Physical and Psychological Abuse Essay: Two Free Samples for Your Inspiration
Here you will find two essays on the issue of abuse: one of it is focused on the physical abuse and another one — on the psychological aspect of this behavior. Both essays are rather general and do not contain proper in-text citations and reference to the sources. If you wish to have the essay on abuse crafted according to your instructions, feel free to place the order with us and receive assistance from the professional in this field.
Psychological Abuse in Romantic Relationships
If to analyze the motives of people who marry, then the main need for family life is a sense of security, which almost everyone needs. However, alas, the feeling of security is not always guaranteed to partners; moreover, often the partner is not ready to provide another person with security or does not know how to do this. In some cases, it can act out its own scenarios in which the safety of a partner is not a value. By security, people understand not only its physical aspect but also a psychological one. Often, psychological violence is almost invisible and looks like a desire to “improve” a partner, “do him good,” give him his understanding of what is “right” and what is “wrong” in his life. Moreover, psychological violence can be used by both men and women both in relation to each other and in relation to children. That is why it is essential to identify and avoid from the very beginning.
How to Define Psychological Abuse
The behavior of the abuser is approximately the same regardless of the relationship with the victim. First, a person wins trust, disposes of himself, and only then begins to criticize and humiliate the victim, because the latter "does not reach" the ideal - and the reason, of course, is sought in the victim itself, and not in the fact that ideals do not exist. In such relationships, each smallest mistake counts. Quarrels, grievances, or moments of criticism can arise between any people - and violence is masked under such a common misunderstanding. The difference is how often this happens and what conclusion the parties to the conflict make: if the same person is always assigned to blame, then this is a reason for further consideration.
Abuser drives the victim into isolation, creates a protective bubble around them - for example, directly or indirectly prohibits communication with friends or colleagues, being always jealous of the environment. As a result, the victim has nothing to compare toxic relationships with and no one to complain about. Abuser argues that all difficulties are fictitious, and the victim herself is to blame if she clings to trifles. This phenomenon is called gaslighting - this is a complete denial of the victim's problems and feelings, up to the belief in a mental disorder. The victim is so fused with guilt that the behavior of the abuser seems normal and natural, and the punishments and insults are fair. Therefore, people suffering from toxic relationships sometimes notice them too late, when they have already affected their psychological wellbeing.
Sometimes it is hard to understand what exactly is wrong. The actions of the abuser seem logical and correct, only for some reason, the main emotions in the relationship are fear and anxiety, fear of doing something wrong. This is the main symptom of abuse - panic, where there should be mutual support. The persecutors are obsessed with the control they give under the guise of caring. Such a "partner" can, for example, constantly point out the shortcomings of the victim's relatives or shame one's appearance, justifying cruelty by trying to make the person better. An emotional abuser pretends to help, but this is just a way to achieve submission: the abuser proves that the victim is not able to make fair decisions and choices; therefore, the latter always needs sensible advice.
One of the main features of the abuser is the neglect of personal boundaries as if they were something insignificant. Devotion is considered a positive quality, and any manipulation because this is easy to justify with love, and cover mockery with concern for wellbeing. Nevertheless, only when faced with an abuser, it is useless to try to turn into an ideal partner, friend, or child. An abuser does not need a perfect person nearby; he has a different goal - to make the victim suffer.
Impact of Psychological Abuse
Abuse is violence in the broad sense, and the abuser is the person who commits the violence, and it does not matter how: physically, psychologically, or financially. Abuse often lasts for years, and all this time, the victim has to live by the rules that the abuser invented. Abuse is dangerous, not only because it can be physically damaging. Any form of pressure affects the psychological wellbeing, and not everyone can get out of a relationship without loss. Emotional violence is dangerous because it is difficult to prove, as, from it, there are no visible traces on the body.
