Emotional vs. Physical Abuse

Although isolating, emotionally abusing, and threatening the victim are certainly forms of abuse, they usually do not constitute a crime for which charges can be laid.  My friend and former supervisor, Anna Demacopoulos, used to say, “You can’t charge him for being a jerk.”  Well said!  Victims in emotionally abusive relationships tend to stay longer than those in physically abusive relationships.  One friend of mine described her emotionally abusive relationship as akin to being on a bad date every day for the rest of your life.  Victims of emotional abuse tend to justify the abusers actions and make excuses.  In the meantime, their self esteem is being severely diminished, while they are ingesting the toxic side-effects of the abuser.   However, sometimes these forms of abuse often do lead to a physical assault. In fact, abusive relationships display a predictable cycle of violence. First comes the tension-building phase, followed by a physical act, and then a honeymoon phase when the abuser is profusely apologetic. As time goes on, the honeymoon becomes shorter and shorter. Although the victim desires the relationship to stay in the honeymoon phase, it rarely works that way.  When the victim finally decides to terminate the relationship, that’s when you have the great potential of stalking in the workplace.  Is your workplace prepared to handle a possible assault by a former partner of one of your employees?  What if they both work for you? Give it some thought and we’ll explore this deeper in future blogs.