Covert Emotional Abuse



  What is covert emotional abuse?

 It does not leave any visible bruises or scars. Often it is a confusing, hidden and shameful experience. It can happen to anyone. Covert abusers will often target intelligent, caring, warm hearted individuals who try hard to make relationships work. Victims can have great careers, plenty of friends and a solid income.  These may also the people less likely to admit what has happened to them as the shock, confusion and shame is too overwhelming.  “How could this happen to me?” In the latest Crime Survey in the UK 83% of partner abuse was not reported to the police. Most people who experience covert abuse do not know what they experiencing, many think it is their fault.

The effects of covert abuse (such as Gaslighting) are often profoundly destructive and can devastate the sense of self, our physical well-being and often result in depression and post traumatic stress symptoms.    

Emotional abuse can happen in friendships, romantic relationships, within families, in the workplace and in religious or spiritual communities.

If you feel isolated, confused, drained, joyless, controlled, disparaged, powerless, punished, ridiculed and criticised you may be experiencing emotional abuse.

If cruel, barbed comments are wrapped up in ‘jokes’ and you are humiliated publicly or always referred to with disparaging pet names that make you uncomfortable, it is likely you are experiencing emotional abuse.

If you are unable to express your true feelings or have to constantly change your behaviour to please someone it is likely you are experiencing emotional abuse.

If you are exhausted, confused and miserable trying to make someone happy, who, no matter what you do, is never happy or there are only brief glimpses of kindness before the ‘joke’ name calling or isolation returns, it is likely you are experiencing emotional abuse.

For the most part the nature of emotional abuse is misunderstood by society, with many (including victims) not really understanding exactly what it is and what is happening to them.

The biggest problem many survivors face is being believed or taken seriously. Surely, everyone argues, worries about their relationships or has problems in life,…right?

It is very common for survivors to have been carefully ‘drip fed’ abuse over many years. Often they think that the draining, painful relationship they are experiencing is their fault, that, in fact ‘everything’ is their fault. If only they could just try a little harder to change themselves, then everything would be ok….

For many, the first, and challenging step, is to acknowledge that something is wrong. 

Often the word ‘abuse’ is too shameful to admit, or is something that only happens to ‘other people’.

It is a common misconception that ‘weak’ people are targeted for abuse. It is often the reverse, and nothing to do with weakness of character, lack of intelligence or spirit.

I can help...

If this is your story and you would like to get in touch to discuss your needs or to understand more about emotional abuse, please get in touch for a free 30 minute consultation

I went to see Kate to get some help to understand why I was experiencing some unhelpful and negative feelings and to explore a particularly difficult part of my past that has been haunting me for some years.

This was not an easy thing to do but Kate helped me to feel immediately at ease and I was really pleased at how quickly we started to address some of these issues.   She creates a safe and non-judgemental environment and gently asks the right questions so that I was able to unpick and better understand why I was feeling the things I was and to understand them in a different way.


M Smith, Hove

About Kate

Kate is a trauma and embodiment specialist. She is on the Executive Board of EFT International (formerly AAMET) and is a Supervising Mentor for EFT and TRE Trainees. She is Comprehensive Energy Psychology Practitioner, DipPsych, Master Hypnotist, Master Practitioner of NLP and Time Line Therapy (accredited by the ABNLP) and has been an intuitive body & energy worker for 30 years. While she works with any problem state she specialises in the sensitive areas of Post Traumatic Stress, emotional abuse, chronic pain and anxiety.  

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