Mental abuse is harder to categorize. Most spouses have abused their other half to some degree during the tenure of their relationship. The question is how badly. It would be nice if everyone was civil and polite 100% of the time. But couples rarely are when they are in a relationship.
I think the thing that distinguishes the kind of mental abuse is in the intention behind the words. Are one and all just angry and in the heat of the moment say things they later regret? Or is there some hidden motive to make the person feel badly about themselves?
The latter intention is the one you want to run away from. People like that do not have your best interests in mind. To have the intention to crush another person's spirit is just plain evil and if you have someone in your life like that you need to rid yourself of them, whether they be a spouse, friend, or acquaintance.
This kind of evil intention to damage a person's spirit is the tip off in getting a divorce. But this kind of intention is not entirely visible and because of this it can be hard to identify. So here are a couple of ways to identify this kind of destructive personality.
Here are four distinguishing characteristics:
1) When they talk to you, you will notice they are not specific. They will use generalities like "Anybody can tell ..." or "Everyone knows ..." especially when imparting a rumor, or some criticism about a friend or acquaintance or people in general. They do this for a reason. When you try to recall who said what about whom in your memory it will appear as if everyone said it, so you will be unable to ID the actual rumormonger.
2) People in this person's circle or vicinity tend to have accidents or are ill a lot. The people around these destructive personalities are not doing well in life and continue to fail.
3) Everything bad that they do to you is unimportant or silly to worry about and anything bad you did to them is earth shattering and terrible beyond belief. Also, anything you can do, they can do better and your contributions to a project or plan or endeavor aren't worth anything. Even when you do exactly as they asked, you did it wrong.
4) They resist and rail against help in any form. Alcoholics, drug addicts, compulsive gamblers, compulsive infidelity can fall into this category. If they refuse to get help, then it is time to move on.
Stay away from these kinds of people and you will find that your life in general will improve and you will be much happier. If you are married to this kind of person, then by all means, get a divorce. But before you assume that your are married to this kind of person realize that they only comprise about 5% to 10% of the population, roughly one or two out of twenty.
So don't pull the trigger unless you are sure. When people are having trouble in their relationships they will often look for ways to exit. Don't be that kind of person. Be responsible. If you use love and understanding and always try to help others, you really can't go wrong. Helping people really does go a long way.
People need help to live a better life. Humans err. It's what they do. But only destructive personalities rub a person's mistakes from the past in their face for the rest of their life. Destructive people abhor helping others and resist being helped themselves. They have no faults and are always right. And that is probably the best way to identify them.
I hope this helps you.