Emotional or mental abuse is a non-physical attack on the self esteem of a person by another person, typically in a position of power, authority or trust. In some cases, particularly in sports, this attack can be wrongfully used as a form of discipline or encouragement, so it is important to be aware of the damage that it can cause to the receiver of the attack, regardless of the intention.
Participants can be deeply affected and take hits to their self esteem and confidence when being subjected to this kind of abuse. The attacks can cause them to feel humiliated, rejected, intimidated, and even depressed.
Emotional misconduct takes many forms, including but not limited to the following:
- Name calling: “Hey, Stupid, Skinny, Fatty, Klutz…”
- Threatening: “If you don’t do this, you will not be rostered for the next game.”
- Insulting: “You are so stupid.”
- Taunting: “You’re an embarrassment to our team.”
- Ridiculing: “I can hit harder with my pinky finger.”
- Intimidating: “I’m going to break your nose.”
- Negative questioning: “How could you let that girl beat you?”
- Withholding Praise or Affection: Not speaking to or comforting the person when they play poorly or the team loses, and showing obvious signs of disappointment.
- Punishing or Yelling: For not playing up to your expectations or when her team loses.
Some other important behaviors like bullying, hazing and harassment may present themselves as emotional or physical abuse.