Have you been abused? This abuse overview reveals all the behaviors that produce lasting emotional scars. The good news is that awareness is growing as more and more people explore the signs and become empowered to heal.
Did you know that abuse often accompanies addiction? If you've been raised in a family with substance or alcohol use, you may be programmed to experience abuse in adult relationships, too. Healthy relationships don't thrive in families where substance use reigns. Can you identify abuse in your life, and more important, can you heal? Here is an overview of abuse is and 11 top articles on the subject.
Abuse Begins With Power
Abuse is all about power. Jeff VanVonderen, a certified Interventionist from A&E's hit series Intervention, explains:
"In order for abuse to happen, by definition, it has to come from a place of higher power to a place of lesser power. People in low-power positions can’t abuse people in high-power positions."
It can also be defined like so:
Abuse occurs when one person’s behavior or words are intentionally aimed at hurting another. Abuse is painful, but does not necessarily stop someone from doing what s/he wants to do. A combination of abusive behaviors can turn the abuse to violence. Abuse becomes violence when it causes you to fear for your life. (From the South Dakota Coalition Ending Domestic Violence)
What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence and abuse are often used interchangeably, but they refer to two different types of assaults. Legally, domestic violence is based on living arrangements.
"Domestic violence is any act occurring between people who live together, or have lived together, that causes harm or makes one believe the intention is to cause physical or psychological harm." (From the South Dakota Coalition Ending Domestic Violence)
Peer to peer altercations, like when siblings fight, can be very hurtful and leave deep wounds, but they are not abusive situations. Instead, they are cases of domestic violence. Domestic violence also includes incidents of children assaulting parents.
Reach Out Recover has an entire section on abuse, and here are some of our most often read articles on this important subject.
You may think domestic violence is limited to either physical abuse or bullying, but abuse is all about gaining and keeping power. The cycle of violence can continue to repeat itself and the abuse often worsens over time. Here are six ways abusers gain and maintain control over their victims... (Keep Reading)
What are the signs of an abusive relationship, and what steps should a victim take? If you or someone you love is suffering from behavior described below, be aware that the situation needs attention... (Keep Reading)
For so much of my life I lived with the unknown: walking on egg shells, always wondering what was real, and trying to gauge my husband's mood. This was life as I knew it, living with a husband who abuses alcohol repeatedly for 30 years. I didn't know our marriage was constantly cycling through the four stages of abuse. But thousands of people live with abusers who don't have substance use disorder... (Keep Reading)
Emotional abuse in relationships is more common than we would like to admit. If we’re going to be realistic about it, abusive relationships are rampant. 1 in 4 American women experience physical violence by an intimate partner... (Keep Reading)
Are you lavished with love one minute and raged at the next? Abusive behavior is a way to manipulate and control. And it's so confusing. On one side you want to be loved and loving, and those are great qualities. But controlling people who become emotional abusers are not able to manage or understand their feelings. Instead, they use their feelings to manage others... (Keep Reading)
Emotional abuse isn't always recognized as abuse but leaves lasting scars nonetheless. I was called "girl child and an ugly one," and told I was too stupid to have a career. When a husband called me thunder thighs, I didn't eat anything for two years and still thought I was fat. You get confused about who and what you are and what's happening around you... (Keep Reading)
Men are abused at an alarming rate and often do not seek help. This is Eric's story of abuse. Eric and Andrea seemed like a perfect couple. They had cookouts and went camping; they hid the abuse well... (Keep Reading)
According to the CDC, one in three women and one in four men have been victims of physical abuse. For one in five women and one in seven men the abuse is severe, yet many take a long time to or simply refuse to leave an abusive partner. Here are four reasons why it's so hard to leave an abusive relationship... (Keep Reading)
Does what happened in the past stay in the past? Absolutely not. One of the most significant triggers for childhood relationship trauma are adult relationships... (Keep Reading)
Healing emotional abuse takes a lot of self-awareness and time. So don’t beat yourself up for behaviors and feelings that linger. Emotional abuse is damaging and takes a lot of forms, but what is it exactly? Emotional abuse is fundamentally someone exerting control over you for their own purposes or reasons that have nothing to do with your best interests. You may not be aware that destructive conditioning takes place over a long period of time... (Keep Reading)
I'm going to tell a little story about self-abuse and why it has no place in a healthy, long-term recovery. For one, if you’re a person in recovery, there are going to be tough days, tough months, sometimes even tough years. If you’re a person in recovery from addiction and trauma, it helps to get mentally healthy and find ways to cope that are productive and safe. Particularly so old habits don’t turn into self-abuse during trying times... (Keep Reading)
A Few Final Thoughts On Abuse
Whatever abuse you have suffered from, it was NOT your fault. If you some day want to forgive the person who abused you, remember that forgiveness doesn't mean reconciliation. If you have a tough time moving on and healing, there is a reason. Our brains store traumatic events in long-term memory so we can further protect ourselves from future harm. Recovery groups like Al-Anon, Celebrate Recovery, AA, CoDA, ACoA, and NA can help you recover from abuse too. Many people who struggle with addiction (up to two out of three) were abused as children.