What if Some Domestic Abuse Doesn’t Look Like Domestic Abuse

In our society, domestic abuse is frequently linked exclusively with physical violence. However, it’s essential to recognize that abuse can manifest in various forms, many of which are not immediately apparent. Let me shed some light on different forms of domestic abuse, their impact on mental health, and the importance of raising awareness. My goal is to empower and educate you on this often disregarded topic.

Domestic abuse includes a spectrum of harmful behaviors such as control, manipulation, threats, and intimidation within an intimate relationship. While physical violence is one aspect, it is vital to acknowledge other forms of abuse that can be equally damaging:

Emotional and Psychological Abuse

This type of abuse includes constant criticism, humiliation, manipulation, and gaslighting. These behaviors can make the victim feel as though they are losing their sanity, severely damaging their self-esteem and leaving long-lasting emotional scars.

Indicators of Emotional Abuse:

    • Constant Criticism: Persistent belittling, humiliation, or insults intended to undermine self-esteem and worth.
    • Manipulation and Control: Tactics like guilt-tripping, gaslighting, indifference, or withholding affection to exert power over the partner.
    • Isolation: Preventing the partner from interacting with friends, family, or support networks to create dependency.
    • Blaming and Shaming: Shifting blame onto the partner for the abuser’s actions or emotions and making them feel responsible for the abuse.
    • Threats and Intimidation: Creating a climate of fear and control through threats of harm, whether overt or covert.

Impact on Mental Health:

    • Low Self-Esteem and Self-Worth: Constant criticism can erode confidence.
    • Anxiety and Fear: Living in perpetual fear can lead to heightened anxiety and hypervigilance.
    • Depression and Hopelessness: Emotional abuse can lead to deep feelings of sadness and despair.
    • Trust and Relationship Issues: Survivors may struggle with trust and forming healthy relationships.
    • Emotional Detachment or Numbness: As a coping mechanism, some may become emotionally detached.
    • Guilt and Self-Blame: Victims often internalize blame for the abuse.
    • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts.
    • Social Isolation: Abusers often isolate their victims, exacerbating loneliness.
    • Substance Abuse and Self-Destructive Behaviors: Some turn to these as coping mechanisms.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse involves controlling finances, restricting access to money, or sabotaging the victim’s economic independence. This form of abuse can leave the victim feeling trapped and hopeless, as they may struggle to meet basic needs without support.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse includes any non-consensual sexual activity or coercion within an intimate relationship. This violation of personal boundaries can have severe psychological consequences.

Digital Abuse

In the age of technology, digital abuse has become increasingly common. It includes monitoring, controlling, or harassing a partner through digital means, such as social media or text messages.

Steps to Take Action

    • Educate Yourself and Others: Learn about the different forms of abuse, their signs, and available resources. Share this knowledge within your community.
    • Support Survivors: Listen without judgment, offer empathy, and encourage professional help. Let survivors know they are not alone.
    • Advocate for Change: Support organizations that prevent domestic abuse and promote healthy relationships. Raise awareness through social media, community events, or volunteering.

That said, domestic abuse extends beyond physical violence, encompassing emotional, financial, sexual, and digital abuse. Recognizing the signs and understanding the impact on mental health is crucial for supporting survivors and breaking the cycle. By promoting awareness, education, and empathy, we can create a world where everyone feels safe, respected, and valued within their relationships.

Biblical Perspective

Reflecting on Romans 12:17-21, which advocates for peace and refraining from revenge, offers valuable lessons for both abusers and victims. It emphasizes respect and kindness, encouraging personal growth and resilience. For victims, it underscores the importance of responding to adversity with integrity, maintaining mental well-being, and fostering a sense of empowerment. This scripture encourages a transformative approach to domestic abuse, promoting empathy and respect while breaking the cycle of harm.

By embracing these principles, we can shift our perspective on domestic abuse, leading to meaningful change and converting pain into purpose.

 

How Suppressed Trauma Affects You

Suffering from the effects of trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be expressed in many dysfunctional ways. When it is severely internalized, the one who has suppressed the trauma suffers even more. The people around this person are more than likely unaware that he or she is suffering at all because their internalization of the trauma is so effective. Or is it? They appear to be coping and interacting in life’s processes normally. But at what cost?

