All traumatic experiences are different, but in no way can we measure or tell which is greater or what may have left a severe impact on a person. Abuse in all its forms can be serious and toll-taking. Rising above it and healing from it can be more difficult than the experience itself. That said, let us first understand the many different types of abuse that can affect us directly or indirectly.
Different types of abuse
There are many different types of abuse that we may or may not be aware of. While some are evident, there are those that are hidden behind words and silent gestures. To help you get a better understanding of it all, here are the types of abuse you should know about.
– Physical abuse: This type of abuse is the most easy to identify and to many it is also the first thing that comes to mind when a person hears the word ‘abuse’. Physical abuse therefore can be in the form of hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, strangling or more.
– Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse can be both a form of physical and non-physical abuse. It is when a person is forced into a sexual activity or is subject to sexual slurs or when sex is used as a weapon to make the victim comply.
– Emotional abuse – Emotional or verbal abuse are non-physical. They may not leave a physical scar, but may take a lot of time to heal.
– Psychological abuse: Mental abuse is when a person’s actions or words take a toll on another person’s psychological being.
– Financial abuse: Abuse is all about power and control and in today’s world, money is a way to maintain one’s dominance over others. That said, financial abuse is when a person tries to take over all the finances and budget planning in a relationship.
– Cultural abuse: Identity is a very crucial aspect of a person’s being. So, if a person’s identity, for instance their race, sex, gender, caste, creed, religion or ethnicity, is targeted, it can be a form of cultural abuse.
Keeping in consideration all these types of abuses, let us delve into an abuse that is the most difficult to detect and heal from.
Why is emotional abuse the most difficult to deal with?
Any form of abuse that inflicts pain, suffering, deprives one of his or her trust in people, can be hard to deal with and heal from. However, emotional abuse is the one kind that can slowly and steadily empty one’s soul and make them feel stranded.
Being affected emotionally is a slow process wherein the damage done is subtle, almost unidentifiable. However, once it is recognized, it may already be too late. It could involve years and years of verbal criticism, brainwashing, taunts, manipulation, nagging and constant bickering. The abuse is so continuous that one tends to lose his or her true identity and comes to believe everything that they’re told.
Even if one escapes such abuse, the impact remains and is carried forward into the next phase of their life. Until and unless one finds a great support system, someone to bring back the confidence, self-esteem, they may never heal.
Associated trauma can affect your life in many ways
There are many ways in which emotional abuse can affect you. Not only does it hamper your sense of identity, but it also impacts your relationships in the future.
Whether in a familial relationship or a romantic bond, an emotional abuse can arise anywhere where emotions are concerned. If you’re in an abusive relationship, there will be a lot of trauma. Besides the fact that your self-esteem will suffer, not only will you have trust issues with everyone around you, but you will also find it hard to believe in yourself.
Since you are deprived of the ‘fairytale’ you initially expected, you’re bound to feel alone and doubtful of anything positive that comes your way in the future. Even when it’s all over, the fear and the anxiety that comes along with every memory can be mentally taxing. The criticism, the constant monitoring and the nagging continues to affect you in the form of flashbacks.
That said, it is a tiring journey that can only be overcome by supportive people and the will to be positive all over again.
Healing from an emotional abuse can take a lot of time
An emotional abuse can be traumatic both when it is occurring and even when it is over. It is not something that stops with the end of abuse.
From recovering to re-stabilizing your mind and your life, there’s a lot of effort that goes into it. It is a long process that needs patience and kindness toward oneself. If you believe that it will all go away once you’re out of the abuse, then you’re wrong. You must realise that it will take longer than you expect. But with all the positivity and support, it is achievable and very possible.
Recovery may take extra effort
If you’re someone who underwent great emotional abuse, you may feel like your world has ended. But truth be told, it is just the beginning of a new phase in your life. All the trauma you experienced and the emotional baggage you carry is what will make you a greater person in the future.
While it will take time, with constant effort and the will to grow, you’re sure to recover from the trauma. But first and foremost, seek help. Do not try and fight it alone. During your emotional recovery, it is important that you have people around you or a professional help to guide you through this.
Look for ways to cope with your anxiety. Keep yourself occupied and do things that you love. Trust yourself and others and work on building a strong ‘self’. That said, once you recover, prepare yourself for any flashbacks or triggers, but do not be caught off guard. Rather help yourself manage them efficiently.