Emotional Abuse is invisible. It leaves no visible scars, no damaged limbs, no black eyes.
Most physical wounds heal but the scars of emotional abuse – or the emotional part of all abuse – can linger for years.
The wounds of emotional abuse can’t be seen or heard or tasted but they are very real and must be healed well so that you can live, truly live, the rest of your life.
Addressing abuse will improve your life more than you can begin to imagine.
The intention of personal growth is to heal all wounds from the past and to allow us to know ourselves fully. This growth arises out of curiosity and an open mind. Important to remember is that all memory is perception.
An interesting fact is that the human brain can’t tell the difference between when something is really happening and when we are just imagining it strongly! Certain memories from the past may feel physically threatening again but of course the subject of those memories can no longer hurt us physically.
I can hear an objection already: “If you don’t know if you are abused, then how can you be? You’d know it if you were. Don’t waste your time thinking about it.”
No. Please resist the urge to click off this page, take a deep breath and read on. You have nothing to lose and at the least you will learn how to spot abuse and how to help a friend.
It also sounds suspiciously like the reasoning of someone in the grip of Abuse to me: total denial of responsibility (for anything). In fact, in those very words I can hear a tightness and a fear of the unknown.
Expect resistance like that, from yourself or from your loved one: we humans instinctively resist all change. We like safety and for things to stay the same.
To move on, I believe we need to understand and go through those memories. We don’t need to wallow in them but to touch on them is important.
An interesting thing is that once we are aware of something in our conscious mind, this knowledge will automatically start making its way (albeit slowly) to our sub and un-conscious minds. That memory can never again lurk in our subconscious?
This is very scary stuff for the Survivor – who is just looking out for us. The idea isn’t to throw the Survivor out of a job but rather to morph into Knowledge. After all, before this person dished out the abuse, she was likely abused herself.
And so transformation begins.
For me even now, knowing what I know and having known it for so long, I still doubt myself in my own personal life with a close loved one. When you grow up in an abusive home, abnormality becomes your ‘normal’ and even when “you know better”. Reaction often gets the better of you when you are feeling vulnerable and dealing with people you love. It’s also likely that those you love have been similarly (to you) affected and behave either in an abusive way themselves or attract abuse.
Truly understanding this is your key to freedom – although the difficulties don’t end there. If you have become used to a certain amount of sarcasm, nastiness and ‘noise’ and this has become your ‘normal’, then quiet, easy surroundings may ‘feel’ empty. If that’s the case for you, hang on. In time ‘quiet and easy’ will become your ‘normal’ and start to feel good. But be warned: this can take quite a while.
Are you an abuser or a victim? Not sure? It’s very normal for us to become a little of both, which is why labels are not so useful. We are all born ‘loving’ and we will have been victims first, before we were ever abusers. Having said that, we all have to deal with the consequences of our actions and face up to reality.
If you are the victim, you are important and so deserve change. If you are the perpetrator, you are still important and deserve change. Of course, if you are the perpetrator and you change, you will stop hurting others – a win-win situation.
In emotional abuse there’s much overlap between abusers and their victims and a label, in and of itself, doesn’t help. Few abusers come from a home where there was no abuse. Most serious child abusers have a history of personal abuse when they were children but this does not excuse their behaviour.
Are you the child of a narcissistic parent? This is abuse too. Narcissism is much more common than we think. Some say it is on the rise because of our small, nuclear families.
The hard thing is to accept that if, through no fault of our own, we have been abused then we are likely to be affected. Most likely is that we attract abuse. That makes it a difficult chain to break…
Certainly abuse can take on a life of its own and an abuser ‘at a serious level’ has to be treated quite differently. Whenever the safety of abused children or a spouse is in question, the first concern must be to remove the danger.
For most of us that level of psychosis isn’t there. In this article, we aren’t talking about what we have always understood before as ‘abuse’. We will talk about that in other articles.
This first kind of emotional abuse is often ‘mild’. Sometimes very subtle and mild. The effects, however, are anything but mild or subtle. A constant drip of water on to a rock can, over the years, drill a hole.
Abusers need to heal so they don’t hurt anyone else and so their abuse doesn’t grow.
Victims need to heal so they don’t attract/ tolerate any more abuse and can enjoy a truly good life.
Abuser or Victim? The goal is healing, not labelling. Although abuse can become very serious and a label then is important.
In healing, both victims and abusers will free parts of their ‘selves’ that they never realized were there.
Is this Abuse? What Kind of Abuse? These are interesting questions and ones that we will address in our articles. If you have input, questions or thoughts, please contact us. We’d love to hear from you.