Unbeknownst to the onlookers, or even the person who is suffering from repressed trauma, it takes a great deal of energy to keep the trauma suppressed, because if it were to be released, the individual might experience a severe psychotic break or worse.

Where does the energy come from necessary to manage suppressed trauma?

The human body is a combination of mass and energy. The energy required to manage suppressed trauma is robbed from the body that hosts the trauma. This is the very same energy that is required for the body to function properly, so the body begins to deteriorate.

How does the body deteriorate due to suppressed trauma?

First and foremost, the immune system is compromised, so the person who is keeping the trauma buried deep within is prone to sickness, disease, and premature aging. Then energy is taken from the basic physiological and brain function, so organs begin to fail, bones may become brittle, depression begins to settle in, and cognition becomes problematic.

Explosive Traumatic Outbursts

Keeping all that trauma bottled up takes a lot of energy. Someone suffering from repressed trauma can get some relief by having an explosive traumatic outburst event. This is shocking to the unsuspecting onlookers who will be hard-pressed to try to make sense of this sudden break in character of their beloved family member, friend, or faithfully diligent employee.

Once completed, the outburst, which could take from hours to years, can offer a great deal of relief, and in a sense re-energize the individual suppressing the trauma giving them the ability to reset and have the energy necessary to resume a “normal” life once again.

Self-Medication

Many trauma suppressors release the pain from bottling it up by finding ways to let off steam and reenergize by engaging in high-risk activities periodically. These activities may be intimidating, even frightening, for most of us, but to them, they are highly effective coping mechanisms.

How might trauma suppressors self-medicate?

You might find them excessively “overing,” over-eating, over-drinking, over-spending, over-compensating, hoarding, gambling, using illicit drugs, engaging in criminal activity or sexually stimulating activity, having unprotected sex with strangers, or living a secret second life as a less desirable personality, among other methods of self-medication.

How do trauma suppressors affect other people’s lives?

If you genuinely care about someone who is actively hiding buried festering infectious wounds of unresolved trauma and abuse, accept the fact that this will be a tumultuous relationship. Expect broken promises, sudden surprises, hurt feelings, and ghosting, where this person may disappear without a word for periods of time or longer, even forever.

So, what’s the answer?

What can you do if you care about someone who is suppressing trauma?

Love them. As hard as you might try to help someone who is suppressing trauma, this is a highly individualized journey, and only they hold the keys to their own doing or undoing of this. Unraveling suppressed trauma is so complicated that there is no one way to assist someone through the process of overcoming trauma and abuse from the past, the trauma that for him or her is so individually horrific that the presence of it cannot be thought about or spoken of.

Can you help someone who is suppressing trauma?

Trying to help them will do you more harm than good. This is even a speculative proposition for experienced professionals. One who overcomes unresolved trauma will often seek different practitioners and modalities before finding the right combination of methodologies to successfully exit this mentally and potentially life-threatening affair.

CAUTION: Caring about someone who is dealing with unresolved past trauma or abuse can be traumatizing for you. Trying to help them? Even more.

The best thing you can do is to love them. Love them unconditionally if you can.

Try not to judge them. Pray for them, and send them all the love and energy from above and beyond you can because they need it.

 

Breaking the Cycle of Abuse: Reclaiming Your Self-Worth

Surviving abuse is an incredibly challenging ordeal that can lead to the development of unhealthy coping mechanisms as a means of self-preservation. While these coping strategies may have initially helped you survive the abuse, they can become counterproductive in the long run, ultimately granting power to the abuser. In this article, we will explore the concept of unhealthy coping skills developed as a result of abuse, why it’s essential to break this cycle, and how to self-diagnose and treat these patterns.

Understanding Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

Abuse, whether physical, emotional, or psychological, can leave deep scars on a person’s mental and emotional well-being. Victims of abuse often develop coping mechanisms as a way to endure their traumatic experiences. These coping mechanisms can include denial, self-isolation, emotional numbing, or even mirroring the behavior of the abuser to avoid further harm.

Unhealthy coping mechanisms can become ingrained over time, and while they may offer short-term relief from the pain and fear of the abuse, they ultimately become harmful. These mechanisms often include addictive or destructive behaviors that ultimately perpetuate a sense of powerlessness and dependence on the abuser, effectively granting them more control over the victim’s life.

