A good article on the “Out of the fog” forum, which very much matches my experience.
Definition:Emotional Abuse – Any pattern of behavior directed at one individual by another which promotes in them a destructive sense of Fear, Obligation or Guilt (FOG).The Bruise that Doesn’t ShowMany people who are victims of abuse live in homes or environments where they have become so accustomed to the situation they consider it normal. They do not recognize it even IS abuse sometimes, because there is no physical injury; instead an ongoing emotional barrage takes place which can be just as damaging.Examples of Emotional Abuse * Alienation – The act of cutting off or interfering with an individual’s relationships with others. * Baiting – A provocative act used to solicit an angry, aggressive or emotional response from another individual. * Belittling, Condescending and Patronizing – This kind of speech is a passive-aggressive approach to giving someone a verbal put-down while maintaining a facade of reasonableness or friendliness. * Blaming – The practice of identifying a person or people responsible for creating a problem, rather than identifying ways of dealing with the problem. * Bullying – Any systematic action of hurting a person from a position of relative physical, social, economic or emotional strength. * Bunny Boiling – Bunny Boiling is a reference to an iconic scene in the movie “Fatal Attraction” in which the main character Alex, who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder, kills the family’s pet rabbit and boils it on the stove. Bunny Boiling has become a popular reference to how people sometimes exhibit their rage by behaving destructively towards symbolic, important or treasured possessions or representations of those whom they wish to hurt, control or intimidate. * Cheating – Sharing a romantic or intimate relationship with somebody when you are already committed to a monogamous relationship with someone else. * Compulsive Lying – Compulsive Lying is a term used to describe lying frequently out of habit, without much regard for the consequences to others and without having an obvious motive to lie. A compulsive liar is someone who habitually lies. * Cruelty to Animals – Acts of Cruelty to Animals have been statistically discovered to occur more often in people who suffer from personality disorders than in the general population. * Dependency – An inappropriate and chronic reliance by an adult individual on another individual for their health, subsistence, decision making or personal and emotional well-being. * Emotional Blackmail – A system of threats and punishments used in an attempt to control someone’s behaviors. * Engulfment – An unhealthy and overwhelming level of attention and dependency on another person, which comes from imagining or believing one exists only within the context of that relationship. * False Accusations – Patterns of unwarranted or exaggerated criticism directed towards someone else. * Favoritism – Favoritism is the practice of systematically giving positive, preferential treatment to one child, subordinate or associate among a family or group of peers. * FOG – Fear, Obligation & Guilt – The acronym FOG, for Fear, Obligation and Guilt, was first coined by Susan Forward & Donna Frazier in Emotional Blackmail and describes feelings that a person often has when in a relationship with someone who suffers from a personality disorder. Our website, Out of the FOG, is named after this acronym. * Frivolous Litigation – The use of unmerited legal proceedings to hurt, harass or gain an economic advantage over an individual or organization. * Gaslighting – The practice of brainwashing or convincing a mentally healthy individual that they are going insane or that their understanding of reality is mistaken or false. The term “Gaslighting” is based on the 1944 MGM movie “Gaslight”. * Harassment – Any sustained or chronic pattern of unwelcome behavior by one individual towards another. * Hoovers & Hoovering – A Hoover is a metaphor taken from the popular brand of vacuum cleaners, to describe how an abuse victim trying to assert their own rights by leaving or limiting contact in a dysfunctional relationship, gets “sucked back in” when the perpetrator temporarily exhibits improved or desirable behavior. * Hysteria – An inappropriate over-reaction to bad news or disappointments, which diverts attention away from the real problem and towards the person who is having the reaction. * Imposed Isolation – When abuse results in a person becoming isolated from their support network, including friends and family. * Infantilization – Treating a child as if they are much younger than their actual age. * Intimidation – Any form of veiled, hidden, indirect or non-verbal threat.
Source: Emotional Abuse — Out of the FOG