Counselling and Therapy For Abuse

You don’t have to put up with abuse!

Abuse is when a person subjects or exposes another person to behaviour that results in psychological trauma. This psychological trauma can show up in the form of anxiety, depression or even PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder). Abuse damages the mind because it results in an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds a person’s ability to cope with the emotions they are experiencing.

Characteristics of Abuse

Abuse is not only an abuse of power, but it manipulates people, this is often seen in ongoing relationships either at home, regular social interactions, school, or work. Abuse always involves a form of bullying. Abuse involves the disempowering of a person.

Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse can involve threats of physical assault, name calling, swearing, various forms of insults, accusations, twisting of words and meanings, instilling fear in others, mocking, and overly criticizing. It can also involve various forms of continual verbal threatenings, chronic verbal aggressions, and chronic yelling. Verbal abuse can also include threats of abandonment, lying, and making slanderous statements about them to others. Verbal abuse can also border on physical abuse through the use of verbal threats of violence.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse frequently coincides with verbal abuse but can also involve things like, verbal silence through isolation where one withholds communication for prolonged periods of time. It can also involve sexual withdrawal in marriage. Emotional abuse can also mean being isolated or ostracized, being excluded from meaningful events or activities. Attitudes that project blame thereby instilling guilt or shame can also be deemed as emotional abuse. This can also include the demonstration of anger, disgust, shame through body language, tone, or facial expressions. Emotional neglect is also a very powerful form of abuse. Emotional abuse can also be seen where the abuser is frequently making decisions for the abused and it can also include the deprivation of human rights.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse involves physical assault, physical pain and harm, intentionally harming someone and various forms of minute or extreme torture. It can also involve the depravation of a person’s physical needs.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse can be defined as any forced or coerced sexual activity be it a display that is observed, audible words or sounds, or through touch. It is an unwanted sexual activity that often involves the perpetrator making threats, using force, coerced intimate relations and/or taking advantage of victims that do not or cannot give consent. Sexual abuse may also include the coercion or any use of force to watch  pornography or to participate in sexual experiences that one is hesitant or uncomfortable with.

Financial Abuse

This kind of abuse can include but not be exclusive to the withholding of your finances, withholding of finances promised to you, and the withholding of financial information. It can also include the creating of a dependency on another person or party, and the reduction of a person’s financial condition. It is also the abuse of financial responsibilities entrusted to somebody where they take advantage of somebody else’s assets for personal gain.

Understanding The Relationship Between The Victim And The Abuser

Both the abuser and victim often will be acquainted with each other if not can be intimate or part of the same family or even neighbourhood. Infrequently are the victim and the abuser unfamiliar with each other. An abuser can be a family member, a neighbour, a babysitter, a friend, an employer, a professional and so the list can go on, but there is most frequently some form of relationship that already exists. Statistically 90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator and 68% of these victims are abused by a family member.

All too often the abuser feels trapped, powerless, ashamed, and afraid to reach out for help so they stay silent. In cases of sexual abuse it is reported that 1 out of every 3 girls are sexually abused and 1 out of every 5 boys are sexually abused as children. This can result in creating repeated victimization or possibly becoming a perpetrator in adulthood.

With respect to physical assault it is reported that 1.7 million women and 1 million men on a yearly basis are physically assaulted by an intimate partner.

Current Or Past Abuse

The steps you need to take to get better and heal will depend on whether the relationship of abuse currently exists or was from your past. If it is current then there are a few more steps that need to be taken before you can heal and that is to put yourself in a safe place, read some of your options below.

If the abuse is something that took place in the past then the first step to getting help is to call and set up a consultation appointment. We offer a complimentary 15-minute telephone consultation with a therapist of your choice. Once you have begun therapy then the ability to heal starts becoming a reality.

Why Victims Often Stay And Not Leave

The main reason victims do not leave is because of fear. People who are being victimized through the actions of abuse all too often can’t see a way out of their relationship which lends itself to hopelessness.

In other cases there can be additional complications in their relationship with the abuser such as can be seen in masochism or even sadomasochism. In such relationships where physical pain and sexual pleasure play a role to keep an individual in an abusive relationship though it may appear to be consensual. There is in such cases a codependency that keeps people in such relationships.

There Is A Way Out

The first step to getting out of abuse is to ask for help! Some ways of getting out would be to go to a shelter, a safe place to live, receive counselling and therapy, call a helpline, call 911, contact a domestic violence/sexual assault program, create for yourself a support system.  Be sure to prepare yourself and also your children (if you have some), to leave by gathering necessities and making some arrangements prior to departure.

Be sure to do some safety planning and obtain guidelines on how to safely leave an abusive relationship. Be sure to set into place internet and wireless technology security for those abusive relationships that you need to leave by clearing your computer’s browser that may give away your plan to seek help for abuse. Be sure to set up counselling to help you move forward safely.

Emotional Abuse Questionnaire
Take Test

Which of these statements are true for you:
1. Are you put down or made fun of?
2. Do you get teased or do they use sarcasm as a way to put you down?
3. When you complain about their teasing or sarcasm do they degrade you?
4. Do they tell you that your opinion is wrong?
5. Are you regularly ridiculed, teased, or put down?
6. Are you being treated like a child?
7. Are you more frequently than not corrected or criticized?
8. Does your partner admit when they are wrong?
9. Is your partner willing to adapt to your needs or meet your needs?
10. Are you given condescending looks, disapproving and dismissive comments?
11. Do they ever have difficulty outrightly apologizing?
12. Are they overly sensitive when you say things to them?
13. Do they make excuses for their behaviour or blame you for what they have done?
14. Do they constantly reject and disrespect your valid requests?
15. Do they use the “silent treatment” to punish you or teach you a lesson?
16. Do they blame others for their mistakes or problems?
17. Does your partner need to put you down in order to build themselves up?
18. Do they emotionally and verbally manipulate you?
19. Do they pout or withdraw affection from you?
20. Do they use neglect or abandonment to punish you?
21. Do they play the victim?
22. Does your partner notice how you feel?
23. Do they ever ask you how you feel?
24. Are you treated like a separate person, as a unique individual or rather as an extension of
themselves?
25. Do they respect your boundaries concerning personal information you have shared with
them?
26. Does your partner feel they have the right to force you to do things?
27. Does your partner do things to you sexually that you are not comfortable with though you
have told them not to?
28. Does your partner try to control your relationships with others?
29. Does your partner ever inflict physical pain on you?
30. Are you often afraid of your partner?
31. Does your partner ever threaten you in any way (killing, suicide, hurting, taking away love,
taking away children)?
32. Does your partner ever destroy your belongings?
33. Does your partner have excessive jealousy or is possessive?
34. Do they keep you from your family or friends?
35. Does your partner control or limit access to money, phone or vehicle?
36. Do they constantly check up on you?

Emotional Abuse Questionnaire Scoring

The more you have answered “yes” to an of the questions in this emotional abuse questionnaire, it is more likely that you are in an abusive relationship.

Reach out If you feel that you are in an abusive relationship.  Say, “No!” to abuse, reach out. As a person you deserve the right to be free from abuse. Remember there are others like you.  You are not alone. We are here to help you!

The questionnaire is not meant to diagnose in any way but rather to help those inquiring to self-determine their level of need.

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