Survivors of abuse – there is hope!
The problem of abuse has many aspects – there is a domestic abuse, workplace abuse, abuse on the streets. The abuse can be physical and psychological, lead to the different consequences, including very sad ones. The abuse always indicates some form of discrimination. The larger the scale of domestic abuse is, the more a person is exposed to discrimination in other areas of a public life.
Women who have been subjected to abuse have not only physical but also psychological trauma. The consequences of domestic abuse are always present, and some of them can be very serious. People who went through domestic abuse are called “survivors of abuse”.
Domestic abuse leads to clinical and non-clinical consequences: destroyed confidence, reduced self-esteem, it causes irresponsible attitude to life, self-blame for the violent behavior of the partner. It may cause anxiety, loss of a realistic perception of the situation, there are significant difficulties in any decision making, that is associated with self-doubt, and it causes fear of taking responsibility for the actions.
Clinical consequences of abuse may include sleep disturbances, irritability, feelings of hostility, depression and discomfort in the stomach, headaches, decreased sexual drive. Frequently found substance abuse, suicide attempts or thoughts, violent relationships with others. Survivors of abuse are haunted by chronic guilt, painful memories of the “intolerable” events.
Domestic abuse is a traumatic experience, which leads to serious consequences for all people. The more severe and prolonged abuse is, the deeper and more sustained the trauma appears, which, in the worst case, can lead to a loss of a sense of identity.
Thus, the survivors of abuse often suffer from profound personal, cognitive, emotional, behavioral changes, such as reduced self-esteem, increased feelings of guilt, feeling of hopelessness of the situation, isolation, self-injury, and more.
It is important to note that low self-esteem and belief in myths about violent relationship is not attributable to survivors of abuse only, but also to abusers. Both partners often have similar ideas of the family, the role of a woman in family and society, and they have traditional views on the leading role of a man in a family and society.
Eventually, in women may form a distinct syndrome – “battered women’s syndrome” – a syndrome that appears in women during the years of a torture and abuse. This particular mental state, which in its power can be compared with the psychological effects that can be experienced in captivity or while being a hostage.
Most often women – abuse victims seek for psychological help at the stage of severe stress. At this point, they are afraid; they are having obsessive thoughts about abusive experiences and are in depression.
In the practice of psychological counseling for survivors of abuse, psychologist faces many tasks: to help victim become more aware of what happened to her and to get rid of the feelings of loneliness, to understand her feelings and get the ability to express them, get rid of the guilt, initiate the desire of women to support the new way of life, to care for themselves, to set goals for the future. Realizing what happened to her, a woman learns to get something that has been deprived for many years. She chooses what to do next, changing its view of the family and in most cases with the correct mental support, is returning back to life.