It is often how we are raised, the beliefs we absorb from our parents unconsciously which determines how we cope with life’s challenges. These ‘Un-conscious Beliefs’ remain dormant within our brain, until we find ourselves in a situation which challenges us to act.
Everyone’s actions in dangerous or threatening situations, stem from our basic inbuilt survival instinct, in one of four ways, Flight, Fight, Freeze or Fawn. Each of us automatically implement each of these coping strategies when faced with dangerous or fearful situations. The first three are regularly used by everyone in life but the one which I want to talk about today is the Fawn Strategy, which you may not have used or you may in fact be very familiar with.
Both I and many other women have utilised this strategy, most often when they found themselves in an abusive personal relationship. Abuse has many forms, but not all are so obvious or aggressive in nature. I want to talk about the more ‘subtle forms’ in this article, which from experience is driven by the ‘Aggressor’s’ need to control the other person, and is generally referred to as ‘mental /verbal/emotional abuse’.
Mental/Verbal/Emotional abuse is defined as:
‘Verbal Abuse occurs when one person uses words and body language to inappropriately criticize another person. Verbal abuse often involves ‘putdowns’ and name-calling intended to make the victim feel they are not worthy of love or respect, and that they do not have ability or talent. If the victim speaks up against these statements, they are often told that the criticisms were “just a joke”, and that it is their own problem that they do not find the joke funny. They may also be told that no abuse is happening; that it is “all in their head”. Verbal abuse is dangerous because it is often not easily recognized as abuse, and therefore it can go on for extended periods, causing severe damage to victim’s self-esteem and self-worth. Damaged victims may fail to take advantage of opportunities that would enrich their lives because they come to believe they are not worthy of those opportunities.’
The longer you allow this abuse to continue, the more damage you will suffer and the harder it can be to recover. Hence why the title of this article is “Suffering in Silence is Never Helpful”!
Don’t get me wrong, it is not easy to extricate yourself from such a relationship even when you realise what your partner is doing to you. After all, you are with him/her because you feel you love this person, or at least you did, at some stage of the relationship. In any event it is an emotional partnership. In my experience the earlier you challenge this behaviour from your partner, the more you lower your risk of long-term damage. Easy to say, but not always so easy to do, even when you may feel you want to.
What impacts on your ability to take action? –
- The level of your “sense of self-esteem” and “self -awareness”
- “Unconscious Beliefs” – I mentioned earlier. These are the yardstick by which your mind will validate and determine how you react to your partner’s abusive behaviour.
- Your general emotional sense of balance – at the time of abuse. What else is happening in your life?
- Level of familial or peer support you consider is available to you.
- Your experiential childhood with regard to abuse. This may normalise what you are now experiencing…. What we experience with our own parents as “normal” can often lead to our misunderstanding of acceptable normality as adults.
- Every survivor initially feels embarrassed to admit the abuse is happening.
- You may have been conditioned to believe you were just “too sensitive” as you grew up. (Which is common, but not the reason you are being abused).
- We often excuse others bad behaviour as something that happens the a because… the abuser is angry, tired, overworked etc.
- You may think it is your fault somehow? Wrong. The “Abuser” chooses to abuse.
YOU ARE A SURVIVOR OF ABUSE, THE ABUSER IS “ALWAYS” the responsible person.
NOBODY DESERVES TO BE ABUSED EVER!
So, when you feel embarrassed, make excuses or start to believe it must be “your fault” it is time to break the Silence! Seek help, support from a friend or family member initially, so you and your children are safe and out of reach of your abuser.
It is vital that you also find a therapist/coach who can help you professionally to mitigate the damage that emotional abuse has caused. Helping you to rebuild your confidence, inner strength and self-esteem, and to heal on many levels.
One of the many motivators for me in becoming a Holistic Coach & Trainer has been my own life experiences. I understand on the deepest level the difficulties survivors experience, and it is my mission to help as many people as possible to regain their birth-right, to enjoy a peaceful & joyful life.
Check out my website at https://www.yvonneclarke.com