Every time the victim initiates the unhealthy coping mechanism, the abuser is granted superiority and wins in the game of abusing others, prolonging their abuse. Victims can stop the lingering abuse, reclaim control of their lives and reestablish an empowered healthy life by firstly,

Self-Diagnosing Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

Recognizing and understanding your unhealthy coping mechanisms is a crucial step toward breaking free from the cycle of abuse. Here are some signs to help you self-diagnose these behaviors:

  1. Escapism: You may find yourself resorting to substance abuse, excessive television or social media consumption, or other distractions to avoid facing your emotions or reality.
  2. Self-Isolation: A common response to abuse is withdrawing from friends and family. You may have isolated yourself from loved ones to avoid confrontation or judgment.
  3. Self-Doubt: Continuously doubting your own abilities and self-worth, which the abuser may have undermined during the abuse.
  4. Imitating the Abuser: Mirroring the behavior of your abuser, either consciously or unconsciously, as a way to deflect harm or gain their approval.
  5. Inability to Trust: Difficulty in trusting others, forming healthy relationships, and setting boundaries as a result of past experiences.

Breaking the Cycle

Breaking the cycle of abuse and unhealthy coping mechanisms is a challenging but vital journey towards reclaiming your self-worth and independence. Here are some steps to help you on this path:

  1. Seek Professional Help: Reach out to a therapist or counselor who specializes in trauma and abuse. They can provide guidance and support as you work through your experiences and develop healthier coping strategies.
  2. Self-Reflection: Take the time to reflect on your past and identify the coping mechanisms that you have adopted. Recognize that these strategies were survival tools and not a reflection of your character.
  3. Build a Support Network: Reconnect with friends and family or seek out support groups where you can share your experiences and receive validation and empathy.
  4. Set Boundaries: Learn to establish healthy boundaries in your relationships to protect yourself from further abuse and manipulation.
  5. Cultivate Self-Compassion: Practice self-compassion and self-care. Treat yourself with kindness and patience as you navigate the healing process.
  6. Educate Yourself: Learn about the effects of abuse and the psychology behind it to gain a deeper understanding of your experiences.
  7. Reclaim Your Power: Acknowledge that the abuser no longer has control over your life. Take steps towards your own healing and personal growth.

Survivors of abuse who have developed unhealthy coping mechanisms should recognize that these strategies, while once necessary for survival, no longer serve their well-being. By breaking the cycle of abuse and developing healthier coping mechanisms, victims can reclaim their self-worth and regain control over their lives. Remember that seeking professional help and building a strong support network are essential steps on the path to healing and empowerment. You have the strength to overcome the destructive cycle of abuse and emerge as a victor, not a victim.

 

When You Let Someone Hurt You

When you let someone hurt you, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that someone has struck out at you, even assaulted you. When your feelings are hurt because of what someone else said or did, it might be more difficult to realize that the responsibility for how you feel is on you, not the other person.

You make the choice to allow someone else’s words of deeds offend, hurt your feelings, or affect you in a negative way because you could also choose to not let whatever anyone else says of does to affect you.

While enduring all kinds of torture and suffering, Viktor E. Frankl, said, “The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”

While being beaten for practicing civil disobedience, Mahatma Gandhi said, “Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”

These are both excellent examples of men who chose to rise above their current situation to disallow anyone else to exercise dominion over their state of mind. You too, can have this unshakeable resolve, if you so choose.

We go through life with the default setting of allowing other people to hurt us deeply and even feel the pain in our bodies as if we’d been beaten, assaulted, or tortured, when we have not actually been touched, and this is our choice.

We choose to feel sick to our stomachs, suffer sleepless nights, low energy levels, depression, and little motivation even to eat or get out of bed because of what someone else treated us. This is a lot of power over us to be granted to another person.

As perverse as this might be, it’s an attitude which you have been programmed to hold tight to as a method to control you within the prison of your own mind. Many heroic individuals have discovered this and broken through the programming to find their own peace in any circumstance.

You can choose to have the power to not let anyone shake your state.

Once you discover that you have the choice to be unmoved by anyone or anything outside yourself, you also realize that when you let someone hurt you, have made the choice to allow someone to affect you deeply out of respect or love, if you so desire.

