Abuse is about power and control. Many people still think that physical abuse is the ‘main’ kind and most harmful. However abuse takes on the form of any behavior that makes someone feel hurt, trapped, worthless, less than, undeserving. The psychological damage from the physical, verbal, mental and emotional abuse traumatizes the victims. Our bodies may heal but it takes a lot more work to repair the damage to a victim psyche. Sometimes a victim may not even realize they are being abused because they grew up in homes where similar behavior was tolerated and accepted.
Here are some non physical examples of abuse:
- Using children—to relay messages, using kids to make victim feel guilt
- Isolation-controlling where the victim goes, who they see or talk to, limiting communication with friends and family, using jealousy to justify actions.
- Economic abuse: preventing victim from getting/keeping a job, making victim ask for money, giving an allowance, not giving knowledge about family income – Emotional abuse-name calling, making victim feel bad about themselves, playing mind games, humiliating, calling victim crazy, stupid, useless.
- Using ‘Male Privilege’: treating victim like a servant, making all decisions, acting like master of the house, defining the roles of the house.
- Coercion and threats-making threats to victims body, children, family, safety, reputation, threatening to commit suicide if victim leaves, death threats, making victim do illegal things to hold over their head, threatening to expose sexual images.
Please think about your own life and the lives of people you love and see if you or someone you love have been/are a victim of abuse. Then if get you a yes to yourself or someone else, seek help for yourself and talk to the victim privately.
It will not be easy for any victim to break the cycle and leave. Do not judge a victim for staying. They may be doing what they feel will protect themselves and their children/families. Just give them a safe place to talk about the situation and possible solutions.