Abuse is defined as any action that is carried out in order to intentionally harm or control another person.
It is the misuse of power.
There are seven main types of abuse:
- Physical abuse – this is control using physical force or restraint, or the threat of it.
- Sexual abuse – involves sexual assault, rape and grooming.
- Verbal abuse – this involves control through words, including bullying.
- Emotional abuse – this involves undermining a person’s self-esteem and self-worth in order to control. Coercive control is not legally considered abuse in Ireland. This is where a person undermines and demeans a person over a long period of time.
- Financial abuse – where a person controls all the money and how it gets spent.
- Religious abuse – where a person is forced to believe or not to believe certain beliefs.
- Neglect – where a person’s needs are intentionally not being met.
Usually a person who is being abused will suffer multiple forms of abuse.
Most abuse involves isolation. Because of this, the person being abused often feels like they have nowhere to go or nobody they can trust to help them.
The abused person suffers from something known as ‘learned helplessness’. This is where the person is so isolated, their self–esteem is so low, and they are so frightened, that they feel they have no power or no way out of the situation.
Also, if an abused person does get out of an abusive relationship, they still suffer from low self-esteem and feelings of lack of confidence.
Therapy can help. By working together we can come up with a safety plan if needed.
By talking about and facing what you went through or are going through, you can begin to make sense of it.
The aim of therapy is to understand, empower and help you move through your experience.