The consequences can be severe. The most obvious of them include a decrease in self-esteem, loss of self-esteem, the emergence of confidence in one's worthlessness. Over time, many victims of emotional abuse become depressed, unable to get rid of pathological anxiety. There is even a theory that submission to abuser causes a stress disorder similar to post-traumatic one.
Addressing the Issue of Psychological Abuse
It is difficult to leave the abuser independently, and it does not matter who he is, a partner, or a friend. Still, only avoiding such a relationship is the best way to save a victim. For this, it is not necessary to completely break the friendship; sometimes, it is enough to reduce communication. It is better to keep the abuser at a distance and not tell him personal stories. If the abuser is trying to manipulate, it is necessary to set the limits: to be able to say "no" to requests that are more like an order, to protect personal space, and openly talk about what does not fir into one's perception of romantic behavior. Sometimes the victim is so strongly influenced that they cannot resist. In this case, it is better to seek help and stop communicating with the abuser, at least until the ability to withstand emotional abuse appears. This skill does not grow in one day, and often the former victim needs help from the outside.
The victim always depends to some extent on the abuser, sometimes even financially, so breaking up after emotional abuse seems unthinkable. In essence, a person with destroyed self-esteem and faith in a good friend does not imagine how life can continue without a partner. Centers and psychological services exist to protect victims of domestic violence, although so far, they are clearly insufficient. There are no separate services for people affected by other types of abuse. However, addressing a specialist, psychologist, or psychotherapist helps to understand the situation and timely break off the toxic relationship. The victim can ask for help from loved ones and ask them to take the side of the victim during the next conflict with the abuser, support the victim, and help break the pattern of submission. If from abuser's point of view, the victim loses his will, then other people can become intermediaries of communication.
Society nowadays has almost no means that could change the imbalance "victim - abuser," because it is impossible to remake the abuser. All people can do is minimize the effects of toxic relationships. Healthy selfishness is the best way to protect oneself. It is hard to grow in the person, especially if such a person has a persistent desire to please everyone, become a mythical "good person," and earn the approval of others. It is this desire that drives people to try to please an abuser who cannot be liked.
However, ignoring the abuser is the best way to avoid toxic relationships and their adverse outcomes. When manipulations of guilty feelings and low self-esteem do not give effect and impact, bullying will become uninteresting to the abuser. In order not to become dependent on toxic relationships, the person needs independence. The job of the abuser is to assert his power over the victim and tie the partner to himself, so bullying is rarely directed at people with noticeable self-sufficiency. Unfortunately, recipes that are guaranteed to develop independence and courage do not exist. However, it is always good to remember how to recognize the abuser in order to stop communication at least in time.
Psychological abuse, being difficult to determine, is one of the biggest problems in romantic relationships, which can potentially lead to the awful effects. The victims may live with their abusers for years, being dedicated to their relationships and distorted idea of love. Recovering from such relationships is a long-term and challenging procedure that requires professional assistance from the expert. That is why it is essential to understand the first signs of psychological abuse and terminate such dangerous relationships from the very beginning.
The Impact of Physical Abuse on the Health of the Victim
The Impact of Physical Abuse on the Health of the Victim
Abuse, violence, and discrimination are not only social problems; they can lead to physical, mental, sexual, and reproductive health problems. In particular, partner violence is the most significant risk factor for disease, disability, and death among young women. Women of 18–45 years old and children are the most vulnerable groups. According to data published by WHO, worldwide, 30% of women in relationships report that they have been subjected to physical or sexual abuse by a partner during their lifetime. Their male sexual partners commit up to 38% of murders of women in the world. This paper will discuss how different types of violence and discrimination form the basis of health problems and how to deal with it.
