Emotional and psychological abuse is trauma to a person caused by verbal abuse, acts, threats of acts, or corrosive tactics. Perpetrators use this type of abuse to control, terrorize, and denigrated their victims.
It can happen in intimate relationships involving partners, children, elders, and other family members, in friendships, in the workplace, and in the larger society at the core of how institutions are structured and operate to suppress the agency of targeted populations who do not conform.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence sites 48.4% of women and 48.8 % of men have experienced at least one psychologically aggressive behavior by an intimate partner. 4 in 10 women and 4 in 10 men have experienced at least one form of coercive control by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
In this episode, we examine emotional and psychological abuse in the context of an intimate partner relationship.
Worship and production director Jason Covington shares how he survived this experience in his first marriage and offers advice to others currently experiencing this kind of abuse.
Owner of the Institute for Healing, LLC, in Owings Mills, Maryland, Dr. La Keita Carter, shares how she helps people navigate the process of healing from this type of abuse and how faith communities can do a better job at helping their congregations with mental health challenges.
Both offer insights into how we should see abusers, be more helpful bystanders, and advocate for better resources for those recovering from emotional and psychological abuse.
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Worship & Production Director, Music Engineer,and Emotional & Psychological Abuse Survivor
Jason Covington is a worship and production director who works with Christian ministries to enhance their Sunday morning experience and online presence. After spending over 20 years working in ministry, Jason truly knows what drives a successful ministry. It’s not just great music and preaching— it’s also how well you connect with people to share the love of Jesus and create a space where people want to invest their time, talents, and resources.
Jason holds a BS in music with an emphasis in music engineering technology from Hampton University. He is currently pursuing an MA in counseling from Hampton University and plans to create a program that allows him to mentor at-risk students through in-school music therapy.
Jason is married to the former Michelle Faison, and together, they have two children, Laila and Langston.
Dr. La Keita Carter
CEO, Institute for HEALing, LLC
Dr. La Keita Carter, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, is the owner of the Institute for HEALing, LLC. After earning her bachelor’s degree from Temple University in psychology, she completed her master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology at Loyola University Maryland. Her pre-doctoral internship was at Towson University’s Counseling Center in Towson, Maryland.
Practicing since 2009, Dr. Carter’s therapy specialties are women’s issues, trauma and crisis management, addictions, multicultural barriers in treatment, and relationship issues. She also enjoys psychoeducational testing for learning disabilities and learning giftedness and psychological evaluations for employment and surgeries. Her professional specialties include the supervision of budding counselors and psychologists and psychology administration.
Dr. Carter is a member of the Maryland Psychological Association (MPA), American Psychological Association (APA) Division 2 (The Society for the Teaching of Psychology), Division 35 (The Society for the Psychology of Women), and Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi). She also serves as the vice-chair of the board of directors of Black Mental Health Alliance (BMHA), is a consulting editor for APA journal, Practice Innovations, and is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), emotional and psychological abuse involves “trauma to the victim caused by verbal abuse, acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics.” Emotional Abuse is often not codified separately from other kinds of abuse, so resources and statistics are limited.
A relationship is abusive when there is a consistent patten of harsh words and bullying behaviors that undermine someone’s mental health. This hostile pattern of behavior causes long-term damage and victims often experience depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal ideation, low-self esteem, and difficulty trusting others.
Emotional and psychological abuse is one of the hardest forms of abuse to recognize as it can be subtle and insidious or overt and manipulative.
Signs that you or someone you know is being emotionally abused:
- Emotional blackmail
- Creating chaos
- Setting unrealistic expectations
- Denying access to money or basic resources
- Demeaning someone in public
- Deliberately making someone feel diminished or embarrassed
- Undermining someone’s confidence or sense of worth
- Convincing someone they are crazy or gaslighting
Signs that you know someone who is emotionally abusive:
- Monitors their victim’s whereabouts.
- Calls their victim names or puts them down.
- Refuses to admit fault in arguments with the victim.
- Humiliates the victim.
- Gaslights or makes the victim doubt their reality
Everyone should be healthy, safe, and free from attack in all of their surroundings. The damage caused by emotional abuse is both psychological and physical. We must consider the gravity of this cost when advocating for trauma-informed services and spaces for recovery.
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