Abuse and its invisible imprint

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Joe Dispenza
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Abuse and its invisible imprint

Last update: December 10, 2017

When the media talk about abuse, they often refer to the number of complaints that have occurred over a given period of time or the number of people who have died at the hands of their partners. But abuse is not just that. It goes much further for those who suffer it, which also do not always fall within the figures (false positives and false negatives).


Usually there is no mention of beating and bruising, and even less about those injuries that are not seen. Because it's not just the body that's hurt. When you are a victim of abuse, it is normal for great psychological distress to appear, which must be remedied, starting to give space and that voice so often silenced.


“It still amazes me that there are people, human beings like us, who are able with absolute conscience and in a completely deliberate way to cause damage in a continuous and systematic way. Especially when they manage to transform the person into a weak, very vulnerable being "

-Maria Jose Rodriguez de Armeta-

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Abuse Victims

When it comes to post-traumatic stress disorder, it is usually associated with natural disasters, robberies, murders or bombings. But not to abuse, but the truth is that it can also be applied to this area. The person with PTSD reliving the event, is restless and tries in vain to forget. All symptoms observed very often in victims of gender-based violence.

Post-traumatic stress disorder in abuse victims has specific characteristics. On the one hand, it is normal to suffer traumatic events again at any time, among other things from your partner. This leads to a state that is always vigilant and constantly alert, because the one who inflicts the damage is the one who should instead support and protect..



On the other hand, the trauma gradually consumes the emotional state of the abused person, as it often takes years to ask for help. It is common to stay with the aggressor to avoid a new assault, which is why the victim feels that there is no possible solution to her situation (learned helplessness, abandonment).

The Abused Woman Syndrome

Perceiving that there is no solution to what is happening, or entering into learned helplessness, can also lead to abused woman syndrome. The woman adapts to the situation she is experiencing and diminishes her pain. And not only: distorts reality, denying or minimizing the seriousness of the problem.

It is also possible that she changes the way she perceives both others and herself. In this sense, she can deceive herself and idealize the abuser, self-convincing that he will stop attacking her because he is in love with her. She can even justify it by blaming herself for the situation she is experiencing instead, coming to think that the treatment she is receiving is fair.

Abuse and Depression

Abuse victims often have low self-esteem and they are isolated, which deprives them of social support and positive emotional reinforcement. All this will further weaken the person causing him to fall, sometimes, into depression.

This disorder, in turn, will prevent her from making decisions and focusing on the situation, as well as producing deterioration in work performance and increased insecurity. Thus the woman enters a vicious circle in which it is increasingly difficult for her to get out of the situation of abuse.


But depression also has another consequence: suicide. Several studies show that 29% of women who ended up in hospital for suicide attempts had been victims of abuse. LThe likelihood of suicide among abused women is five times higher than that of the rest of the population.



"This irrational desire for domination, control and power over the other person is the main force that fuels domestic violence in couples"

-Luis Rojas Marcos-

Anxiety associated with abuse

As you can imagine, anxiety disorders are also more common among victims of abuse than those who are not. Apart from the aforementioned post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder have been found to be greater.

The latter seems emerge as an attempt to manage the anxiety that comes from such an unpredictable situation. In this way, obsessive thoughts appear about the person exercising the abuse, together with compulsive behaviors to try to reduce the anxiety generated by the sentences that populate the victim's mind.

“In the face of atrocities we must take a stand. Silence encourages the executioner "


-Elie Wiesel-

The attacker exerts his power and force on his victim in a way that destroys him, and it does it both inside and out. On a psychological level, the abuse leaves a footprint on the abused person that can have dire consequences, so it is important to pay attention and provide a possible solution to the situation in which they find themselves.

Immagini per gentile concessione at Chris Lawton, Tertia e René Van Rensburg Bohmer.

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