Is it Abuse? Exploring Signs of Psychological Abuse.

By Antonia Comrie.

Is it abuse or is he just a very nice person…really, terribly clever, always doing good, but just a little bit highly strung and clingy?

He’s not stalking me, he’s just ringing several times a day and keeping a close eye on what I’m doing because he has a genuine interest in me? The oddest coincidence is that I keep bumping into him everywhere I go. There are potentially so many scenarios but I think the point is clear.

We are all aware of the obvious signs of physical abuse but one of the worst kinds, where the thin veil of clarity just slightly clouds one’s perception, is just where the trouble starts. Something just doesn’t sit quite right in the mind but you put it to the back and bury it in your subconscious.

Slowly and over time one questions a motive for a cutting comment,
a slight, the reasoning behind a totally inappropriate comment, confusion that arises from a very simple situation and is then blown up out of all proportion. Apologies may well follow.

My advice is to be on guard once this starts to happen. It could be the start of a grand manipulation programme where in time many facts could be lost and all that remains is confusion, discomfort and maybe even fear.

This can happen in the workplace, at home, with friends and with such subtlety that it is only the intended victim who actually notices.

One of the common tactics used with women and men is flattery, promulgation of the intended victim has been known to set the tone and provide camouflage for the perpetrator.

My advice is to be on guard and be honest with yourself as to whether it is warranted. If it is not, it could lay a foundation that will later be very difficult to disprove.

Whilst we welcome the government’s initiatives and laws to protect and prosecute where emotional and psychological abuse is proven, it still remains a very difficult area to substantiate as the perpetrators are often  one step ahead, cloaked in charm, very plausible and often appealing, not to mention covering their tracks.  And, if I’m honest, this practice can  affect any age group.

It is advisable to ensure you are armed with the truth from the very beginning so you know when to step back, get out or take appropriate action. If the perpetrator is really clever, you may well find yourself also being blamed for his actions. Be alert. Staying silent should never be an option.


The gender bias in this article is not a reflection on men, it is simply written by a woman from a woman’s perspective. The same issues can apply to any gender.

If you have been affected by emotional/psychological abuse or would like further information about how to recognise signs of emotional abuse contact: Women’s Aid Tel. 0808 2000247, Live Fear Free Tel 0808 8010 800, have a lot of online information with an option to talk to a counsellor
This article was first published in Editions Lifestyle Black History Month Magazine. More Lifestyle articles can be read here: