All abuse is about power – an abuser takes power for his or her own self-gratification. As with all abuse, the emotional component is the one that does the most harm… Ironically, even in physical or sexual abuse. The emotional fact that someone you love unconditionally – and in whom you have placed complete trust – would hurt you is incredibly painful. Arguably more painful that the physical hurt.
We are particularly vulnerable to abuse when we love someone, particularly if we are in a position where they are in authority over us. Children, therefore, are very vulnerable to abuse.
The most powerful tool is knowledge. So many children that I have given workshops to in their classrooms have spent years not knowing that what was happening in their lives and in their homes wasn’t the same as for every other child. They had no idea. With knowledge we can start to understand and question – and get help… We can at least know what ‘normal’ looks like?
Having a play fight at school and getting your arm broken is serious. But it’s not really upsetting – in fact you may even be proud of your cast and collect your friends’ signatures! However, if your arm is broken on purpose by someone you love dearly… Or by the school bully who is emotionally hurting and humiliating you and is twice your size and against whom you feel helpless… That’s a whole different level of ‘serious’.
There are seven different kinds of emotional abuse – read about them here – along with sexual and physical abuse. Institutional abuse has also become widely recognized in recent years and you can read about that here too…
Knowledge is power – so read on!