Statistically, we cannot say how many people are abused because many times the abuse goes undocumented. This happens either from fear of the victim(s), lack of action when it is reported, or death of the victim(s). We, as Americans, have focused our attentions on foreign terrorists over the last few years. What we tend to (willingly?) forget is there are terrorists within many homes across America. For that matter, the same is true in homes across the world. Do not be mistaken. An abuser–whether mental, physical, or sexual–is a terrorist. They use terror as their main tool of manipulation.
According to wikipedia, gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory and perception. The abuser’s intent is to make the victim feel as though what is happening is their fault, and the abuser is blameless. If the victim is unaware that what is happening is wrong, or believes it is their fault, then the abuse can go on and the abuser can maintain control. Abusers will often manipulate or pressure their victim into taking illegal drugs. If they can keep the victim’s state of mind altered, the victim remains docile and their perceptions of what is happening conforms to what the abuser wants them to believe.
A common misconception is that the only abuse worth mentioning is physical or sexual. These types of abuse are horrid and should be reported immediately. However, emotional/mental abuse is just as horrid. It leaves scars that sometimes never heal. It is easier to heal from a hit to the face then it is to heal from a hit to the soul. It breaks the victim down until they feel as though they are worthless; that they deserve the abuse. They have a constant feeling they have done something wrong. They live in constant fear they are not good enough. The abuser will isolate the victim from friends and family so the only person the victim can rely on, the only person the victim gets input from, is the abuser. The abuser will often spread false stories about the victim in order to exert his/her control. If the victim sees that others believe the same as the abuser, the victim’s dependence on the abuser becomes more concrete. The victim begins to believe the abuser is the only one who cares about them and when they say the ugly things, it is for their own good.
I am going to attach some articles on abuse and bullying that may help any reader who needs to understand this issue further. Being a music lover, I am also going to attach a song I thought went well with this blog entry. The song belongs to the foo. Ahem, I mean Foo Fighters.
If you are being abused, please get help. Resist. There are people out there who will help and support you — no matter what your abuser may have told you. You are not worthless. You are loved. You are worthy of respect. You are worthy of every dream you have ever had.