Effect of Abuse on Women's Health
A 2012 study conducted by family professionals at Ohio State University involved 17 men who were serving sentences of severe domestic violence in Washington prisons and their partners (or former partners) who suffered from the attacks. The material for analysis was the telephone conversations of these pairs with an aggregate duration of up to 4 hours each (all participants knew that the conversations were recorded for research purposes). An analysis of the topics covered in the conversations revealed the main factors of violence in these families. Among them are the usual reasons, such as alcohol, drugs, the traditional distribution of roles in the family, often reinforced by religious beliefs. However, the most potent trigger for acts of violence was jealousy, or rather, accusations of sexual treason, no matter who suspected and charged whom, the result was the same: a woman was severely beaten and mutilated. So for helping professionals, and just for family and friends of a couple, sexual jealousy is an alarming signal that the threat of physical violence is real. Where it occurs, women are at risk.
WHO and other medical organizations are paying more and more attention to the problems associated with violence - because it leads to direct and indirect health consequences, poor quality of life, and the loss of working days. A little less than half of the victims of violence from a partner reported injuries - in the worst case, it led to death. Other direct consequences are unwanted pregnancy (and its possible complications or abortion) and STIs. According to the results of an analytical study of 2013, women who have experienced physical or sexual violence are one and a half times more likely to have sexually transmitted infections, including HPV and (in some regions) HIV and urinary tract infections. Abuse during pregnancy also increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, complications, and the birth of a child with low body weight.
However, even if there is no physical damage, this does not mean that the abuse did not leave a psychological trauma. Indirect consequences of domestic violence can be depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other anxiety disorders, insomnia, eating disorders, and suicide attempts. People who have experienced domestic violence are more likely to abuse alcohol, smoke, and take drugs or potent medications. In women suffering from abuse, the likelihood of depression or alcoholism is doubled compared to the rest.
Cardiovascular disease can also result from violence. For example, in the case of Mexican women who underwent physical and sexual abduction, their early manifestations were found significantly more often than in the control group (atherosclerosis, not yet accompanied by symptoms, and thickening of one of the layers of the vascular wall). In the United States, scientists even conducted an extensive study on the topic - National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult. It lasted fourteen years and included 90 thousand participants. According to him, young (average age of twenty-nine years) women who suffered from abuse for the last year had an increased risk of developing heart disease over the next thirty years. The increase in risk was small, but this is due, for example, to the fact that not all cases of violence were reported, and emotional abuses were not taken into account in the study at all. Other health effects may include chronic pain (headache, backache, stomachache) and gastrointestinal upsets.
Abuse Outcomes for Child Development
Abuse concerning children and adolescents is another huge problem; it not only makes people susceptible to various diseases and addictions but also launches a vicious cycle, contributing to the abuse in the next generations. Sexual abuse, especially from childhood, at later stages of life, can lead to addiction (smoking, alcoholism, drug addiction) and risky sexual behaviors that increase the risk of infections or unwanted pregnancies. Besides, it correlates with the tendency to abuse in adulthood and the likelihood of becoming a victim of violence.
According to the results of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult, all abused children were subsequently at risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Already by adulthood, it increased threefold for every seven events of childhood abuse. "Violence is a common form of preventable disaster," explained Dr. Michel Albert, a professor at the University of California at San Francisco, at the 2018 American Heart Association meeting. - Abuse as a cause of cardiovascular disease is not well understood. The effect of violence is probably a form of toxic stress."
According to Albert, violence affects the brain and the autonomic nervous system. Typically, the body can adapt to short-term stresses. However, constant abuse does not provide space for adaptation, which can lead to the development of metabolic disorders, diabetes mellitus, and coronary heart disease. Children who have been abused by themselves or have witnessed violence against their mothers are more likely to suffer from hypertension, peptic ulcer and intestinal disorders, diabetes mellitus, neurological diseases, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
General Health Impact
Discrimination and abusiveness worsen health - but there is also a reverse trend when some diseases increase the risk of violence. There is a correlation between some mental illnesses and violence: people with these illnesses are more likely to be victims of domestic and other violence, but their risk of abusive behavior may be increased. At the same time, aggression is less often associated with the disease itself (for example, when a person has delusions or hallucinations) than with the abuse of alcohol or psychoactive substances. The most important thing here is to remove the taboo from the topic of mental illness so that people are not afraid to consult a doctor in time for help.
