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covert abuse

The Truth Behind Covert Abuse Exposed

Do you feel like you’re living with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? He’s jovial, likeable, well respected Mr. Nice Guy….until he’s not. Dr. Hawkins exposes the truth behind covert abuse, “the silent epidemic.”

The Truth Behind Covert Abuse Exposed

Covert emotional abuse, often hidden behind a façade of kindness and charm, is a destructive form of abuse that is often overlooked and misunderstood. In this article, we will shed light on the truth behind covert abuse, examining its nature, effects, and the importance of raising awareness about this insidious behavior.

He’s Nice… Until He’s Not

Many individuals who engage in covert emotional abuse initially appear pleasant, friendly, and cooperative. They can be charismatic and well-respected in their communities, often holding positions of power and influence. However, behind closed doors, they reveal a darker side, akin to the infamous Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This hidden persona, Mr. Hyde, represents their shadow side, the part they do not want anyone else to see.

The Covert Emotional Abuser

Unlike overt emotional abusers, who display their dominance and control openly, covert emotional abusers are masters at concealing their true intentions. They employ subtle tactics of superiority, dominance, and control, often in passive-aggressive ways. Their desires and needs always take precedence over their partner’s, and their victims find themselves caught in emotional quicksand, where their own well-being is constantly compromised.

Identifying Covert Emotional Abuse

Recognizing covert emotional abuse can be challenging, as it does not always manifest through overt actions. Instead, it often involves passive-aggressive behavior, obstinacy, opposition, and stonewalling. Gaslighting, a manipulative technique designed to make the victim question their own reality, is also commonly employed. The victim is left feeling exhausted, confused, and doubting their own sanity, often believing that nobody else would understand or believe their experiences.

The Destructive Impact

Covert emotional abuse is as damaging, if not more so, than its overt counterpart. It chips away at the victim’s well-being, eroding their self-esteem, and subjugating their desires and needs to the abuser’s wants. The constant emotional turmoil inflicted by the abuser takes a severe toll on the victim’s mental and emotional health.

The Denial and Manipulation

When confronted about their abusive behavior, covert emotional abusers typically refuse to acknowledge it. They often shift blame back onto the victim, portraying themselves as the true victim. By denying the abuse and labeling it as something else, they undermine the victim’s experiences, further exacerbating their feelings of helplessness and confusion.

The Epidemic of Covert Emotional Abuse

Covert emotional abuse is alarmingly prevalent in society. Many victims suffer in silence, as the hidden nature of the abuse makes it difficult for others to recognize and understand. The abuser’s outward appearance of respectability and power often leaves the victim feeling isolated and unheard.

Calling Out Covert Emotional Abuse

It is crucial to name and expose covert emotional abuse for what it is. By raising awareness about this insidious behavior, we can empower both victims and those who treat emotional abuse to identify the patterns and take necessary steps towards healing. Victims play a vital role in effecting change by speaking out and refusing to tolerate covert emotional abuse.


Covert emotional abuse is a devastating form of abuse that inflicts significant harm on its victims. It operates behind a carefully constructed mask of charm and respectability, making it difficult for others to perceive the abuse taking place. By shedding light on this issue, we can break the silence surrounding covert emotional abuse and empower individuals to recognize, confront, and heal from this destructive behavior. Together, we can create a society where emotional abuse in all its forms is not tolerated, and victims find the support and understanding they deserve.

To learn how we can help, reach out to us at (206) 219-0145 or info@marriagerecoverycenter.com to speak with a Client Care Specialist

Also read: 5 Qualities of Emotional Maturity

About Dr. Hawkins:

The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.

Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.

He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.

In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.


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