It is never OK for one person to abuse another – in any way. Recognising that you are being or have been abused sometimes is difficult, or at least, hard to admit to yourself, especially if by someone who was supposed to love you. Abusers can leave you with feelings of guilt, shame and confusion; that this was somehow your fault or you feel ashamed to admit that you allowed this to happen.
These feelings are all part of the abuse and bringing your feelings out into the open is the beginning of healing. It is possible to live without this pain and shame. Therapy can gently support you through this process.
Often the abused person has come into contact with a narcissistic person and it can take a while to understand what happened and re-discover the repressed and lost parts of yourself. Talking therapy, and healing, can be very helpful; as well as coming to understand what happened to you.
‘To listen to my body and my soul. To remember to open my mouth before things get too bad. To laugh again. I learned that the madness I felt was not madness at all, that I am ‘normal’ and that NOTHING is hopeless.
I also have come to understand that these feeling may indeed one day return, but if they do, they will be backed-up with the knowledge that it can pass and that it is not forever.’
I recommend you look up The Drama Triangle created by Dr Karpman - there is information freely available on the internet about this and it helps explain the behaviours it is possible to become trapped in.
There are many types of abuse:
This is the easiest form of abuse to spot as it is non-accidental harm to the body. It can range from physical injuries such as hitting, pushing, wounding etc. to things such as misuse of medication, inappropriate use of restraint and dehydration/malnourishment.
Women's Aid defines domestic abuse as ‘physical, sexual, psychological or financial violence that takes place within an intimate or family-type relationship and forms a pattern of cohesive and controlling behaviour’. People should be aware that domestic violence is not always physical. It can be emotional and psychological, controlling and manipulative, and includes such things as forced marriage and so-called ‘honour crimes’.
Includes sexual assault or sexual acts which have not been consented to. Also, encompasses rape and non-contact abuse such as sexual harassment or pornography.
Focuses on the mental aspect of abuse such as threats, abandonment, intimidation, humiliation, deprivation of physical or emotional contact and cultural needs. Can also include verbal abuse. Psychological abuse can be harder to spot as it is often done in private and has no physical signs.
Financial or Material Abuse
Can encompass internet scams, fraud or theft of property but also alludes to control over financial ownership such as money, wills, inheritance or property.
Means the unequal treatment of a person due to their race, gender, age, size, disability, sexual orientation or religion.
The mistreatment, abuse or neglect of a person in a setting where the person lives or a service that they use. The abusers can be management or individuals. Organisation abuse can involve more than one abuser and there may also be more than one person experiencing the abuse.
Neglect and Acts of Omission
Includes all aspects of neglect such as deprivation of food, shelter, clothing or heating. Abusers can also harm victims by ignoring their medical or physical needs, which is mostly applicable in a care situation where abuse can occur through failing to provide medication to a person, banning visitors or ignoring/isolating the person.
Self-Neglect is a little different to the other types of abuse as this is inflicted from an individual to themselves and focuses on a lack of self-care so much that it affects personal health and safety. Self-Neglect also encompasses self-harm, failing to care for one’s personal hygiene, surroundings or health. People who suffer from self-neglect are also at risk of other forms of abuse due to vulnerability.
Some of this information accessed from https://www.personnelchecks.co.uk/info-centre/safeguarding-hub/types-of-abuse/
‘I’ve learnt to listen to my body and my soul. To remember to open my mouth before things get too bad. To laugh again. I learnt that the madness I felt was not madness at all, that I am ‘normal’ and nothing is hopeless.’