According to the American Psychological Association, significant numbers of U.S. men and women alike are at relatively high risk of some form abuse by intimate partners. APA statistics show that almost 50 percent of all U.S. women have been subjected to some kind of psychological aggression by their partners or intimate acquaintances. Certain risk factors, such as being economically or educationally disadvantaged, may increase the chances of experiencing violence from partners.
The APA notes that psychological aggression can take multiple forms. In expressive forms of such aggression, a victim’s intimate partner may verbally abuse them by insulting or humiliating them. They may also attempt to devalue the victim by trying to convince them that they are failures or undesirable.
In some cases, psychological aggression can manifest in the form of coercive control, wherein abusive individuals try to control their partners’ social habits or general behavior. This can include actions like attempting to stop people from communicating with their friends or family members, keeping track of their location and activities or making decisions on their behalf. These controlling behaviors might also include threats of physical harm to victims, children or pets, but abusers may also threaten to harm themselves if their partners don’t adhere to their controlling rules.
Escaping abuse can be difficult for victims, even when the abuse isn’t physical. Individuals whose partners engage in psychological aggression may react negatively to their victims’ attempts to get help or extricate themselves from unhealthy situations and increase their abuse. For some individuals, pursuing domestic violence charges or punishments such as restraining orders could change their circumstances. Due to the potential dangers associated with their situations, seeking legal assistance may be an advisable path to take.