From this vantage point you have the knowingness and power of your control over your state of mind at any time regardless of what other people think, say, or do. You are the master of your emotional state.

This high level of emotional maturity is within the grasp of anyone with the courage to grasp the idea and wrap their heart around such a concept.

There’s no need to look back at all the wasted hours, days, and living of life by being overly concerned about the dominion you allowed others to have over you. What is important is that from here on out, you are the master of your emotional state.

Nothing can hurt you.

Disappointment, fear, offensive statements, abusive circumstances (even the most unimaginable) are no longer effective weapons against you.

Also, letting go of expectations can be an effective tool in allowing others to have control over you, for if you let go of the emotional attachment to the expectation of a particular response or outcome, your emotional state is not at risk and cannot be shaken.

You decide to live your life in a state of pain and suffering or love and joy.

When you let someone hurt you, it is not without your invitation or permission.

Unconditional Love Makes You Angry

You’re not alone if the idea of unconditional love makes you angry.

You’ve been trained to desire unconditional love. You want to be loved for who you are, everything, the good, the bad, your adorable traits and the mistakes you have made and may make from this day forward. To feel as though you could be accepted and loved no matter what is what you long for.

You can look back on decisions and actions you’ve initiated in your past didn’t turn out the way you planned and may have turned out badly, possibly making you look and feel stupid. You know you could have done better if given a second chance. After all, your intentions were pure when you did it or allowed it to happen.

To be loved, regardless of the stupid things you’ve done in the past, not judged for those things you could have done better and understood as if anyone in the same situation might have done the same thing seems reasonable. And this is what you long for.

While this kind of unconditional love is what you desire, to imagine the offering of such a love to another feels like a preposterous proposition. This is when the idea of unconditional love makes you angry.

What? Love someone no matter what? Do you think I’ve learned nothing from all the pain I’ve endured throughout the course of my life? Have you lost your mind?

If I’ve learned anything, I know you can’t trust anyone, particularly someone you care about, and the more you care about them, the more they will hurt you, and the less you can trust them.

You have surrounded yourself with a protective forcefield in an effort to keep yourself safe from disappointment or risk of being hurt.

Congratulations. You’ve built for yourself and voluntarily checked-in to your hospital fortress where you can find the love you seek from within and heal, because life has been hard, and you need this time to focus on you, isolated from potential harm.

No one would blame you for feeling bad, sad, or mad while suffering from your wounds in your love hospital for recovery. While recovering from these wounds, of course, the idea of unconditional love makes you angry, anyone else in the same situation would feel the same way.

You are suffering from a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), not unlike any other form of PTSD.

If it weren’t for the support of others in their own various stages of love wound recovery, you would be totally alone and isolated in your fortress hospital, and with others who have are also suffering from love’s wounds you develop a supportive camaraderie. This kind of support can prolong your healing as you feel more comfortable in treatment than taking the risk of re-engaging in life outside the walls.

Isn’t the idea of checking one’s self into an isolated healing environment to become well enough to leave the facility and start to live your life again? To not do so transforms your hospital into a prison of your own making to serve out our own self-imposed life sentence. You needn’t suffer the extreme self-abuse of exercising your own love death penalty.

You’re better than that.

You can heal. In fact, you may be far more healed than you believe yourself to be. How many completely healthy people are in hospitals or recovery programs far past their healing because it’s safer to be in the hospital than to face your fears outside in the real world?

It’s time to get up and ambulate. Get outside and exercise your ability to love.

You can still exercise love when the idea of unconditional love makes you angry. No need to push through to unconditional love, but to start loving a little at a time would be highly beneficial.

You might find it helpful to see others as just like you.

You understand yourself so well and you would never intentionally do anything to hurt anyone else, unless in that moment, you felt like you had no other choice, as you were in fully engulfed in the fight-or-flight response. You felt like you had no other option(s).

You don’t have to love what someone else does, but you can still love the person.

Isn’t that what you want?

That is not to say that you allow anyone to abuse you. You have the right and obligation to separate yourself from dangerous situations, but let those situations be an authentic potential risk to you, your body, your mind, or your spirit. Don’t let your fear-inspired imagination to override your ability to find potential danger everywhere you look.

Instead, look to understand and realize that the person with whom you are feeling conflict is looking back at you in the mirror. If you were that person, having lived the same life, you would have done the same thing.

