The Definition and Explanation of “Quiet Abuse” - New Dawn Treatment Centers | Northern California Rehab

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The Definition and Explanation of “Quiet Abuse”

Kate L.

August 4, 2023

Addiction and abuse often go hand-in-hand, whether because the person with the addiction is abusing others or because the person has an addiction in part because of abuse they have suffered or are suffering. For most people, the term “abuse” brings to mind images of physical confrontations or, at a minimum, angry shouting. However, as we explain to people at our addiction rehab in Sacramento, there is another form of abuse that is often referred to as “quiet abuse.” And, it can be every bit as damaging as other types.

What is Quiet Abuse?

Quiet abuse can occur in many ways. And because it isn’t physical in nature, it can be difficult to see that someone is being victimized. In fact, because it can be very subtle, sometimes both the victim and the perpetrator are unaware it’s happening. But even so, it can be very harmful in the long term.

Here are some of the more common types of quiet abuse:

  • Excessive criticism. Constructive criticism is one thing, but when negative comments are used as a way to control someone, that is abuse.
  • Gaslighting. This very manipulative form of quiet abuse involves taking actions that cause the victim to doubt their own memory, perceptions, and ultimately their sanity.
  • Withholding of support. Every person needs and deserves praise and support to lead a happy, healthy life. When an important person in the victim’s world consistently refuses to provide these things, it is very damaging to the victim’s self-esteem and sense of well-being.
  • Emotional detachment. In this form of quiet abuse, the perpetrator may do an acceptable job of providing for the victims physical needs, but refuses to show them emotion of any kind — positive or negative. It can have a very depressing and numbing effect on the victim over time.
  • Favoritism. Containing elements of the other forms of quiet abuse, this version involves purposely showing a strong preference for someone other than the victim, despite the victim’s attempts to please the person.

Often people who commit quiet abuse or are the victims of it try to rationalize it away, telling themselves that it is deserved. However, just like there is never a reason for physical or verbal abuse, there is no excuse for this more subtle form of attack.

 Helping People Break the Connection between Addiction and Abuse

The programs at our addiction rehab in Sacramento are designed to address substance use problems and to help people understand and deal with the abuse that is often associated with them. Give us a call to learn more about our services.