Abuse can take various forms and affect a variety of people. Abuse can be physical, verbal or emotional and it can harm children, adults, the elderly or an entire group of individuals. Abuse occurs when an individual or group is mistreated through physical force, manipulation, control or neglect. Victims of abuse are, typically, in a vulnerable position to their perpetrator. With children, the elderly, mentally ill or developmentally handicapped; these populations are dependent on their caregivers. An abuser can be manipulative, controlling or threatening, leading the victim to become fearful of escaping the abusive relationship.
Millions of people struggle to overcome the effects of abuse and heal wounds from the past, while others try to escape from ongoing abusive relationships. Whether you have been abused or are currently are being abused, it is important to know you are not alone. There are community resources for domestic violence (New Jersey Battered Women’s Shelter) for those who need to escape from abusive relationships and other agencies to contact if you are in or aware of child abuse (Division of Youth & Family Services 1-877-NJ Abuse) and elder abuse (Elder Abuse Hotline 1-800-792-8820 FREE, or contacting your local police. Survivors of abuse find themselves dealing with psychological or physical consequences of their abuse.
These might include:
- Troubling memories about past abuse
- Difficulty developing intimate relationships
- Recreating similar abusive patterns in current relationships (abusing another or becoming a victim)
- Substance abuse
- Low Self-esteem or shame
- Eating Disorders
- Sexual dysfunction or avoidance of a sexual relationship
What is most important is stopping any abuse in the current and then seeking professional help to deal with its aftermath. For some the effects of past abuse are traumatic and survivors need a professional with expertise in this area. It may take time to share past abuse since many feel shame, blaming themselves for the abuse. Some individuals dismiss or minimize the abuse. Clinicians at The Institute for Change have a wealth of experience and expertise to help individuals heal from past abuse.