JMC Psychotherapy, Bolton –
What is abuse?
Abuse affects all levels of society. It can be both physical – for example, punches, broken bones, bruises – and emotional abuse. All physical violence is abuse. You may be dragged round by
your hair, cut, stabbed or burned with a cigarette. The results of physical abuse are often apparent (although they can be hidden), but emotional abuse cannot be seen. It is a form of brainwashing and it sometimes occurs over a long period of time.
How do I know if I’m being emotionally abused?
There are many forms of abuse such as:
- Withholding money – perhaps even vital housekeeping money.
- Being forced to do things. This may range from having to wash up or keep the house tidy to ward off your partner’s anger, to being forced to have sex. If you ever feel you are made to do something through fear then that is a form of abuse.
- Being shamed or humiliated. It may be that you are not allowed to go to work, or to dress as you wish because “other men will look at you.”
- Being denied sleep or being woken up regularly in the middle of the night.
- Constantly being told “it’s all your fault.”
- Having the constant feeling that you are “walking on eggshells” and being afraid to speak out.
A healthy relationship is about being respectful of each other’s needs and having the choice to say no, without fear of repercussions.
Does abuse only affect women?
No, abuse can affect a man in a relationship just as much as a woman. I often see men who are “under the thumb” as their mates would say. This can often be a sign of something deeper, but men are rarely willing to talk on an emotional level. They often tolerate abuse for a very long time before seeking help. There can often be a feeling of shame: “She will tell everyone and people will think I’m weak”. Sometimes men even convince themselves that somehow they deserve it: “What do I expect with my age/looks/income?”
Men may also feel that there is justification to tolerate matters: “She’s a good mother and most of the time things are fine.” Men will often stay late at work, sleep in the car, and become over anxious about what they may say.
How will psychotherapy help me in dealing with abuse?
In therapy you know that whatever gender you are, you will be believed. You don’t have to fit any criteria or prove you are being abused.
You will be allowed to tell your story gently and at your own pace.
Therapy will enable you to rebuild your self esteem and find your identity again. Psychotherapy is much more than just listening. We look at the ‘whys and hows’ of relationships. We look at what might have drawn you to this person, what you need to change and what to do in future. At the end of therapy you will find you are a much stronger and more independent person.
Some people find they are constantly involved in “unhealthy” relationships. “Why do I keep meeting the same sort of person time after time? What can I do to break this pattern?” This issue can also be explored in therapy. Further information is available on the Relationships page.
Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of very stressful events which shatter your sense of security, making you feel vulnerable in a dangerous world.
It can be unexpected and caused by a single, one off event, such as an accident, a natural disaster or a violent attack. Trauma can also be a consequence of relentless stress over a period of time.
If you have suffered trauma, be it from a specific incident, abuse or any another cause, you CAN be helped. It is important to know that you WILL be believed. Trauma can be very frightening and lead to a whole range of symptoms such as flashbacks, feelings like the traumatic event is happening now, dissociation ( disconnection), the inner voice seeming louder than the outer voice and mysterious unexplained physical issues such as never quite being diagnosed with ME, MS or fibromyalgia.
Trauma often gets “stuck” in the body and there are some very specific steps which can be taken to release it.
When healing trauma it is crucial to give attention to both mind and body.
I am frequently contacted by visitors to my website who feel that they need a consultation but live some distance from my office in Bolton, Greater Manchester. If you feel that you would benefit from a telephone conversation, please visit Psychotherapy Consultations – Online Payment page to see how it works.
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