Many people think that you aren’t being abused if it’s not physical; all abuse isn’t physical. Emotional or verbal abuse can leave psychological wounds that can be more difficult to heal than bodily injuries. After the abuse has ended, negative feelings can persecute you for years. This affects a person’s ability to attain happiness.

Intimacy and trust issues affect people who have experienced abuse. Many are able to overcome the distressing memories with the help of a professional. Some think they have dealt with the residual effects, but find that they have just repressed their emotions. Clients will tell  me they are anxious and have trust issues but do not know the root cause.

It is not uncommon for a person to experience more than one type of abuse. Abuse can occur in any relationship, whether social, professional or with family members. If you have a boss who abuses their power and repeatedly tries to control or manipulate your behavior, by criticism, humiliation, accusations or threats, you are being abused! Child neglect is an example of psychological abuse. Any abuse of power, in which a person tries to control or manipulate another person is harmful to a person’s well-being.

People who have experienced abuse might be afraid of those that remind them of the abuse in their past. Some are frightened to be alone or of sexual intimacy. Survivors may experience disrupted sleep, panic attacks or compulsive behaviors. They may feel shame, self-medicate, experience mood swings, irritability, depression or trust issues. Others experience intense anger at their abusers and those that stood by and didn’t intervene. Anger is a normal response to being abused, but survivors can learn to manage their anger in a constructive way that will accelerate healing.