Psychological abuse is a repeated pattern of behaviour by someone that causes mental pain or distress to an older person. Emotional abuse is similar and can cause hurt to an older person’s feelings. Each impact negatively on a person’s self-esteem and confidence.
Psychological abuse is one of the most prevalent types of abuse which occurs for older people who are being mistreated by family or relatives. The perpetrator of psychological elder abuse can cause anguish for the older person, through threats, manipulation, fear, humiliation and other cruel acts. Perpetrators often take advantage of an older person’s vulnerability in ways that control and devalue the older person.
At times, the perpetrator will blame the older person for their own situation, such as unemployment, financial stress or the lack of social connections.
Often there are clear signs that other types of abuse are occurring, such as financial abuse. However, when an older person is being abused psychologically or emotionally, the signs might not be as apparent. This can make it difficult for the older person to talk about the impact of psychological and emotional abuse. Like any type of abuse, talking about it with a trusted person, such as another family member, or a service provider can assist to address the psychological and emotional abuse.
Psychological and emotional abuse can happen when the perpetrator: