In the previous article, we saw and understood what is Psychological Abuse and its warning signs. An important thing to remember while dealing with psychological abuse is that there could be various different ways by which a person might be psychologically abused which might lead to serious consequences like loss of hope and self-esteem, depression and anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, dissociation, anger and in some cases it might even lead to suicide. And always this goes on behind the doors, and the abuser has a reputation because of which most of the time it is very difficult for the victim to stand up against them or seek for help, or the victim is dependent on the abuser for the living, or the victim might fear the consequences as it will raise questions on the entire family. And often addressing these issues is a messy process as the victim need to work on their self-esteem being in the same abusive environment to bring about a change.
Johnson et al. reported that, in a survey of female patients, 24% suffered emotional abuse, and that this group experienced higher rates of gynaecological problems. In their study of men, emotionally abused by a wife/partner or parent, Hines and Malley-Morrison reported that victims exhibit high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder and drug addiction.
Glaser reports, “An infant who is severely deprived of basic emotional nurturance, even though physically well cared for, can fail to thrive and can eventually die. Babies with less severe emotional deprivation can grow into anxious and insecure children who are slow to develop and who have low self-esteem.” Glaser also informs that the abuse impacts the child in a number of ways, especially on their behaviour, including: “insecurity, poor self-esteem, destructive behaviour, angry acts (such as fire setting and animal cruelty), withdrawal, poor development of basic skills, alcohol or drug abuse, suicide, difficulty forming relationships and unstable job histories.”
HOW TO BREAK THIS CYCLE?
Resolving psychological abuse can be all consuming. It might not change overnight or in a few weeks’ time. How this can change your life for better and restore peace and happiness in your life. You can consider the following points.
Being aware of the signs of psychological abuse, be it from your classmates, teachers, parents, partners, etc.
Finding a Right Support: Remember, most of the time, for such abuser, their reputation is everything so talk to other family members especially someone who the abuser is answerable. For instance, if the abuser is your parent or caretaker talk to your grandparents. If you are psychologically abused by your husband/in-laws, talk to your in-laws/husband respectively or even your parents. Don’t think they’ll be worried or hurt, parents are our protectors. Don’t be scared that they won’t understand or believe you, it’s okay if they take time to believe you but eventually they will come around or else you’ll have clarity about other relations as well. But don’t lose hope.
Seeking professional help: If the close circle fails, don’t hesitate to seek help from the professionals.
Be aware of your rights: Only then can you lead your ways and stand up for yourself. You have the right to be treated with respect within an equal relationship with your partner. You have the right to change your mind and/or end the relationship if it no longer serves you. You have the right to have your own opinions, even if your partner disagrees. You have the right to receive clear honest answers to important questions. In terms of a romantic partner, you have the right to say no to your partner if you do not wish to engage in sexual contact.
Recognize the long-term risks of an abusive relationship: We celebrate and value our relation for relatives, are supposed to bring in peace help and happiness, and stand by us in times of need, and not to create problems and insecurities. Our body and mind are interlinked, hence at a given point of time, it might contribute to physical problems like hormonal imbalance that could lead to various other serious problems like obesity, which in turn is an invitation to a lot of other health concerns. It may also lead to migraines, diabetes, and imbalance in blood pressure. Or psychological problems as discussed earlier in the article.
Let the dead die gracefully: Yes, learn to walk out of the relationship if it no longer serves the purpose of the relationship. Remember you cannot change the abuser. Value yourself and your mental health and walk out from an abusive relationship to a healthier life.
Stop blaming yourself: If you have been in a psychologically abusive relationship for any amount of time, you may believe that there is something severely wrong with you. Why else would someone, who says they love you, act like this, right? But you are not the problem. Abuse is a choice. So stop blaming yourself for something you have no control over.
Realise that you cannot “fix” the abusive person: Despite your best efforts, you will never be able to change an emotionally abusive person by doing something different or by being different. An abusive person makes a choice to behave abusively. Remind yourself that you cannot control their actions and that you are not to blame for their choices. The only thing you can fix or control is your response.
Your comments and queries are warmly welcomed.