Dealing With Abuse

By David Heard-Smith D.H.P.

Abuse is an ugly word in most peoples eyes, and we hear a great deal about it in this day and age.
This was not always the case of course. Until quite recently, abuse of all kinds was commonplace throughout society and at all levels. Indeed much was considered proper, acceptable or not worthy of comment. Most was swept under the linoleum and rugs or viewed with a blind eye. It can be nothing but the truth that the vast majority of abuse of all kinds taking place today is still going undetected.
There are many different kinds of abuse; verbal, emotional, physical and sexual are really the broad categories within which we find a range of more particular types of abuse. Prolonged ill treatment of someone, insulting comments, this is the brief definition that my pocket dictionary gives. I don’t know that it needs to be prolonged to qualify. We hear a great deal with regard to sexual abuse and especially, paedophilia these days, and with reference to the latter especially, the impression is that it is a modern phenomenon. That is very misleading, for all abuse is as old as man, the species that is.
The misconception that these inhuman acts are carried out by men alone is just that, a misconception. Women are as guilty as men though they would rather you didn’t believe that. The ‘gentle sex’, pull the other one. Inhuman? Rubbish! It is a very human act to abuse other people and nearly always those weaker than us.
I doubt that there is one person reading this that has not at sometime or another been guilty of committing an act of abuse of some description against another person, most frequently a loved one. I can just imagine all the hands going up in shock at the injustice of that statement. Yes, I know it wasn’t necessarily committed deliberately, or was it? The fact is, it, was committed.
Though this cannot be considered an excuse it is the case that most forms of abuse are learned responses. We learn from our role models, behaviour that at best is unacceptable but as it is common to us we take it into our future life and frequently find that we copy that behaviour. A reason why those who were sexually abused often abuse others is that they ‘learned’ the behaviour in their childhood. They were the victims! They are now, often, the perpetrators. This is a fact of life whether you like it or not.
Paedophiles are people who sexually abuse children. The fact that the victim is a child makes it so much more offensive and repugnant, but, the majority of these abusive acts are, carried out against children, and it has always been so. They are so much weaker than adults.
Now, I am not about to go down the path of discussing punishment. That is not my job. I do believe that it is most necessary however. The subject that concerns me is treatment. Treatment for the child and for the adult, hopefully sooner than later so that they can live their lives to the full despite the ill treatment they have received.
Abuse in early life is likely to affect the victim far more severely than an adult. It will certainly leave the victim with a neurosis that will damage their development and emotional growth. One can never be certain as to quite how this damage will manifest itself. There is no certain pattern but only likelihood’s. A young boy ill-treated or sexually abused by his mother, sister or other female might well grow up to be an abuser of women or find himself unable to relate to the ‘fair sex’ in a reasonable and healthy manner. Perhaps he will turn out to be a ‘women hater’ and who can blame him? He may well feel, deep beneath the conscious mind, that to abuse children is normal. If his abuser was a male then he could easily turn out to be an ‘angry young man’ and find it very difficult to relate to his own sex perhaps he will become homosexual.
A young girl who is ill-treated by a father, brother, uncle or whomever may well find herself in later life to relate this to how things should be and seek out the type of male companions that consider abusing women as being acceptable. She may see this behaviour as the true meaning of love. Not in her conscious mind but deep in her sub conscious. She may develop into what some would call a slut or find herself suffering from frigidity, or be bereft of the joys of the genuine emotion of love. Her sub conscious will certainly force a behaviour pattern to come into play that will harm her future well-being. Frequently it will compel her to eat excessively and reject exercise, the aim of which is to ensure that she is unattractive to the opposite sex. If she is unattractive then she will be safe from unwanted attention and assault. This behaviour often applies to men for the same reason. Should the abuser have been female then she will undoubtedly find problems with relationships with her own sex and perhaps develop a bullying type attitude to other women or, again, become a lesbian.
Any of you who have grown up in a family where extreme emotional outbursts of anger, foul temper and associated shouting or screaming were prevalent, whatever the reason or excuse, will recognise the pain that is suffered by the child in such circumstances. Should you, as an adult, be in a relationship that endures the same excessive emotional characteristics you might understand to some extent how that child feels or perhaps you might wonder why your partner behaves thus. What was it that promoted them to develop this manner of behaviour, how does it benefit them?
