform our mindset around trauma to find healing and resilience. For those experiencing abuse, this episode may provide a deeper understanding of trauma and its social, emotional, and physical consequences.
8. Psychology Podcast: Kristen Neff on The Healing Power of Self-Compassion
In the Psychology Podcast, Scott Barry Kaufman speaks with leading thinkers about concepts focused on the mind, brain, behavior, and creativity. While this episode is not explicitly about emotional abuse, it provides essential insight on self-compassion as it relates to healing and resilience. Kristen Neff, who is a researcher in the field of self-compassion, explains how we can be kind to ourselves in the face of suffering — and why we should.
Books that may help to gain a better understanding of the effects of abuse
9. Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving A Relationship with a Narcissist, by Dr. Ramani Durvasula
In this book, Dr. Ramani Durvasula uses checklists and clinical insight to help readers gain a better understanding of pathological narcissism. She also shares warning signs and a plan for navigating potentially abusive situations. Should I Stay or Should I Go offers tangible, easily-applicable skills for readers in abusive relationships, and it may feel validating and helpful for those specifically struggling with a narcissistic partner.
10. The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence, by Gavin de Becker
When The Gift of Fear was published in 1998, it spent four months on The New York Times Bestseller list. In the book, Gavin de Becker creates a practical guide for readers on how to avoid and deal with unsafe people. He writes about the importance of intuition and how to reframe the way we think about fear. The Gift of Fear is accessible, dense, and just as relevant as when it came out more than 20 years ago.
11. Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence —From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror, by Judith Herman
Similar to The Gift of Fear, Trauma and Recovery was written in the ‘90s and is still considered an essential text in many psychology curriculums. In the book, Harvard psychiatrist Judith Herman explores the impact and complexity of trauma, creating an eye-opening and informative experience for readers. Trauma and Recovery may be helpful for anyone looking for a deeper understanding of the different types of trauma, the different responses to trauma, and the way we can move forward and recover from it.
The bottom line
While emotional abuse can feel isolating, you do not have to go through this experience alone. There are free resources online that offer support, guidance, and information to anyone struggling with an abusive partner(s). However you choose to move forward, emotional abuse recovery is possible.