I came across this article this morning and I
wanted had to share it.
Yes. It. Is. “anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, symptoms of post-traumatic stress and suicidality at the same rate and, in some cases, at a greater rate than children who were physically or sexually abused.”
Having experienced all as a child and into adulthood, I can say that counselors and teachers are not equipped to recognize and manage/treat childhood psychological abuse sufferers’ wounds. You’ve never heard of a child being taken away from a parent due to psychological abuse have you? I haven’t. But I can say that being that child is a sad, lonely and painful experience. Add in physical and sexual abuse and it’s even more devastating.
the wounds we suffer can serve to help others.
As an adult, abuse victims friends and family are ill-equipped to deal with “it” as well. The advice I’ve received about emotional abuse in the past? “Don’t worry you’ll get over it. It’s just words.” or “well, at least he didn’t hit you.” or my favorite “you know she really did love you right?” To me, psychological abuse is another invisible disease that gets overlooked and brushed aside. And yes, I know I called it a disease because I think it is. It takes a diseased mind to purposefully wield words as weapons and bathe a victim with emotional neglect and hidden manipulations.
So often psychological abuse victims are left to their own devices to wake up to the Gaslighting and hopefully save themselves before being crushed by a vicious cycle.
It’s easy to see and report the bruises, but the words can be just devastating to a child and the adult they become. Because of the abuse as a child it becomes difficult to break the cycle of abuse with partners/”friends”/family and the behavioral response we are accustomed to. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes in the relationship department that I credit in part to years of abuse as a child.
The strokes, Alzheimer’s and eventual death of my biological mother last year and the PTSD-inducing family circus that lasted the better part of a year dislodged some traumatic experiences of abuse I had long packed away in my mind. It’s been difficult but enlightening to unpack and understand more about myself and my childhood that I ever had before. I am even more grateful to my step mother who adopted me. The firm patience and love she offered still lingers with me today and is one reason I am as strong as I am. She taught me that we can make our own family, that wounds can heal, and the wounds we suffer can serve to help others.
The hard part for me has been accepting that I am so much more than the abuse I’ve endured. An important thing I try to remember is that it takes time to learn to love and forgive yourself and to make room in your life for people who genuinely care about you. I am still making room in my life for the right people and building my own family one friendship at a time.
I hope the article is helpful to you. Please talk with a friend or family member you think may be in an abusive situation or if you think a child is suffering psychological abuse seek help for them. You could save their life.
If you are in an abusive situation now (and I can think of a few of you who are) I want you to know that things will get better. It may take time before you can leave your current situation*, and yes things will be terrible for a while, but don’t listen to the “you’ll never be anything without me” bullshit. Don’t give up. I didn’t. It took a few years of soul searching and serious fuckups, but I eventually met and married a man who is my best friend. He treats me with respect and is lovingly supportive in my healing process.
You are more than the abuse.