How does it feel if you are a survivor of abuse?
Being a survivor of abuse is one of the most traumatic experiences a person can go through. The effects of abuse can be long-lasting, leaving deep emotional and psychological scars that can take years, if not decades, to heal. Survivors of abuse often feel trapped, helpless, and alone, struggling to cope with the trauma they have been subjected to.
The lived experience of being a survivor of abuse is a complex and individual process. For some, the abuse may have been physical, leaving visible scars and causing ongoing physical pain, others may have experienced emotional abuse, which can be just as devastating and then sexual abuse. Of course survivors may have experienced a mix of abuses. Abuse often goes unnoticed or even more damagingly, be dismissed by friends, family members and those around the survivor. Regardless of the type of abuse, the experience is deeply traumatic and can have a profound impact on the survivor's sense of self-worth, self-esteem, and mental health.
One of the most immediate effects of abuse is a loss of control. As a survivor of abuse, you feel like your life is no longer your own. Your abuser has taken away your agency, and you are powerless to stop them. This loss of control can cause intense feelings of anxiety, helplessness, and frustration. Survivors of abuse often feel trapped in their situations, unable to escape the abuse they are experiencing.
Another common experience for survivors of abuse is a sense of isolation. Abuse is often kept hidden, and survivors may not know how to get help and feelings of shame, confusion or embarrassment about what is happening to them can also prevent the survivor breaking the cycle of abuse and trauma. This can lead to a reluctance to talk about the abuse, even to close friends or family members. Survivors may also feel like no one understands what they are going through, leading to a sense of loneliness and isolation.
The effects of abuse can also be felt in a person's relationships. Many survivors of abuse struggle to form relationships, both romantic and platonic. This can be due to a lack of trust in others, fear of being hurt again, and difficulty opening up emotionally. Survivors of abuse may also struggle with codependency, finding themselves drawn to partners or friends who are abusive or controlling themselves.
In addition to these emotional and psychological effects, abuse can also have physical consequences. Many survivors of abuse suffer from chronic pain or physical health problems as a result of the abuse they have experienced. Physical abuse can cause broken bones, internal injuries, and other health issues that require ongoing medical attention.
The effects of abuse can also be felt in a person's work or school life. Survivors of abuse may struggle with concentration and memory, making it difficult to perform at school or work.
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