Mental Cruelty Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Mental Cruelty, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Mental Cruelty?

(n) Mental cruelty is the action by which a person inflicts mental harassment on the other by directly or indirectly attacking his or her self esteem, pride, honor, privacy social status etc. Such cruelty happens when the persons involved are connected by a relationship like marriage, employee and employer, Master and servant etc. Eg. When the boss was not happy with an employee he took away all the work allotted to him, so that the employee need to sit idle throughout.

History and Meaning of Mental Cruelty

Mental cruelty refers to the intentional infliction of severe emotional or psychological suffering on an individual. It is a form of abuse that can occur in various contexts, including in families, intimate relationships, workplaces, and schools.

The concept of mental cruelty has been recognized by many legal systems around the world as grounds for divorce or separation, termination of employment, and even criminal prosecution. The definition of mental cruelty may vary slightly depending on the jurisdiction, but generally includes behaviors such as verbal abuse, neglect, isolation, intimidation, and coercion.

Examples of Mental Cruelty

  1. A husband repeatedly ridiculing his wife's appearance, intelligence, and abilities in public and private, causing her to develop severe depression and anxiety.
  2. A boss constantly belittling and criticizing an employee's work, making them feel worthless and humiliated, ultimately resulting in their resignation.
  3. A group of classmates excluding and ostracizing another student based on their race, gender, or sexual orientation, causing them to feel isolated and distressed.

Legal Terms Similar to Mental Cruelty

  • Emotional abuse: any behavior that intentionally manipulates or controls an individual through fear, humiliation, or isolation.
  • Psychological abuse: the use of mental or emotional manipulation to exert control or dominance over another person.
  • Harassment: any unwanted behavior that creates a hostile, intimidating, or offensive environment for the victim.