I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.
~ Carl Jung
Counselling for Abuse
Abuse can take many forms and it can happen to anyone, anywhere. It is often based on someone having power and control over you. The abuser could be a family member, someone in a position of trust or a stranger.
When abuse takes place within a relationship, the victim often struggles to view it as abuse which causes great distress and confusion. They may end up blaming themselves or feeling they can change the situation by behaving differently.
There are many different types of abuse including…
Emotional Abuse – often takes place over a period of time with the intention of making the victim lose all self-confidence and self-worth. It may involve humiliation, isolation and fear. This may result in creating a situation where the victim feels dependant on the abuser.
Sexual abuse – involves any sexual activity that is not consented to. The perpetrator may use force or make threats towards the victim, or take advantage of someone who is vulnerable and helpless to refuse their advances.
Physical abuse - is when someone deliberately hurts or injures you in any form.
Financial abuse - is used as a way of limiting or controlling your ability to make, use or keep your own money. The abuser could be the breadwinner and withhold or hide their money. Or spend shared money or put debt in your name without your consent. It also involves have your money or other property stolen or being defrauded.
Domestic abuse – can include any of the above forms of abuse and can take place within a relationship or between family members. According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales 2.4 million adults experienced domestic abuse in 2019. This is expected to rise during the Coronavirus 2020 pandemic.
Substance abuse – is the misuse of alcohol, glue or aerosols, or using legal or illegal drugs for mind-altering purposes. It can have a negative effect on your life, your ability to function and your physical and mental health.
How can counselling help with abuse?
The effects of abuse, past and present, can be devastating. It can leave you feeling worthless, completely knock your self-esteem and have a huge detrimental effect on your mental and physical health and your quality of life.
Counselling offers you somewhere you can feel safe to talk about all your experiences, however difficult. Without judgement, feeling chastised or told to just stop doing what you are doing (which you may get from friends and family).
You learn to make sense of your current and past situations and understand the origins of your cycles of behaviour.
Counselling raises your self-awareness of old, unconscious patterns so that you can start making better choices. You can introduce healthy boundaries around what is acceptable and what is unacceptable behaviour. You can find your voice and recognise that you deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. It will help look to the future to start building a life that you want to live.