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Psychological harassment, also known as emotional bullying or mental bullying, includes unwarranted hostile behavior, verbal threats, intimidating actions and aggressive gestures made toward another individual. This type of psychological abuse may also include sexual harassment, as well as other types of harassment that often leave individuals feeling ashamed or fearful of the person initiating these actions. Incidents such as these tend to leave victims with deep emotional wounds and are usually the source of intense stress and depression.
It is not unusual for psychological harassment to also include group bullying. This type of behavior is frequently found in certain school-aged children who join groups of other students while engaging in the incessant teasing and taunting of another student. Reasons given for this type of behavior often include a victim’s sexual orientation, ethnic origin, physical disabilities or any number of perceived differences. Researchers, parents, teachers and other adults often find that this sort of psychological abuse leads to depression in some children and, in some instances, children and young adults may even resort to suicide as a final effort of escape from bullying.
Psychological harassment is not only relegated to children, however. Adults often experience such behavior in the workplace. These experiences frequently lead to the submission of a complaint or lawsuit in places where laws have been enacted to protect people against intimidating tactics and other hostile threats.
This type of behavior is also common in personal relationships. Such relationships may include parent-child relationships, sibling relationships, dating relationships and marriages. Often, such harassment includes name-calling, threats of physical violence, demeaning statements, excessive criticism, yelling, stalking and other constant aggressive behaviors from one individual to another. This is frequently referred to as mental and emotional abuse.
In some places, human rights legislation is designed to prevent psychological harassment or, at the very least, provide a way to try to stop it when it occurs. When it is not stopped, this type of harassment often escalates to physical abuse. Even when mental harassment ceases, however, the trauma of such an experience frequently leaves a person with deep emotional stress that sometimes lingers throughout a victim’s lifetime. Experts recommend that people experiencing this type of harassment address it at the earliest onset by terminating the relationship with the harasser, reporting threats to the appropriate authorities and seeking psychological counseling to cope with any lingering effects of mental abuse.