While it seems obvious that physical violence can result in long-term effects and even disability (if not death), the consequences of suffering ongoing emotional abuse are often overlooked or minimised.
As stated earlier on, emotional abuse can affect us deep inside and leave permanent emotional and psychological scars.
It may start almost immediately, or only after several years of being in a relationship.
Though both victims and perpetrators of abuse come from all backgrounds, the shock, pain, confusion, feelings of guilt and betrayal of trust experienced as a result of being subject to domestic violence is common to all.
They may try to deny it to themselves, not wanting to admit to the reality of the abuse; they may feel shame about the abuse, as though it were their fault.A feeling of guilt about the abuse is almost universal – the victim of abuse believing, and being told by the perpetrator, that they or their actions are the cause of the abuse.This has a double effect: it enables the abuser to continue to feel justified in continuing their destructive behaviour, as the victim takes responsibility for the abuse, and also allows the victim to continue to believe that they can change the situation and can in some way control the abuse and stop it.Many people experience abuse within the so-called cycle of abuse or cycle of violence, in which periods of comparative calm or peace (known as the ‘honeymoon stage’) will be followed by a build-up toward an abusive episode.Though it may appear as though these periods of apparent calm are non-abusive, they are in actual fact simply part of a manipulative cycle, in which the abuser feels in control of their partner and situation, may show repentance for pain caused, even promise to change.The mission of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV) is to create a violence free world by empowering women and children through the elimination of personal and institutional violence and oppression against all people.FCADV provides leadership, advocacy, education, training, technical assistance, public policy and development, and support to domestic violence center programs.Since abuse and violence within an intimate relationship are also a huge betrayal of trust, the survivor of abuse will often also have difficulty learning to trust someone else and open up emotionally for fear of being betrayed again.It would be nice to know that all abuser walk around with a big A for 'abuser' on their forehead, are easily discernable by anyone 'normal' and always comply with the stereotypical image so often portrayed in the media.Those who have been abused often experience long-term feelings and reactions, which can cause a lot of distress, including flashbacks, sudden feelings of anxiety, an inability to concentrate or feelings of unreality.These reactions and feelings are a normal reaction to a traumatic event and in their extreme form – especially where accompanied by depression and suicidal ideation – be considered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which requires medical assistance and support.