Are you haunted by psychological abuse?

Not only is October the month for Halloween, but it is also National Domestic Violence Awareness month, bringing much needed attention to a subject that all too often gets overlooked. To say that abuse is a heavy topic would be a gross understatement and the feelings surrounding the term tend to be charged. Abuse is insidious. It’s confusing. It’s tangled. It’s dark. It’s a subject that most people avoid, despite its tragic and overwhelming prevalence.

The psychological ramifications of all forms of abuse are concerning. Psychological abuse causes long-term damage to a victim’s mental health and subtle, psychological abuse has been shown to be more harmful than overt psychological abuse or direct aggression. Psychological abuse is also an important indicator of physical violence and it is often a precursor to physical abuse.

If you’re in a subtly abusive relationship, you likely question and doubt yourself and at times you may feel like you’re going crazy. The shame and loneliness from this type of abuse can be overwhelming, leading to further isolation. Lower self-esteem, diminished sense of worth, inadequacy and shame are all associated with psychological abuse.

If you can relate to this, please know that you are less alone than you might think. Your feelings are a perfectly normal reaction to your situation. It’s not your fault. You are a valuable being and you deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. You deserve to be honored and loved in your relationships. Once you begin to understand psychological abuse and its effects, you can begin to take steps to better protect yourself emotionally, giving you the space to heal. Healing from abusive wounds takes time, but you are certainly worth the investment.

Take good care,


Avery Neal, PhD is a practicing psychotherapist, international author and speaker. In 2012 she opened Women’s Therapy Clinic, which offers psychiatric and counseling support to women. She specializes in depression and anxiety at all stages in a woman’s life.

Dr. Neal is the author of, If He’s So Great, Why Do I Feel So Bad?: Recognizing and Overcoming Subtle Abuse, which has been translated and published in twelve languages. Her articles and interviews have been published by, American Counseling Association, Counseling Today, BookTrib, Best Self Magazine, Hitched Magazine, Bustle, POPSUGAR and PKWY Magazine, and her courses have been taken by over 18,000 people worldwide. The International Association of HealthCare Professionals nominated her as one of the top psychologists in Houston.