• Mental Health Effects of Emotional Harm

    Emotional harm is not as easy to spot as physical abuse, but oftentimes its effects can be just as traumatic. Emotional harm can involve a wide range of tactics, including gaslighting, shaming and manipulation. All of these are intended to leave the victim feeling confused, powerless and hopeless.

    Typically people suffer from long-term or short-term emotional harm, and depending on the length of time, there can be varying mental health effects.

    Long-term emotional harm happens over many years. Examples are a child growing up in a home with an alcoholic parent or a sibling with anger issues. Someone may find themselves in a marriage with a narcissistic partner.

    Short-term emotional harm can result from a nasty exchange with a stranger or micro-interactions with colleagues or neighbors.

    The following are some short-term and long-term effects of emotional harm:

    Short-Term Effects

    • Isolation or a sense of deep loneliness 
    • Self-doubt
    • Shame
    • Confusion
    • Low self-esteem
    • Anxiety connected with social interactions
    • Feelings of powerlessness

    Long-term Effects

    • Neuroticism, or the tendency toward a depressed mood or negative emotions like anger
    • Chronic stress
    • Physical health issues like muscle tension and shortness of breath
    • Attachment issues
    • Apathy
    • Eating disorders
    • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or CPTSD (chronic post-traumatic stress disorder)

    You Can Heal from Emotional Harm

    With time, patience and plenty of self-compassion, it is very possible to heal from the trauma of emotional harm. Working with a mental health professional who has been trained specifically to help people who have been the victim of emotional harm is a great starting point.

    If you’d like to explore treatment options, please book an appointment with me here.



    Emotional Abuse and its Impact on Mental Health


    Rebecca Steele & Smart Therapy™

    Meet Rebecca Steele, MA, MSW, RSW— She offers psychotherapy and counselling services in Kitchener-Waterloo, and all across Ontario virtually through telehealth sessions.

    With a decade of experience as a seasoned psychotherapist, she excels in delivering personalized 1:1 individual therapy sessions. Her expertise extends to guiding adults through their emotional landscape, tackling everything from grief, depression, and trauma to the complexities of life changes, boundary concerns, low self-esteem, relationship stress, and many types of anxieties—eg. general anxiety, panic attacks, social anxiety, phobias, anxious attachment styles, and OCD.

    Rebecca’s approach to therapy is called Smart Therapy™: Insight- Driven Depth Therapy. She provides a diverse range of psychotherapy treatments, encompassing traditional talk therapy such as Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT, DBT), Psychoanalytic and Jungian Therapy, and Dream Analysis. She also offers Clinical Counselling Hypnotherapy for those interested.

    Ready to dive into the world of compassionate counselling? To explore further details about Rebecca’s online counseling services in Kitchener-Waterloo, please click here