Abuse comes in different forms. Perhaps domestic abuse can be categorized into one of the four sub-classes: Physical, Psychological/Mental, Emotional and Spiritual. Physical abuse is the most obvious and the one which captures immediate attention. The most common types of physical abuse are hitting, punching, slapping, kicking, pushing, grabbing and restraining.

Psychological abuse is more of an intangible abuse which is more difficult to see and sometimes hard to label when you are in the situation. Perhaps the best example of psychological abuse is seen in women who develop "Learned Helplessness" while staying in an abusive relationship for too long. During the relationship, two things are done which lead them to develop learned helplessness. They are both oppressed and suppressed by their mates. Their partner gradually removes life-lines and social contacts from their life; their immediate family, friends, career, social life, aspirations, interests, etc. All they have in the end is their mate and their children. Furthermore, their partner scrutinizes and berates their very existence. They tell their mate so many negative things that they start to believe these things to be true of themselves. They hear put-downs like, "if you were a single mother, who would want you?", "you're fat and stupid", "you have no money and no education, where are you going to go?" and so on. Consequently, they believe in what they are told and act accordingly…helpless! And this is why they stay in an abusive relationship, nearly living the existence of a slave because they truly believe they deserve no better and can get no better.

Emotional abuse is very much like psychological abuse in that you don't really know it's happening to you when you are in the eye of the tornado. In fact, it happens so often, you just write it off as a normal part of relationships in the sense you believe "name calling" and "put down behaviours" are the norm. For those who get denied love and affection even though they seek it out, well, this is also a form of emotional abuse.


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