One thing that seems to be missed a lot is emotional abuse, by parents, partners, friends, colleagues etc. I think part of the reason for this is there are no bruises, no physical signs of what has happened, but the effect can be just as damaging as any other form of abuse. Well when I say no physical signs, this can be one of the causes that people to start self harming, or develop an eating disorder.
Bullying is one thing that is emotional abuse. whilst bullying can be physical and while there are various statistics on how much of bullying is physical, the name calling, the ganging up on, even the pretending that the victim doesn't exist has its toll too. I was bullied all the way through school, and although there was a lot of other stuff going on at home, all the bullying made things worse, and kids are cruel. all I needed was someone to ask why and maybe things could be better.
I have explained in previous posts about the sexual abuse that I suffered as a child, and into adulthood, but not only that I was emotional abused by both my parents, and while I could deal with to some degree (by dissociating) the sexual abuse, the emotional abuse I just couldn't get away from, as it went on all day every day.
According to the university of Illinois counselling centre website (http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/?page_id=168) there are three main types of emotional abuse Aggressing, Denying and Minimizing, and having read about each it seems that all three would happen.
There were so many different parts to the abuse that I am left with not really knowing who I am. About the only time that I felt that I was away from there control was when I left for university at 18, but not long after I graduated the control, minimizing, ignoring came back with vengeance.
My mum would say that the controlling was to support me and help me stay safe. when in reality is was making me more and more unsafe as I felt so trapped. One of the examples of my mums controlling can be seen when I decided before I started uni to change what degree I was applying for from English and History, to History and Sociology. I had changed it for good reason, especially as I had failed my English Lit A level Mock, and felt that I wouldn't get into my first choice university (Bangor). I also at even that point wanted to go into nursing and after seeking advice from the carers advisor at school I decided sociology was a good choice. when my mum found out she went completely mad at me, as if it was her working for the degree for the following three years rather than me, even when I explained why! or the fact that they put parental control on my computer when I was 26 so couldn't go on amazon (when there are a million of shopping sites out there), it wasn't so much the banning of amazon, it was the I've got control over you that got to me.
This is just a couple example in a huge list of them.
I was the scapegoat in everything, it was all my fault, and I would always get the blame, they were the perfect parents, and it was completely unreasonable for me to get angry with them, and if I did end up in an argument with them and walk away to calm me down that was wrong.
For a long time they denyed that there was anything wrong with me, which I think was there denial. after they finally acknoweleged that I struggled but to the rest of the world they denyed that anything was amiss with me. there (well mums really) was so obsessed of how the family was seen by everyone else, that became more important than me and me getting support.
Sorry this all sounds like moaning, and if it was just occasional in a way it would be just be like most family relations, but as this was all the time, and I can only remember 1 time when they actually praised me (when I got my degree results), the rest of the time I was put down, blaimed, controlled.
After I had moved home for 6 months for the second time, I was getting more and more aware of how my parents were treating me was affecting me, and it was making me extremely angry as ust felt trapped. but when I tried explaining it they would put it all back on me and my diagnosis rather than taking resposability themselves.
growing up in this environment, plus with the other abuse that was going on, has had a huge impact on me, I have a huge need to be able to control my environment and has a lot to do with my eating issues, the need to self harm to deal with emotions probably is partly as I was never allowed to show negative emotions and so didn't learn to deal with them, and so on.
While this post has had a lot of explaining what happened to me, what I want to get across is that this does mess up lives, it does affect people and can make them ill!