Thursday, May 30, 2024
Home Health Why The Inner Damage Is Worse 

Why The Inner Damage Is Worse 

Abuse Does Not Always Leave Bruises And Broken Bones

by Sam
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The concept of emotional abuse is misunderstood by a large number of people, who either don’t understand what it entails or think it’s not as serious as other forms of abuse such as physical abuse. The truth is that mental abuse will leave you in a state of loss of self, which is much more damaging than having a few bruises on your body; however, physical abuse can also be damaging and very painful for the person who is being abused.

The wounds that are caused by shoves, slaps, or other forms of physical abuse are superficial in comparison to the wounds that can be caused by abuse. You might recognise yourself or someone you care about in one of these tales. And it can be an extremely painful experience to either go through it oneself or watch someone you care about struggle with denial or attempts to conceal what is going on. As revealed to a therapist…

The narratives…

Debbie was overheard sobbing softly in my office as she said, “I don’t know if I should’ve left. His absence is felt by the boys”. They blame me for the breakup of the marriage.

She had been the victim of unceasing, pounding verbal and emotional abuse during the time that she had been the wife of a very popular and well-liked coach.

A little over two years had passed since Debbie’s divorce, which had been full of upheaval. She and her two sons were living in a garage that was situated behind her parents’ home. Her former partner made a show of wanting the children but did not actively pursue custody of them.

When they came together to switch the boys, he barely spoke to her while he enthusiastically embraced each of the children. In the past, she had only worked part-time jobs, but now she was working full-time at a local insurance agency. Even before the divorce was finalised, he had signed up for Match and Tinder, and now his Facebook account is flooded with pictures of him holding hands with a new girlfriend.

Debbie’s weight gain and loneliness made her feel isolated. She was struggling to fight off her depression. She questioned, through her tears, “Perhaps it wasn’t as terrible as I thought. It’s not like he punched me in the face.”


He was in his early 50s. He was employed in administration at the nearby university. He didn’t make much noise and had a calm demeanour about him. He had been married for more than three decades at that point.

“We got married at a young age, and I loved her so much; in a way, I still do.” I really don’t want to leave because we’ve been through a lot with the kids, and I think we’ve done a good job with them. But the constant yelling at me by her is getting on my nerves. I am terrible at making good decisions. It is imperative that she maintains command. I have no idea what the past few years have brought to her life. Sometimes I get angry myself, but it doesn’t accomplish anything.
He turned his head up, feeling a twinge of embarrassment, and said, “One time she slapped me.”


Abby was a woman in her early 40s who appeared to have her life together. She was a rising star at the huge corporation where she worked as a junior executive. She had recently parted ways with her husband and was in the process of filing for divorce. They did not have any kids.
As she moved directly from her parent’s home into one she shared with her husband, she was doing something she had never done before: she was furnishing her very own apartment.
When she got to Pier One, she said, “I got in the store, and realised I had no clue what I liked anymore; I bought all three colours because I couldn’t choose.” (She went to Pier One to buy pillows on one occasion.) For the past decade, people have been telling me that I have horrible taste. Because he didn’t like what I was wearing, he insisted that I switch outfits until he gave his stamp of approval. He would routinely insult the food I prepared by yelling that it was inedible and then throwing it at me. If I went shopping and bought something that I liked when I brought it home he would criticise it and most of the time force me to return it. This happened whenever I went shopping. I gave up trusting myself.”

He didn’t hit me, but he would push me up against the wall or hold my arm behind my back. When I made an effort to get away from him, he would get in my face and make fun of me.

Then, very slowly, with a new look of melancholy appearing in her eyes, she continued, “He would make me have sex when I didn’t want to. I would simply stay in that position until it was over.

Abuse of an emotional or sexual nature does not leave physical marks, such as bruises or broken bones. However, the damage is not an illusion.

Every day of their lives, far too many people are forced to deal with the aftermath of domestic violence in some form or another. And there are often young children present who are taking cues for their own behaviour from the yelling and disrespect they see around them. Nevertheless, emotional abuse is frequently more difficult to comprehend. The following is what took place during therapy, with Debbie, Todd, and Abby:

The therapist’s narrative…

This is the treatment…
I requested that Debbie host a night for her girlfriends when the kids were out of the house by asking her to invite them over. What exactly is her job? I wanted to know what they remembered about the abusive events that had actually taken place behind closed doors, so I decided to ask them. She came back with a list that was four pages long, as well as tears of recognition and relief. “I’d forgotten so much of this,” she said. I had to force myself to forget what happened at the time, but now I must also force myself to remember.

It was necessary for her to grieve. First, she explained that she and her husband had decided to divorce and that it would take some time for their children to adjust. Second, she is concerned that her former partner may never be able to or even want to achieve emotional closure with her, which would prevent them from being able to co-parent effectively. And then she had to make a decision about how she could better take care of herself.

The challenge for Todd was to learn to respond to the profound insecurity and emotional instability that his wife appeared to be experiencing, which can manifest as a rigid need for control. He needed to be more assertive with himself and set clearer boundaries regarding what was acceptable. Both had reached a point of moral exhaustion as a result of their efforts to protect their now-adult children from the influence of illicit substances. It had been an extremely challenging journey up to this point, but it appeared that the children were finally getting their act together.

We worked on creating more of a life for the two of them, but he also needed to consider the possibility of leaving if it turned out that she was unable or unwilling to change alongside him.

Abby? The first task that was given to her was to select a colour for the pillow that she preferred and then return the other options.

The loss that she experienced was tremendous. She made an effort to let go of many demeaning messages that she had internalised while simultaneously reestablishing her sense of who she was and the value she held. In addition, we invested a significant amount of time in working through the sexual abuse that took place within the context of her marriage. This can be challenging due to the fact that it is frequently shrouded in obscurity and mystery. At times, Abby questioned whether or not she should even use the word “abuse” to describe what was happening.


Abuse does not always leave bruises and broken bones,
Though the wounds can be felt deep in the heart and soul.
It can be a vicious cycle of fear and control,
Making life an unbearable toll.


The signs are often much harder to see,
Than those that come from a physical strike.
It can cause feelings of insecurity,
And tear apart relationships that once seemed alright.


Abuse can be a mental horror,
That can take its toll on the mind.
It can leave one feeling so much poorer,
And often leave one feeling so blind.


When it comes to abuse, don’t wait for bruises and broken bones,
Be aware of the red flags, for you are not alone.
Be courageous and speak out, so you can find your own way home,
And make sure that the cycle of abuse is no longer shown.

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