November is White Ribbon month and the time when domestic violence is put under the spotlight. Often when people see the White Ribbon or the ‘It’s Not Ok’ campaigns, their attention is automatically drawn to physical abuse. Which, is in fact not the most prevalent form of abuse. Psychological or emotional abuse, is the one experienced most in partner and family relationships. Due to the nature of this abuse, it’s often the hardest to detect. In my previous life as a child protection social worker, I worked with families, for whom this kind of abuse was part of their lives. Sadly, it was not until the abuse became violent and there were signs of physical abuse, did someone speak out and contact the necessary support agencies. There are lots of reasons why people choose to ignore psychological abuse, the most common being that this kind of behaviour in relationships has become the societal norm within some cultures.
Psychological / emotional abuse is when there is manipulation and coercion by a partner or family member, that effects your emotional wellbeing, personality, makes you feel anxious and as though the situation is the victims fault. It goes on behind closed doors in every community regardless of culture, ethnicity or socio-economic status.