Written by Jenn Nestler

Emotional and psychological abuse can often go undetected for long periods of time, as it often comes across in ways that are not obvious and can even seem coincidental or accidental. This form of abuse is usually hidden from everyone, including the victim herself. While other forms of abuse can be easier to spot, psychological abuse doesn’t usually come across as outwardly controlling behaviors such as raging, belittling, threatening, and shaming. Instead, it’s often much more subtle and insidious. Like a master puppeteer manipulating strings, narcissistic abusers use endless mind games to control their victims in order to provoke a desired outcome or response.

Even if you are a highly observant person, emotional and psychological abuse can be very hard to pinpoint. It normally happens very slowly. It’s so gradual that victims often don’t understand what is happening for months, years, and even decades. Most times, the victim only has a vague sense that something is wrong, though they are unsure of what. That’s why it is often referred to as hidden, covert, or ambient abuse.