Short answer? Yes.
Emotional pain is worse than physical pain. Physical pain is only temporary, it cannot be physically felt only by thinking about it. Once gone, you can only remember how it affected you, the emotions that were generated by the physical pain. Emotional pain, in contrast, is longer lasting. It is severely crippling and still affects you long after you’re out of the situation that caused you pain.
Whoever said “if he doesn’t hit you it’s not abuse” is either seriously uninformed or a person who glorifies and/or takes part in abusive behaviours themselves. Not all forms of abuse are physical.
It’s the lies. The cheating. The bullying. The threats, whether they are threats of leaving, self-harm / suicide, physical violence and so on.
It’s the constant blaming you for their problems, always making it out to be they are the victim and you’re the villain. It’s the constant arguing and being unreasonable, believing that they are always right and you are always wrong.
It’s inappropriate physical contact towards anyone, and by anyone, of both genders and all ages. It’s forcing themselves on you, either by the taking away of consent through the use of manipulation or threats, physical violence, drugs, alcohol, whilst you are asleep or without these methods at all. It’s being forced to witness these behaviours or into touching others yourself.
Abuse can come in many forms. And those who try telling you that it is only physical are people you want to avoid for the sake of your mental health and your safety.
Physical pain is nothing in comparison to the long term, harmful effects of words spoken to wound another person. The more a person is told negative things, the more they start to believe those same negative things. The more one is told they are unworthy, not good enough, unlovable, it’s all their fault etc. the more they believe it and the more they suffer and feel trapped.
But the same is true for positive things. The more a person hears positive things, the more they see positive things, the more they feel positive things, the much more likely that they will be able to believe positive things. The greater the chance for their success.
I read somewhere on Pinterest that “A woman should never invest in a relationship she wouldn’t want for her daughter, nor allow any man to treat her in a way she would scold her son for.” The same is true for men. No one should be investing in such a relationship. No one is worth so little that they deserve such a relationship.
You deserve better. You deserve to be happy. To be free from fear and abuse.
True love is never violent and abusive.
When boys are teasing and or hitting girls and the girls complain to an adult, how do the adults respond? Oh, if he’s hitting or teasing you it means he likes you. Stop. Stop it now! This is how girls grow up into accepting abuse. They grow up believing, “He hits me because he loves me. He teases me because he loves me. He says hurtful things to me because he loves me.”
I’m sorry, but if that were genuinely true, no he wouldn’t. Love does not hurt. In words. In actions. It does not hurt. That is not love. It is manipulation. It is hurtful. It is control. It is coercion. It is not love. It is abuse. If it is hurtful it is bullying which is simply a form of abuse.
Love … love is pure. Love is kind. Love seeks to uplift and help others. Love is generous and seeks only to encourage others to be better versions of themselves. Love is patient. Love knows when to keep trying and love also knows when to take a step back. Love can conquer anything but only if both people are in a truly loving and equal partnership. Only if both people are trying to be better versions of themselves and to grow together in love and harmony. Only, if both people are putting in 100% of themselves into the relationship.
Those in authority, most often their own mothers, will say things like “oh, boys will be boys.” This is a reason why rape culture exists. Because those in authority are not punishing young boys for their inappropriate, and very often hurtful, behaviour. Because they are not teaching young boys to control themselves and giving them an excuse as to the cause of their behaviour.
Abuse either in real life or fiction is just wrong.
If the fiction did not focus on portraying graphic abuse but instead focused on the emotional and psychological effects of the abuse, and how to recognise abuse in all its forms, if it focused on escaping, overcoming and learning to heal oneself from it, if their abuser/s get punished for their horrific crimes then fine. Then it would have a place and a use in this world. The message of overcoming the abuse and the long road to recovery should be made perfectly clear.
But none of this junk where the abuser changes and it’s a fairy tale ending. He / she begs for forgiveness and they live happily ever after. That does not happen in real life. Maybe they do change. Maybe it is truly genuine. However, it is usually far too late for the abuser to repair their broken relationships, either current or former ones. Once a person has betrayed your trust, it is often very difficult, if not impossible, for that person to regain that same level of trust.
In real life, more often than not the abuser is only temporarily moulding themselves to fit your ideals. They are only giving you what you want, for a short amount of time, to lull you back into a false sense of security so you are that much more likely to stay with them when they fall back into old patterns of abusive behaviour.
Do not put false hopes and ideas into the minds of the weak, the vulnerable and the young.
Everything we encounter, be it visual, audio, taste, touch or smell, fiction and non-fiction alike, everything is processed by our brains. Everything can influence us for good or for evil. This does not necessarily mean that the next generation will be conditioned into becoming abusers, or victims of abuse, if they were to read, watch or hear of such things. But it does make it a possibility. A very strong possibility. They may become the victims of abuse through the incorrect belief that this is how love is. Or they may become the abuser through the incorrect belief that this is how you show your love for someone. Or it may never happen.
The truth is, we don’t know what will trigger these events / beliefs in anyone and therefore it will be much less likely for it to happen if we all fill our minds with good, clean, wholesome things. If children are taught from a young age what abuse is, how to recognise it and most importantly, how to seek help, how to get out and how to help others who are going through it. This goes for everyone, of both genders and all ages.
Abuse is wrong. It can come in many forms not just physical. Producing fiction where abuse is glorified or even seen as acceptable is also wrong. Raising your kids to believe that a guy likes you if he teases or hits you is wrong. Not teaching your kids about self-control and to treat others with respect and genuine love is … you guessed it … wrong!
Change Yourself to Change the World.
We must first look at our own beliefs and attitudes surrounding abuse and change them for the better before we can effect true change in the world. Change in the world starts with truly changing oneself. By changing, or improving, ourselves and becoming better people, we create a ripple effect that spreads to those around us. As people see us grow into better versions of ourselves, they are more likely to feel inspired to do the same. And then, these ripples grow larger until they cover the whole world. But they can only do so if we, as individuals, have the courage to change our lives for the better.
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In what ways can you take steps to safeguard yourself and your own family from any form of abuse?
Whatever happens, don’t forget to smile!