Introducing Insights into Emotional Abuse and Bullying

I want to introduce insight into something that happens far too frequently for my personal comfort – abuse and bullying – of the emotional/mental kind. Generally people don’t realize how much of this actually goes on in our daily lives. I confront emotional/mental abuse either in my personal life or with clients on an almost daily basis; it’s regularity will continue to astound me.

Physical/sexual abuse is masculine in nature, overt and ‘out there’ in its approach, tangible and easy to identify. Of course if it needs to be hidden for some reason, then emotional/mental abuse is resorted to in order to keep the deed secret. This cowardly approach is key; feminine by nature it is insidious, subtle, covert and well hidden and therefore very difficult to identify. That is why so much goes unnoticed and is not acknowledged or dealt with. Behaviour that is kept hidden is more dangerous as it’s easily misunderstood and creates doubt in others’minds.

How to identify the emotional/mental bully:

Even though appearing kind, caring, passive, emotionally connected and accepting on the exterior, the ulterior motive is to control/dominate/manipulate. They wear a mask at all times in order to cover their ulterior motive.

They switch this charming, warm behaviour on/off very suddenly. Aggressive/passive displays. No consistency.

They live in constant terror  that someone will see through their deception and spend time/energy transferring their personal fear and guilt onto others.

They force their will onto others. They transfer their unresolved issues onto others more responsible than themselves.

They have savvy, are street-wise, clever, not intelligent. Convince others however of their intellectual prowess. Brag and boast. Cut others down to size.

Manipulate people to feel sorry for them, using this tactic time and again to bring people to ‘heel’.

They lie. To themselves and to others. About the smallest things. Habitual. Pathological.

With their lying comes a sense of not being accountable or responsible in any way. They need to blame, transfer and make it other people’s fault.

Convince others to believe them and that they always know best. They are arrogant ‘know all’s’ who like to dictate and command attention.

Not powerful but forceful. Lime light seekers. Actors and con artists.

Emotionally immature and have temper tantrums if they don’t get their way. No mature reasoning ability.

No genuine concern or empathy for others. Very sensitive to their own needs, health and wants.

Have an apparently good sense of humour but actually use it to demean and belittle others, often in public.

Very quick to take offense and umbrage.

Often get bored, need constant attention and stimulation, and often display addictive as well as deviant behaviour.

There is little/no conscience and like to see what they can ‘get away with’.

They will threaten others with ease. They preach and don’t teach.


You will know that you are under the influence of an emotional/mental bully if you begin, for no apparent reason, all the time, to feel these things that are very unlike your true nature:


Loss of memory



Very angry



Lacking confidence






Physically ill

Need to hide

Cannot face reality

Loss of humour

Drained…physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually

Take a moment and look around you. How many people can you identify in your life who affects you like this?

Why is it that some people find it easy to identify this behaviour and many cannot?  How does a bully become a bully? Is it easy to understand their nature? And the most important question is “what is the lesson for the bully as well as the bullied –   what to do and hw to cope?”

I will make these answers the topic for my next few blogs.



© 2012, Barbara Scogings. All rights reserved.

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