The Aftermath of Psychological Violence

The Aftermath of Psychological Violenceaftermath

Interpersonal violence is a sad reality affecting billions. It comes in many forms. The myriads of ways people can potentially cause another person harm seem to advance ay the same rate that technology and tools advance. Them most subtle form of abuse can also be the most pervasive, psychological abuse. Psychological abuse is particularly violent because it attempts to assault more than the body. It reaches deep into a person’s very being with the intent of dismantling their sense of self. It ransacks their self-worth, steals their confidence, and distorts their perceptions.

The harm caused by psychological abuse extends beyond the confines of space and time. It can be exacerbated intentionally by the abuser or those within the abuser’s sphere of influence. Specifically defined, psychological abuse includes exerting power and control over a victim. It is a systematic deconstruction of any established baselines for perceived normalcy, needs, preferences, feelings or boundaries. The victim is conditioned to believe they lack any inherent worth or value, are somehow damaged and undeserving of love or respect. One organization defines psychological abuse as follows:

“It involves the regular and deliberate use of words and nonphysical actions with the intent to
manipulate, hurt, weaken, or frighten a person mentally and emotionally and/or distort, confuse or
influence a person’s actions and thoughts in their everyday lives. [It attempts] to change their sense of
self and harm their well-being” (Safe Lives).

Victims of this form of abuse are deprived of their fundamental human right to autonomy and safety. Abusers may enlist third parties to extend their reach, tighten their grip and convince the victim that they have no other option than to submit to the abuser. It is an intense form of deception that can incapacitate victims in many ways.

The keys to overcoming this type of abuse are multi-pronged. They include being committed to developing healthy self-esteem, self-regulation and practicing intentionality. Intentionality is the exercise of specific choices when faced with particular conditions. It is, essentially, the discipline of self-control. Victims should  regularly engage in activities that reinforce and validate their uniqueness. This will help them establish clear boundaries, develop healthy relationships, validate their perceptions and reassert their right to freedom from abuse. These practices help victims reclaim their dignity, power and self-confidence.

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