“The scars from mental cruelty can be as deep and long-lasting as wounds from punches or slaps but are often not as obvious. In fact, even among women who have experienced violence from a partner, half or more report that the man’s emotional abuse is what is causing them the greatest harm.”
- Lundy Bancroft
Emotional and psychological abuse
When people talk about or even think about abuse, or when the topic is highlighted in the public sphere, attention most often focuses on the more visually recognizable manifestations of physical or sexual abuse. But underlying any abuse—physical, sexual, economic, spiritual, or verbal—festers a driving emotional and/or psychological component that involves patterns of usurped power. Ways of gaining control can present subtly through numerous conscious or unconscious means and can involve tactics such as isolating, gaslighting, blaming, trivializing, intimidating, and many more. Such methods of manipulation can manifest in familial, romantic, or professional relationships, or even with a friend or neighbor. And, while the above quote speaks specifically of a male perpetrator, both a perpetrator and a survivor of abuse might identify as any gender.
If you have been experiencing emotional or psychological abuse, over time your body may begin to show signs of the distress, chaos, and confusion in your life. You may find yourself easily startled in circumstances that don’t seem to make sense or feel like you are in a fog that makes it hard to feel connected to life and the people around you. Maybe your thoughts seem jumbled or you can’t find words to communicate anymore. You feel so alone, and you just can’t do life the way you’ve been doing it anymore. You maybe even see yourself falling into a hole that will be too deep to get out of if you don’t get help soon, but you have no idea what to do.
I want to let you know that it doesn’t have to be this way for you. You can experience peace, wellbeing, and clear thinking once again. You can feel alive in a good way and can regain the ability to dream and to enjoy the people and places around you. You can reclaim, or maybe even find, for what seems like the first time, the you that’s gotten lost somewhere along the way.