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invisible abuse

What is Invisible Abuse

Dr. David B. Hawkins, Director of The Marriage Recovery Center, shares about invisible abuse–covert emotional abuse. He shares how victims often feel ashamed to talk about this form of abuse, and how many professionals don’t understand it. But, it’s time to talk out and demand attention for this rampant problem.

What Is Invisible Abuse?

In many instances of mistreatment within a marriage, the wounds inflicted are invisible, leaving deep scars on one’s soul, spirit, and personhood. The shame and embarrassment associated with these hidden wounds often prevent individuals from seeking help or confiding in others.

Emotional abuse, a form of domestic violence that targets the spirit and personhood, is an aspect that receives insufficient attention. Dr. David Hawkins, Director of the Marriage Recovery Center, specializes in emotional abuse and sheds light on the pervasive nature of invisible abuse, emphasizing the need for understanding, validation, and healing.

The Desperate Need for Understanding and Validation

When individuals share their feelings and thoughts, they yearn for understanding and validation. They seek someone who will acknowledge their emotions, hear their concerns, and take them into consideration.

In emotionally abusive marriages, characterized by invisible wounds, these needs are often dismissed or worse, met with accusations of being irrational or crazy. The pressure to conform to the abuser’s expectations replaces one’s authentic self, leading to a profound sense of isolation.

Unveiling the Invisible Abuse

Invisible abuse, a prevalent but under-discussed issue, manifests through various harmful behaviors. Invalidating feelings, blame-shifting, scapegoating, and gaslighting are forms of invisible abuse that undermine a person’s sense of reality, causing confusion and self-doubt. This covert emotional abuse is epidemic, with countless individuals, predominantly women, reaching out for support every day.

The Urgent Need for Awareness and Intervention

Dr. Hawkins expresses his bewilderment as a clinician regarding the limited attention given to invisible abuse. However, he remains hopeful that an epidemic of healing can be sparked through increased awareness, concern, and care. Professionals in the field, including clinicians and experts, as well as religious institutions, must address and discuss this issue more openly. By fostering interest and understanding, interventions can be implemented to hold perpetrators accountable for their damaging behaviors.

Seeking Help and Initiating Healing

For those suffering from invisible abuse, finding the courage to speak up and seek assistance is crucial. It is essential to reach out to someone who cares, actively listens, and possesses knowledge about this issue. The path to healing begins by seeking support from individuals or organizations equipped to provide guidance and interventions. Dr. Hawkins encourages those affected by covert emotional abuse to speak out, offering his assistance through the Marriage Recovery Center and emphasizing that healing is possible.


Invisible abuse, a devastating aspect of domestic violence, leaves lasting wounds on one’s spirit and personhood. By acknowledging the prevalence of invisible abuse and promoting awareness, we can ignite an epidemic of healing.

It is crucial for individuals experiencing emotional abuse to find the strength to seek help from understanding professionals who can guide them toward a path of recovery. With increased interest, concern, and intervention, we can create a society that cares deeply for those impacted by invisible abuse and supports their journey toward healing and restoration.

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: How Do Narcissists Manipulate?

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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