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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Emotional Abuse: Why Is It So Damaging?

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Emotional abuse is the most common and most damaging kind of abuse but it is often down played, if you reach out for help, people will often wonder what all the fuss is about. People who have suffered physical or sexual abuse often report that it was the emotional abuse that caused the most damage. This is because emotional abuse cuts you to your very core, it wears away at your self-confidence, self-worth and even your trust in yourself.
The children's rhyme "sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me" is completely untrue. Words can wound us right down to our very soul, physical abuse can only wound our bodies because of this emotional abuse out lives it's span. The effects of physical abuse only last as long as it takes for the scars and bruises to heal, the effects of emotional abuse can last our whole life span. When someone is emotionally abused the underlying message is that life is unstable and unsafe. There is a lack of security and consistency in your life which leads to a constant feeling of tension and fear; when this occurs over a length of time anger and depression result.
When you are emotionally abused, you learn that nothing you do is right and experience an immense amount of guilt over everything you do; because of this you are never sure what's right. Since you are constantly put down you are never sure where the next criticism will come from, this causes you to live in a constant state of fear and tension. A person who is emotionally abused is never able to feel safe and never able to relax; along with this you are always told that you are wrong and that you are to blame for the abuse; this, combined with the constant criticism provides you with countless opportunities to realize how "unworthy" you are which only serves to confirm the abuser right and that the abuse is your fault.
Every experience in your life only serves to prove how unfair life is and therefore justice is all you think about and a strong sense of right and wrong penetrates every minute of your waking life. Finally, because often, the abuse is caused by those who you love most and you should be closest to the lesson is that love hurts. You learn that it's not safe to trust anyone, least of all those you should be able to trust most and that to love is not only painful but very risky. This means that you learn to keep people at arms length, isolating yourself from everyone around you and you learn that the only way you can experience any kind of safety and security is by leading a lonely life away from other people.
However, it is possible to move on from the experience of emotional abuse

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