Abuse – Sexual Abuse, Domestic Abuse and Abusive Parents
Abuse – Sexual Abuse, Domestic Abuse and Abusive ParentsSam Horrocks2020-09-30T11:48:46+00:00
Sexual Abuse Counselling
Counselling for Sexual Abuse
Put simply, Sexual Abuse is defined as any unwanted sexual experience/experiences either current or in the past. People are familiar with rape and indecent assault as forms of abuse, nevertheless, this issue covers much more. Examples might include, being forced to watch or read sexually explicit material/activity, blackmailing or coercion into sexual acts that you find uncomfortable or distasteful. Alternatively, you may feel you must agree to sex otherwise something else will happen. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Sexual abuse can occur regardless of gender, age or sexuality.
My Counselling experience has shown me that people who have suffered sexual abuse are often left with a feeling of isolation. Regardless of the timing of the abuse, they have a sense of feeling ‘different’ from those around them. For adults, historical abuse brings with it a struggle to understand ‘why’ it happened? In addition, many ask ‘why’ they didn’t speak up at the time? The fact that the majority of people know their perpetrator makes it all the more distressing.
Many who have suffered, never share their secret with anyone at all. Some that do, report experiences of being disbelieved or ‘hushed up’ by family members. Others feel failed by the justice system. Notably, a common thread, whether clients have spoken out or not, is that they often feel they should ‘move on’. Nobody seems to have the handbook about how to do this!
If you embark on Counselling, you may not want to talk about the abuse. What many clients want to discuss is how they are coping currently in their lives and what is going on around them. You will never be asked to talk about the abuse if you don’t want to. However, Counselling is a safe and non-judgemental arena for you to share your experiences if you feel it might be helpful to your progress. The choice to talk about it or not always remains with you.
Domestic Abuse Counselling
Counselling for Domestic Abuse
Domestic Abuse comes in many forms, usually categorised as physical, sexual, emotional and financial. Where there is one of these, often there will be a mix. It’s important to note, that Domestic Abuse holds no barrier to class, age, race or gender. Stereotypically, it happens to women from men within the working-class, but this is not the reality. Domestic Abuse happens
to men as well as women
within same-sex relationships
to professionals/by professionals
within families from younger generations to older.
Conclusion, it can happen to anyone!
Why doesn’t the person just leave?
Often a person within a relationship of this nature will feel trapped or like there is no way out. Practical reasons such as lack of money, support or because of the children can be a barrier. Over time, the boundaries become blurred about what is acceptable behaviour from the other person, and what is not. Living in constant fear, and ‘treading on eggshells’ make it harder to think rationally. Emotional reactions such as shame, fear, isolation, lack of confidence are huge factors for those in Domestic Abuse situations. These keep people trapped where they are.
My experience has taught me that every situation is different and that each individual that stays in an abusive relationship will have their own valid reasons for doing so. A person will only leave when they are ready and the time is right. Ultimately Domestic Abuse comes down to power and control over another person. I believe that everyone has the right to live safely and with autonomy.
If you are currently, or have previously, experienced Domestic Abuse you might want to consider Counselling. Counselling can offer you the opportunity to explore what has happened to you. It is a safe space for you to decide what is right for you as an individual, and as part of a family. Your Counsellor will not ask you to leave your relationship, the choice to remain lies with you
The National Domestic Abuse Charity Women’s Aid, have a 24-hour helpline and other useful information on theirwebsite. If you live in the Fareham and Gosport area you may want to connect withStop Domestic Abuse who can offer practical advice and support for Hampshire residents.
Counselling after an Abusive Parent
Abusive Parent Counselling
Just because your parent didn’t have a diagnosed condition for their abusive behaviour doesn’t mean you didn’t suffer. Many adults have experienced abuse in some way as children. Often at the hand of a parent whom, to others, presents as very capable and ideal. Whilst it may be recognised that a parent struggled with alcoholism, drug misuse, mental illness, depression or anxiety it doesn’t make the experience any less painful.
In our society, children, have the right to expect unconditional nurturing,love and care. A parent’s ability to be wholly present and provide this can be blurred by all sorts of experiences. Clients share with me their adult understanding of their childhood. They often suspect personality traits such as Narcissism or Borderline Personality Disorder. The parent may never have sought any help, had a diagnosis or even be aware. Personality Disorders are a group of mental illnesses that can range from very mild to very severe but that often cause problems within relationships.
In the book “Surviving a Borderline Parent” by Roth & Friedman, the authors refer to the parents’ ability to be inconsistent and in-congruent in one moment, yet be so sure of themselves the next. So much so, those around them sometimes doubt their own sanity. As with all mental health conditions, there are varying degrees of behaviour that can manifest. Consequently, they can be very difficult to live with and understand both as a child and an adult.
Common memories of growing up in this environment include confusion, mixed messages, fear, treading on eggshells. Many spend time wondering if there is something wrong with them. Clients tell me they worry in case they become the same type of parent. They fear that they may lack the ability to care for their child properly because of their upbringing.
It would be completely inappropriate to try to diagnose a parent’s behaviour. However, if you identify with any of the above, then, Counselling can offer you the opportunity to explore the impact upon you and your adulthood without judgement.
Relax in quiet, discreet surroundings, Reflect on your issues in a calm confidential environment, Rethink your situation and move forward in a way that is right for you.