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Emotional Abuse is NOT Invisible

Those suffering from emotional abuse have scars we can't see, but it doesn't mean they aren't there. Let's smash the stigma on emotional abuse and heal the wounds.

You don't have to look like this to be a victim of abuse.

You can look like this, this or this.

We see faces of physical abuse and easily feel compassion. But for victims of emotional abuse/neglect there are rarely, if ever, physical scars. The scars are emotional and invisible, but this is how we recognize them:

Need I say more?

Smashing the Stigma of Emotional Abuse

The victim of verbal and emotional abuse and neglect needs to tell his or her story in order to get validation that their experiences were real, their reactions are normal for what they experienced, and they need to know they are NOT CRAZY.

We do NOT diminish victims of sexual or physical abuse by elucidating what happens to someone who "only" experienced emotional/verbal abuse. Is there anyone who has suffered a physical type of abuse who was not ALSO abused emotionally? Heck no.

We DO want to smash stigma and offer clarity for the ones who had no physical reminders certifying, proving, and dispelling the doubt regarding what happened to them. The trauma of emotional abuse swirls around in the victim's head, with messages telling the victim,

  • "It didn't happen that way." (You're stupid and you can't trust your version of reality)

  • "If you hadn't done X then Y wouldn't have happened." (It's not my fault. You made me do it)

  • "You're so sensitive." (You have no right to your feelings)

  • "I can't talk about it right now. I'm tired/have a headache" (I'll say whatever I have to to get out of being held accountable)

  • "Well how do you think I feel?" (Your pain means nothing. Something even terribly worse happened to me)

  • "You should have known I was going to (whatever whatever.)" (AKA it's your problem and it's your fault!)

And on and on.

Emotional Abuse Isn't Invisible

These folks go the rest of their lives thinking there is something terribly wrong with them because "there's no reason I should feel this way" and "everyone else is doing ok. Why can't I get my shit together?"

Without intervention, these scarless wounded work very hard to seem normal to everyone else. They suffer their own version of insanity, maybe forever....

Maybe it's time for a few "Well, no one ever hit me" folks to start telling their story...

Maybe it's time for some people to realize that *they* weren't the crazy ones.

Could this person be you?

Escaping from Emotional Abuse

Maybe it's time to stop listening to the bullshit that was deposited into your head so many years ago, and maybe instead start hearing some truth. And then to believe it. And then oh my goodness you might actually start acting on the truth and start living a liberated life, free of the condemnation that set up authority inside your own head so many years ago.

Maybe, just maybe, a healthy way of thinking and a new life characterized by thoughts and actions of self love will foist a coup on the Old Guard. The old can go. We welcome the New.

I wonder what that would be like? Instead of self doubt, self confidence. Instead of shame, self acceptance. Instead of false guilt, a sense of surety our actions are actually okay. Shall we dare to dream?

Shall we dare to have the courage to try a new way of living?

Shall we learn to live in Freedom?

Shall we?


Thank you so much to #teamsoulspring counselor Wynne Stallings for her contributions to the content of this article.


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