It has struck me that people (from all walks of life) may have either grown up in an unhealthy home life and accept certain situations because it is the norm for them or often the slow but progressive manipulation or abuse of a person eats at your self esteem that by the time you realise what has happen it seems you are in such a deep hole you feel there is no way out….
As a Registered Counsellor I believe that awareness and education is one of the first steps to changing…understanding or getting out of an abusive environment or relationship.
Here is a brief summary of different types of abuse. If any of these seem familiar or it is what you are experiencing I urge you to consider seeking support and professional help. Also consider that often abuse even if it is directed towards you it affects the rest of the family and your children .
1. Physical abuse: physical harm or injury to the body. Including the use of weapons. Often physical abuse gets progressively worse and can result in death. Hitting, pushing around, strangling, punching are all forms of physical abuse. The abuser may apologise at some point yet donit again or blame the victim for their actions ie why did you make me so angry …. look what you did.
2. Emotional and verbal abuse: known as the ‘silent killer’. Often there is little evidence to prove the abuse. Often victims will experience feelings of guilt, depression, low self esteem and helplessness as with physical abuse. Swearing at you, continuous screaming at you , telling you you are useless or why are you not as good as so and so… making you feel like all problems in the relationship are your fault. These are some examples of such abuse.
3. Psychological abuse: includes excessive jealousy, threats, verbal abuse and destruction of property aimed at isolating the person from friends, relatives, support and to diminish decision making power. Examples: blaming you for affairs with no basis of such behaviour, not allowing you to speak to or have friends or family members around. Dictating who can or can not be your friends. Unreasonable “checking up ” up on you. Threatening to divorce you if you do not leave work b or if you do not comply with unreasonable demands
4. Sexual abuse: Just because you are in a relationship or marriage does not mean your partner can not rape you. If you say no and sex is forced on you it is sexual abuse. Threatening to leave you if you do not sleep with your partner is sexual abuse and manipulation . Sex in a relationship is not a right it is a gift given by each partner in a healthy relationship. IT very traumatic for survivors and can also lead to sexually transmitted diseases including HIV. Sexual abuse is often proceeded by physical abuse.
5. Economic abuse: occurs when the perpetrator denies the victim knowledge of or access to family finances or other resources that enable them to make decisions. Physical and emotional abuse may also follow. If you are a stay at home mom and your weekly housekeeping money is suddenly revoked because you did not cook the dinner right… this is abuse. If you are coherced into leaving your job or manipulated in such a way not to work ..ie I will divorce you if you do not leave your job. This is economic abuse. If your partner takes control of your salary or money and will not allow you access to it for example … this is economic abuse.
6. Social abuse. Victims are purposely isolated from friends and family in order to gain control of the person. If you are not “allowed” to see your friends or family or your partner choose who you can or can not socialize with or speak to this is social abuse. It is far easier to abuse someone that is isolated as you will have no support or outside frame or reference.
7. Spiritual or cultural abuse. The victim is denied the right to cultural and religious practices or when other forms of abuse are used to justify cultural or religious practices.