People with chronic diseases, from fibromyalgia to diabetes mellitus or migraine, often face a lack of understanding of others, the inability to determine the diagnosis or receive treatment. Stigmatization, in addition to physical and psychological exhaustion, contributes to an increase in stress levels - which can lead to depression or manifest aggression (when they say that a person has a "bad character"). Changes in behavior can occur due to endocrine disorders - for example, "steroid rage" with hypercorticism or emotional lability with hyperthyroidism.
Aggressive behavior occurs in dementia (including Alzheimer's disease) and is due to a number of reasons. This is frustration due to impaired memory and thinking, changes in personality structure, depression, episodes of delirium (motor excitement with clouding and impaired perception of reality) or delusions (distortions in the perception of the world), impaired vision and hearing. Today, the maximum treatment effect is the ability to slow down the progression of dementia somewhat. In addition, there are behavioral strategies for workers caring for the patient that reduce the risk of aggression.
Avoiding Physical Abuse
In order to counter violence, serious strategies and the participation of different organizations are needed - from governments to the media. In 2018, a debate broke out in the Journal of Ethics of the American Medical Association about whether it is necessary to consider violence, including family violence, an infectious disease - and, therefore, "treat" it. One group of authors suggested treating violence as infection and involving the healthcare system in solving the problem - in fact, this system, Cure Violence, has been implemented in some US cities for fifteen years as part of the experiment and is quite effective.
Like the infectious process, violence has an "incubation period" (the authors compared the abuse to tuberculosis - it develops slowly, and it may take years from the child to become a victim of violence before he becomes an abuser). Violence can be "infected" - people reproduce in their own families the models of abuse, discrimination, and bullying that they observed. Like diseases, violence has risk factors - for example, poverty and low levels of education. The authors talk about the need for "epidemiological control" (this is the collection of statistics and the identification of dangerous regions) and "treatment."
Various organizations participate in these processes, each of which has its own role. Police and social workers (the "violence breakers" group) identify the "disease" and prevent its spread. Particular questionnaires have been created that allow people to calculate whether a person is subject to review. "Advocates" (teachers, medical, and social workers) identify risk groups and try to reduce the likelihood of violence. Doctors and other health care providers treat victims of violence, including psychological consequences, and prevent revenge from abusers.
Opponents of comparing violence with infection suggest another model - the toxic environment plays the leading role in it, and "treatment" is based on the reduction of inhibitory factors of this environment. First of all, we are talking about a low level of education, low quality of life, discrimination, alcohol abuse, society's tolerance for violence, and gender inequality. WHO considers family honor and "sexual cleanliness," as well as weak legal sanctions for sexual violence, as an abuse risk factor.
Obviously, not only the health sector should deal with abuse. What is needed in medicine is called a multidisciplinary approach: the involvement of doctors (traumatologists, surgeons, therapists, cardiologists, endocrinologists, neurologists, gastroenterologists, psychiatrists), psychotherapists, social workers or private centers, representatives of the legislative, judicial and executive authorities. The society needs to work with a "toxic environment": improving the quality of education and living standards, a favorable information atmosphere - for example, eliminating manifestations of sexism and other types of discrimination.
If physical violence exists in society, it inevitably exists in the family. However, its scale is difficult to assess: pokes and kicks, as a rule, do not get publicity, and in the most egregious cases when criminal statistics could help, the numbers are unreliable. Most often, society turns a blind eye to stories of domestic violence. Alternatively, it even blames the victim.
In many situations, reporting cases of physical violence against women is perplexing. These two types of reactions - ignoring and perplexity - indicate how little we are aware of the causes of domestic violence: where the aggressors come from and how they look for the victim, how the state and behavior of the victim, who has been in a situation of violence for a long time, changes. This is why it is essential to maintain the discourse of physical abuse and implement the legal protection of potential victims.