Criticism is an excellent aid to development and learning, it means, to judge, fault finding, to evaluate. It is essential in our lives. Without it we will learn very little of any worth for we will never know if what we have done is right, wrong or indifferent. It is through criticism that we learn to excel, to improve our skills and discover what we are doing wrong and why. Sadly so many children and adults alike are crucified on the cross of criticism due to the fact that the ignorant and inept or down right nasty amongst us are wonderfully efficient at fault finding, but very poor at then explaining how, whatever, might be better or more accurately achieved. Criticism is a powerful method of exercising verbal and emotional abuse and the abuser can so easily justify it.
The way in which these problems can be dealt with and healed, is basically simple, though often, it transpires that the sufferer is unwilling to deal with them out of fear. It may be that they feel they will lose a serviceable method of defence or protection. Sometimes they fear they will be denied an efficient tool to aid them in getting that which they want. The sufferer will not normally see it as this because they believe their behaviour to be appropriate. Mostly these neuroses are developed in the very early years of life and are always accompanied by an extremely powerful emotion, be it guilt, fear, embarrassment or anger etc. The fact of the matter is that the sufferer will rarely have any conscious memory of the ‘particular’ event or experience that caused the change in their subconscious mind and subsequent behaviour and the memory they do have will be erroneous. They will certainly not remember the power of the emotion that accompanied the experience. This is a fact, and the reason for it being so, is that the sub conscious mind is responsible for looking after you and to this end it protects from such powerfully upsetting emotions by burying them, thus inducing a very powerful and necessary amnesia for your future well being and this is essential to enable you to continue with life in some semblance of normality. The problem will remain buried until some form of stress or similar experience manifests itself. The one important thing to remember is that during treatment, although you will be required to revisit that experience and emotional upset it will not be happening again. It will only be revisited and then under the guidance of the therapist who will ensure your comfort and safety.
You will be invited to allow yourself to be deeply relaxed until you are in an altered state of consciousness. This is called hypnosis. In this state you are totally aware of everything that is going on, you will have full control of all your faculties, indeed your senses may well be heightened. You will not be asleep! It is not possible to suggest that a person in hypnosis do anything that is against their will or moral standards. Indeed such a suggestion would certainly shock the client into full awareness immediately.
The therapist will then seek permission from the clients sub conscious mind to allow him/her to continue to work with the client for the purpose of their well being and to take them back to revisit, in safety and comfort, the experience and emotions that were the original cause of the presenting problem. The client should readily accept that they are not going to shock or embarrass the therapist, who, from experience and training will have been made more than well aware of all the possible scenarios that can occur. When the client is back in the depths of their memories and is confronting the cause and reliving, under controlled conditions, the offending experience they will be guided as to how to re evaluate it with the advantage of an adult mind and a far greater experience and knowledge of life. The elements of understanding and, if necessary, forgiveness will be explored and employed. The anger and other feelings experienced will be therapeutically released so as to heal and make whole that injured and damaged child within. Negotiation will take place with the sub conscious so as to put in place appropriate safeguards and protection mechanisms for the clients future well-being. The matter of the child?s feelings of guilt will be dealt with and free the client of that heavy burden. Any other associated difficulties will be dealt with and then the client will be taken, with the aid of imagination, into a future situation, which would normally have caused them difficulties, to enable them to experience the new and healthy way in which they deal with that which had previously been a problem to them.
Other work such as re enforcing their feelings of self worth and confidence etc. will be undertaken before the client is returned to full conscious awareness knowing that they have arrived at a state from which they can start afresh with their lives. They are in control and they have given themselves permission to enjoy and live life to the full.
The only requirements are that the client is honest with the therapist, genuinely WANTS to get better and co-operates fully.

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