Who can suffer from abuse?

A man or a woman can be a victim of domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse can take many forms and can happen to anyone. Some of the more common abuses are physical, emotional, sexual and financial. It can happen to any man, woman or child regardless of race, sexual orientation, religion, economic background or age. Although it generally happens to spouses or partners, particularly women, but it can happen to anyone – parent, child or sibling.

What happens during abuse?

The person inflicting the abuse generally tries to control the victim through any means available to them. This can be through direct intimidation or through manipulation and undermining. Often accompanying abuse is some form of isolation. The abuse may start from one area and then spread to other parts of the relationship as it gets more intense.

Abuse can come from a stranger, but is rarer. It is generally inflicted by someone close to us, someone we might trust. When someone we trust betrays us, it becomes really confusing and we find it hard to understand and comprehend. This creates loss of trust and insecurity. It can lead us to question ourselves and create self-doubt that then might lead to loss of self-confidence and self-esteem.

How long do the effects of abuse last?

There is no set period for this. It depends on the person, circumstances surrounding the abuse, the time period over which the abuse was conducted, intensity of each episode, who the abuser was and a range of other factors. Different kinds of abuse also have different kind of effects. It is also possible that the effect of abuse may not be visible for many years after the abuse has stopped. Those who have suffered abuse often internalise their feelings and the effects can be felt for many years if the emotions remain unprocessed. As you become aware of yourself, and process the hidden feelings and emotions, things can start to change.

How can I help you through counselling?

I provide a non-judgemental space for you to process your emotions. You will have the freedom to talk about the abuse, or not, at a pace that suits you.

The initial approach would be to develop trust and confidence in the therapeutic relationship. And slowly, as and when you feel ready, we will talk about your experiences. You will need the time to process what you have been through. Our eventual goal will be to help you process your hidden feelings, work on the things you might be struggling with as a result of the abuse and finally to rebuild your self-esteem and self-confidence so that you can lead the life you want.