Nasty Blast from the Past: Are You A Victim of Psychological Abuse?
Memories have a way of sneaking up on you when least expected, and recently this happened to me, when a nasty memory jumped out at me. Thinking it might be used to help someone else in a similar situation, I decided to share it, story-style, in hopes that another needy soul could derive some comfort or wisdom from it.
It’s a rather painful memory, but sadly, this type of occurrence was rather ordinary…; and even more sadly, it happens to many, many others. I often lift these ones up in my prayers.
Following is just one instance of psychological abuse and how it affects the sufferer. There are MANY variations, all of them destructive and very painful. Children are often treated by parents or other children this way, as well as spouses with abusive partners. It is considered funny, but it is far from funny: it is cruel and destructive in the extreme.
"You're not going out in public wearing THAT thing, are you?" he demanded with a look of horror on his face. "Why, what's wrong with it?" she asked in alarm, looking down at her favourite outfit, and one which he had hitherto complimented her on. Was there a stain that hadn't come out in the wash; a hole she had not seen? "Oh, nothing," he loftily retorted. "What's wrong with it," she repeated, helplessly. "Please tell me why it's not suitable." "Nothing's wrong with it. I was only joking. Can't you take a joke? Go ahead and wear it," was his rather mocking answer. By this time she was completely unsure of herself and her choice of outfit. Changing into another, she left the house feeling deflated and miserable. She couldn't get rid of the thought that her favourite outfit, which he had liked until today, was suddenly unfit for public use. Why wouldn't he tell her what the problem was? She stewed on it for hours... It was a long time before she could look at that outfit again, and when she did, she felt the pain of his cruel words again, so she decided to give it away. Shortly after giving it away, as they were preparing to attend another public function, she thought it best to ask him what he would like her to wear. To her dismay and greater confusion, he suggested the very outfit she had just given away! "But...uh...I thought you didn't like that one..." "What gave you THAT idea?" he snorted contemptuously. "Because...last time I wore it you didn't seem to approve of it..." she timidly ventured. "I SAID I was only joking, you can't even take a joke!" Then as he angrily left the room, he added, "Wear whatever you want! I don't care!" Her spirit crushed again, she was desperately close to tears, wondering what to wear, not knowing how she would manage to hide her intense pain, deeply disappointed at herself for giving her favourite outfit away, and dreadfully confused. Why did he have to do these kind of things all the time, and just before they had to go somewhere? She swallowed her angry tears, dressed in something she thought might please him, washed her face in cold water to hide the pain, and somehow managed to keep it all from spilling out, though the overflow point was always very, very near...
Dear readers, I sincerely hope none of you is treated this way by anybody close to you! And I equally hope nobody close to you is being treated this way elsewhere. But in the sad event that you or someone you love IS being abused like this, I fervently hope you can get help for yourself or them.
A few signs that you or someone you love is being abused this way:
a) there’s a feeling of unexplainable oppression
c) self-blaming for everything
f) unexplained illnesses
g) strange physical pains
h) tears almost always close to the surface
i) a feeling of shame or guilt
j) self-inflicted pain (nail picking, cutting oneself, etc.)
k)unexplained crying, etc.
Victims of abuse tend to hide it very well, feeling they are to blame for it. Abusers are extremely good at making their victims take the blame, even in cases of actual physical violence. They have a way of twisting events and confusing their victims, thereby causing the victims to accept the blame. In this way, the victims seldom reach out for help because they believe others will see it all as their fault, too. Until it gets so bad there comes a breaking point.
Children treated this way by parents, as I was, can’t even see it. It has become a normal way of life for them, even though they are deeply hurt, and cannot explain why they feel so incredibly sad and lonely all the time.
At the present juncture in my life, after the tender mercy and lovingkindness of Jesus Christ has healed me to a large degree, I can better understand a lot of things.
If you think you may be a victim of abuse, it is time to stop hiding and find a trusted friend or counsellor to ask some questions of, and make sure you get answers. Don’t settle for stupid platitudes some folks like to give. If you get those, go to someone else, until you get some real answers. If you know a child who seems depressed (and depression can and often does manifest itself as anger), please try to reach out to him/her. Even if you cannot stop the abuse from happening, for whatever reason, a kind, understanding person who can listen, will do that victim a world of good. I mention especially a child because in their formative years, they desperately need someone to understand their feelings.
I welcome comments, and will always do my best to answer them in a reasonable amount of time. I’m not as much at the internet anymore, but as I have been helped, I hope to be able to reach out to help others.