Recognising abuseAbuse is not always physical, so it’s not so easy to identify when someone is suffering.
Abuse is about power and control over its victims. As a result, survivors can suffer long term loss of control of their lives manifesting itself in many complex ways...
…and self-harming in many ways
Adult abuseSay adult abuse and many people automatically think of domestic abuse or sexual violence, particularly against women. In fact the internet has many sites aimed at helping women. The fact is that abuse can happen to anyone, male or female, anywhere and at any time.
Abuse, male or female, takes many forms…
Physical abuse Experience of abuse in childhood Domestic violence Sexual abuse Emotional/psychological abuse Bullying Self-abuse Drug abuse On-line abuse Financial or material abuse Modern slavery Discriminatory abuse Abuse in the work place Elder abuse
Anything that violates your absolute right to feel safe is ABUSE and is WRONG.
A hidden statisticNobody can produce accurate statistics of abuse because so much is unreported, as victims fear they may not be believed or fear the consequences from their abuser. What has made headlines is that child abuse in the UK is reaching epidemic proportions. Those boys and girls grow up with varying degrees of psychological dysfunctions or traumas. Of the people who come for counselling because of an inability to cope in some areas of their lives, over 70% have suffered some form of childhood abuse.
Many adult survivors of childhood abuse often slip into one or more areas of the list above – self-abuse, drug abuse, financial or material abuse to escape painful memories and will very often bring forward into adult life the coping mechanisms they used as children, which can be as extreme as dissociation and completely blocking out all memory of early years.
There are many people who have had a wonderful childhood, but have experienced abuse in their adult years. This doesn't mean that their trauma is any the less and can still severely damage their ability to function in everyday life.
What is emotional abuse and what are the effects?ANY FORM OF ABUSE IS WRONG, but just because there are no physical signs of abuse, doesn’t make it any less painful and destructive. Emotional abuse can really diminish your sense of identity, dignity and self-worth. It can leave you feeling powerless, humiliated, constantly anxious and isolated. The effects can be long lasting and, unfortunately in some cases, lead to suicide.
Emotional abuse symptoms vary but can invade any part of a person's life. Some of the many signs of emotional abuse include:
NOBODY ASKS TO BE ABUSED, even if you hear “you’ve made me like this – it’s your fault”. You don’t ask to be abused - It is NEVER your fault.
Emotional abuse, like physical abuse, is now seen as a crime and has recently been included in The Serious Crime Act 2015, which makes “behaviour that is controlling or coercive towards another person in an intimate or family relationship punishable by a prison term of up to five years”. As it is a criminal offence, the police are receiving specialised training to help victims of this crime.
Take the next stepIf you have just read this page, it may be that you have been abused yourself, have witnessed abuse as a child or know of someone who has been abused in one way or another. This has only been a brief generalisation, because the spectrum of abuse and the damage it causes is vast and complex, however, every survivor who comes for help is accepted as a person with their own unique story.
I appreciate that taking that first step to come for counselling may have been something you have struggled with for a long time. It may be that you have reached the bottom of the pit and don't know how to get out of it. Just surviving to get to where you are today takes a strength you probably didn't know you had, it just takes one more courageous step to start telling your story and to begin mending your shattered life.