You can feel compassion for that person (not feeling “sorry” for them because that insinuates your superiority), trying to understand what it might like to be like to have to feel as though you might feel like you have to live life, like that. It could make you sad, and even react in a less defensive manner.

Even if the idea of unconditional love makes you angry, don’t let it stop you. Find ways to exercise your love. Start with letting friends in a little deeper. Find a child to love. Make occasions for you to engage in activities that you love, and allow your activities to grow to include more people to participate in those things that you love in public.

Get up. Get out of your love hospital, even if only briefly at first, and one day you will find you no longer rely on your self-restraint and self-imposed love prison sentence.

You have complete control of your release date. You get to leave early based on your healing and good behavior if you want to.

Maybe today is the day.

Write down today’s date, mark it on the calendar, and walk out on your own accord.

Set yourself free.

The greatest love is waiting for you.

See you at the Soulmate Wizardry event.

Invisible Abuse

Ever notice the stuff that makes you angry about the world?

It happens every day, if not all day long, something captures your attention, spins you up, and you can’t believe this kind of stuff happens in our world today, yet, here it is.

You think (if you don’t say it), “Aargh!” and might add, “I hate it when that happens!” You feel your negative emotions swell up and they overcome your rational mind, even if nothing happened to you directly.

It’s as if you’ve been physically assaulted even though no one has touched you.

You are the victim of invisible abuse

The societal structure which is the containment method of those who seek to control and herd a massively growing population is formulated in such a way to use fear and belief systems as a method to invisibly restrict and harness its inhabitants.

Not unlike the electronic invisible fence method of placing a shock collar on a dog. The collar emits an electric shock when the dog gets too close to the perimeter, keeping the dog from making a break for it and running free. No physical fence which can be seen by the naked eye is seen, only a wire buried beneath the surface to trigger the shock collar is all that’s needed.

You are being invisibly controlled by your negative reactions (the electronic shock collar), just like that invisible fence method keeps the dog invisibly restrained.

This constant barrage of negative shocks (which really are represented as electric shocks firing inside the brain, flooding your body with chemicals that cause you to fear, panic, or get upset and angry) is the invisibly abusive control tactic wielded by those who are charged with seeing that you are controlled, obedient, and easily handled (manipulated).

This all seems quite normal. Just as it would appear to be a perfectly normal way of life for the dog, had the dog been fitted for a shock collar since it was birthed. Likewise, we accept this invisible abuse as a part of life and it keeps us easily manageable as we stay inside the invisible fence.

As effective as the invisible fence is, every now and then, you see a dog wearing a shock collar running free, admiring its ability to find a way to break free from the invisible abuse.

Our fence of invisible abuse is not one hundred percent effective. Every once in a while someone breaks free from the system and finds true freedom and liberty.

From inside the invisible fence, you could hardly imagine why anyone would want to be outside the invisible electric fence of negative emotional shock treatment. We’ve become so accustomed to it being the natural state of things, that we wonder why anyone would even think of anything differently. Even if you were inclined to dare to imagine what might be outside the fence of invisible abuse,

ZAP!

Your attention is interrupted with a negative shock to the brain, which distracts you from the passing thought that there might be a life outside the negativity as your body starts to react with rage, fight or flight, in the struggle for survival inside the fence.

“Look at what’s happening!” (Not at what might be on the other side of the invisible fence. Let the invisible abuse overtake you.)

This doesn’t even take into consideration, that you are surrounded by other people who have been trained by electroshock therapy to do whatever they can to keep you victimized by the negative electric voltage. They’ve become so used to the invisible abuse that they’ve learned how to create and disseminate their own form of shocking attention-grabbing invisible abuse to keep you restrained within the invisible fence of their own creation.

And so, it is.

But there are those who have made it outside the invisible fence of abuse who can see clearly what is happening from this vantage point of real freedom and liberty.

Increasingly, more and more people are awakening to the idea of the invisible fence of abuse and they are finding the courage to make a break for it, finding themselves on the other side.

Sometimes, they go back, because they can’t imagine living outside the invisible fence of abuse, while the others find new ways to live outside the fence.

The next time you find yourself “shocked” by negative thought and you’re thinking, “Aargh! I hate it when that happens!” what will you do?