any Adult survivors of child abuse feel they don’t deserve happiness or love and carry on the trauma and abuse in some form or another by mistreating themselves as adults. ‘We only accept the love we think we deserve’. Some feel they are almost faulty and unfixable. You can overcome those feelings and reach contentment. It is possible!
Trauma is not what happens to us, but what we hold inside in the absence of an empathetic witness.– Peter A. Levine
There are many kinds of abuse. Physical, sexual, mental, emotional. Each holds its own weight and resulting and residual affects. It can bring low self esteem and low self worth. Therapy is a way to unpick, resolve and eventually free yourselves of the power and control it has on you in the present.
In addition, there is also trauma and abuse we suffer as adults, which could be us emulating or carrying on abuse we suffered as children. No matter how subtle abuse was, it can have devastating results for us as Adults. A lot of it can still be regressed within our subconscious mind. We may develop defense mechanisms. We may repeat harmful relationship patterns and are not sure why. Therapy is a way to discover the ‘why’ to tackle the ‘how’ to change it.
Psychological abuse can look like
• Humiliating or embarrassing you
• Constant put-downs
• Refusing to communicate
• Ignoring or excluding you
• Provocative behavior with opposite sex
• Use of sarcasm and unpleasant tone of voice
• Unreasonable jealousy
• Extreme moodiness
• Mean jokes or constantly making fun of you
• Domination and control
• Withdrawal of affection
• Guilt trips
• Making everything your fault
• Isolating you from friends and family
• Using money to control
It is important to remember that it is absolutely not your fault. Abusers are expert manipulators with a knack for getting you to believe that the way you are being treated is your fault. These people know that everyone has insecurities, and they use those insecurities against you. Abusers can convince you that you do not deserve better treatment or that they are treating you this way to ‘help’ you. Some abusers even act quite charming and nice in public so that others have a good impression of them. In private, it is a different story, which is also quite baffling.
Hurt people hurt people– Will Bowen
Sometimes it’s hard to get your head around the fact that someone you love and who is supposed to love can be abusive. Abusers or people showing abusive behavior have unresolved pain and anger themselves. Their baggage is their responsibility, but looking at it from the perspective that they are hurt or damaged people, stops us from demonizing them. But that doesn’t mean you have to be in the line of fire or be a punching bag (physically or emotionally) for someone’s pain. Sometimes an abuser has been abused themselves and all they are doing is carrying on the patterns of trauma and abuse, because it’s all they know and what their frame of reference is.
How to free yourself from trauma and abuse
• It’s all about awareness. Emotionally and sometimes physically distancing yourself from the trauma and abuse, instead of being immersed in it and believing it.
• Recognizing that verbal, psychological and emotional abuse is not about you.
• Physical abusers strike for one reason and one reason alone. They seek to transform their own vulnerability into invincibility relative to you. It’s the ego wanting to be powerful.
• Find the YOU behind the abuse.
Ron N. Gad, PhDFounder
Ron N. Gad, PhD is the founder of Beverly Hills Therapy Group in California. Dr. Gad holds a PhD in clinical psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Along with his staff of licensed therapist, Beverly Hills Therapy Group provides mental health services for many disorders including anxiety, trauma, depression, and several others.