Moving Forward from Abuses

Updated: Sep 12, 2018

In last month’s essay, we took a look at abuse and the long-term effect it can have. We tend to associate the word “abuse” with physical / sexual abuse, but there are many other forms of cruelty that can greatly saddle us, inhibit us, haunt us, or even destroy us. Just because cruelty is not physical, it is still abuse.

First, let’s look at some of these “small” infractions and understand what affect they may have had on you. Then, let’s address what you can do about it.

The silent treatment is abuse.

If you are hit, you are important enough to elicit one’s participation in your life, of course attention you don’t want, but at a minimum, you are at least visible. The silent treatment sends a thorough message that you are too insignificant or useless even to be worth a moment of time or a nod or look. You are left feeling ashamed, afraid, or unworthy, yet you may not realize the impact of this abuse. The body and the mind have visceral responses to the silent treatment; it may even feel like your cells are fighting something – bracing themselves for harm.

Name-calling is abuse.

If you are told, over and over again, that you are fat or lazy or stupid or useless or less than in any way, you can expect that your innate knowledge of how truly spectacular you are will be diminished.

Pestering/irritating/tormenting is abuse.

In elementary schools today, children are often taught that they should not let someone violate their personal space. By communicating with a child that they have the right to say who can touch them and how, they can learn to experience empowerment. We’re in agreement that a child can say, “don’t touch me” and that right should be respected. But what about violation of personal space that comes hidden in a package of pranks or nudging? Teasing, pestering, and irritating are abusive, the effects of which become compounded with frequency.