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Support Group Summary from our Therapist (What is a support group?)

Updated on Oct 24 2010

Emotional abuse is when another belittles, insults, condemns, ridicules and undermines another persistently, consistently and continuously over a period of time. It is usually present in intimate relationships such as spousal, parental, sibling, co-worker, boss etc. and is not easily avoided or eliminated. It results in a slow but steady drop in self esteem and self confidence which feeds into the scenario by making it feel impossible for the victim to leave. There tends to be a power imbalance within such relationship as well, but generally the perpetrator is likely to have been abused him or herself, suffers from a psychiatric illness or has been traumatised him or herself by significant others. In intimate relationships, psychotherapy has proven very beneficial but requires the commitment and motivation to change from both parties. I say both partied because over time the victim is likely to fall into a pattern of behaviour that may contribute to the abuse. This is called co-dependency and is a by-product of the abuse. Partners of abusive individuals may even make excuses for and even sometimes try to justify why they were abused.

Rape falls within the category of physical abuse but the trauma of rape after physical healing has occurred is definitely emotional. While the perpetrator is long gone, the flash backs and dreams often make it feel it like the perpetrator is somehow still present and hence may feel like emotional abuse in itself. Most rape survivors feel isolated and alone, believing that nobody truly understands them and that the feeling of being soiled has become part of their DNA so to speak. Society unfortunately places invisible timelines that once reached are supposed to erase all that came before. Hence, people are likely to believe that after a certain time one should be over the trauma and get on with ones life. The pressure of disappointing our loved ones and friends sometimes prevents us from seeking help. Remember your therapist is always ready and able to listen to you, no matter how long ago the incident occurred. Seek help, it is never too late.
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