It’s one of those things on which, probably, each of us has a different viewpoint. What’s the worst thing someone could do to me? And then, is it really the ‘worst‘? Or is something else ‘worse‘?
I’ve been thinking, trying to find myself some closure from something that happened in my past. The closure hadn’t come naturally and I’ve realised that perhaps it was because of this. I was hung up by what the ‘worst thing‘ was.
Without wanting to trigger anyone into places they don’t want to go, let me just say that in general we, as a society, have ideas about what is the ‘worst’ harm that could happen to a person. I want to suggest that we don’t always get that right. It’s usually some type of sexual or physical crime. I think part of that is set up by the legal systems our various countries have. If the law says that ‘XYZ‘ is so bad that it will punish such a crime by imprisonment, for example, we assume that crime must be pretty bad.
What about the harm that can be done to us that is not recognised by the law? Does that make the harm okay?
Getting the closure I needed from what had happened to me, wasn’t happening because while I was deeply hurt and affected by what had been done, I almost minimised it’s effect on me simply because it wasn’t something anyone was ever going to ‘do’ time for. In other words, yes it caused great harm but it wasn’t illegal. So, in my mind I concluded it wasn’t harmful to me. Wrong.
I’m talking about Emotional Abuse.
My thinking was set in motion when another Canvas writer, Laura Schulman, on her blog, Bipolar For Life shared a wonderful article from, what I can assure you is an amazing blog full of great material (BTW I don’t usually make such obvious plugs but this one is worth a visit).
The blog, The Invisible Scar focuses on Emotional Child Abuse, and particularly Adult Survivors of Emotional Child Abuse , and perhaps most importantly to me in this instance was on the power of words.
It’s not that I saw something that I specifically want to quote or even refer to, but simply the journey of looking around this blog made me stop and think. And I wanted to make sure you knew where the resource was, if you were interested.
Actually, Emotional Abuse is incredibly painful and damaging. Often it is not something that is ‘over in a flash and we can try to move on‘ but rather something that can go on for years. Top that off by the fact that often the perpetrator is someone who is ‘supposedly meant to love and care for us‘, and we have something that is going to take a lot of working through. No wonder I wasn’t going to find my closure naturally.
Out of respect for other people, it’s not possible for me to go into the details of my situation that of the situation I am about to refer to, but actually what really helped me was to look at someone else. What I mean is that by experiencing the empathy and compassion I felt for another person who I saw had been an emotionally abused child, I was able to find what I needed to set myself free from my (entirely unrelated) situation.
Somehow it was much easier to feel that compassion for a child, than for own wounded self. But if I can see it in my thinking about a vulnerable child, then I can begin to transfer that compassion to myself.
I am convinced that whether a child or an adult, emotional abuse is one of those ‘worse things‘.
There is nothing easy about finding your way through to recovery and I’m sure that society could make a difference in recognising more of the damage legally. Just because someone didn’t go to prison, doesn’t mean they didn’t abuse, and doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be punished. Much of Emotional Abuse will always go unpunished, even unacknowledged. When our society learns that we will be getting somewhere and we can assist victims to heal.
“The wounded recognized the wounded.”
― Nora Roberts, Rising Tides
© Cate Reddell and A Canvas Of The Minds 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cate Reddell and A Canvas Of The Minds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.