Last month I ran an 'introductory' article about domestic and family violence. And boy, did it get people talking! Bam - goal kicked! No matter how negative or destructive this space gets, domestic violence MUST be brought out of the shadows. We MUST talk about it.
Going forward I thought I would take the opportunity to offer some education around the main types of abuse that make up domestic violence. For some this information will be all too familiar but for others, it could be LIFE CHANGING. When you live in a domestic violence relationship the fog can be real. You often have no idea what exactly is happening to you.
With that in mind, this month we'll talk psychological abuse, one of the hardest forms of abuse to live with. Why? Because it's often invisible to the outside world. When no one can see it, no one can help. Hence why this form of abuse is also often the hardest to recover from.
Psychological abuse is also referred to as emotional abuse, mental abuse or even psychological violence. The main aims of this behaviour are to frighten, control or isolate you.
It includes things like deliberate and repetitive episodes of humiliation, physical threats, bullying, name calling, character assassination, sarcasm, insults about your appearance, belittling of your achievements, dismissiveness, persistent lying, spying, goading and other destructive and manipulative behaviours.
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This form of abuse is extremely distressing. Its damage runs deep. Over the course of a relationship, emotional torture can erode any sense of self you ever had, thus making escape seem more impossible. It's important to note here that normal, healthy individuals do not deliberately harm others. If you are experiencing any of these behaviours please get support. This is about the abuser's behaviours. Not yours. You are not alone.
- Erica is a Women's Health Counsellor in private practice in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. You can read more about her work at www.shecounselling.com.au. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, on 0412 707 242 or via socials @shecounselling.