Abuse can take many forms, including (but not limited to): sexual violation, physical violence, neglect, bullying and controlling behaviors (financial, physical, emotional or psychological).
Abuse is a complex issue, often clouded in secrecy, with the sufferer often believing they are somehow to blame for what has happened. Many people who have been abused feel ashamed about their experiences and believe that if they break their silence some catastrophe will unfold: the situation may escalate, their family will break apart, or others will be damaged by their revelations.
These feelings can create a terrible responsibility which leaves the sufferer feeling isolated and alone.
Both adults and children may suffer abuse, and the impact can be devastating:
Abuse is traumatic. You may find that even if the experience is in the past events replay repeatedly in your head. At one level this is a natural attempt to integrate and assimilate the event: the psyche’s way of trying to heal the trauma. However, traumatised people need help to process these thoughts or experiences. If left untreated, trauma can manifest in unhealthy ways and intensify.
If the abuse is still continuing then breaking the silence is the first difficult step in effecting change. It’s not easy. Abusers thrive on silence as it perpetuates their sense of power and allows them to believe there’s nothing wrong in what they’re doing.
There is no need to keep the secret any more. Take courage and seek support. It is not you who needs to feel ashamed in this scenario.