Let’s talk about abuse

Why let’s talk about abuse?

Let's talk about abuse
Knowing the signs of abuse can help save a life — So, let’s talk about abuse!

Abuse can come in many forms and it happens far too often in homes around the world. In this second of a series about abuse, we’ll take a look again at the various types of abuse. Knowing the various signs and symptoms of abuse, and being aware of the impact on someone’s mental health could help save a life. So yes, let’s talk about abuse.

Trigger warning: If talks of abuse, rape, and suicide make you uncomfortable, please do not read this article.

One in five adults aged 18 to 74 years experienced at least one form of child abuse, whether emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or witnessing domestic violence or abuse, before the age of 16 years (8.5 million people), according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW). These figures just hint at the number of adults who suffered abuse during their childhood and the impact it has had on lives.

You can’t change the world alone – you will need some help – and to truly get from your starting point to your destination takes friends, colleagues, the good will of strangers and a strong coxswain to guide them.

William H McRaven

Some forms of abuse

Lady's bare back with writing in green saying Is this Love? and black painted writing Love shouldn't hurt.
Emotional abuse is more difficult to
spot as there are no physical signs
  • Physical Abuse — most likely the easiest form of abuse to spot as it’s non-accidental harm to a body. It ranges from physical injuries such as pushing, slapping, punching, hitting, biting or wounding to things like inappropriately restraining, denying basic needs like water and food, denying or deliberate mismanagement of medication.
  • Psychological/Emotional Abuse — often more difficult to spot as it’s mostly done in private and doesn’t have any physical effects. It can be threats of abandonment, deprivation of emotional and physical contact, intimidation, humiliation or deprivation of cultural/religious needs.
  • Domestic Violence — we covered that here. However, people ought to be aware that domestic violence isn’t always just physical and also includes ‘honour crimes’ and forced marriages.
  • Sexual Abuse — includes sexual acts that you haven’t consented to, sexual assault and rape, pornography, online sexual abuse and sexual harassment.
  • Older person Abuse — might include not caring for someone properly, pressuring someone to give away money or property, psychological eg threats, harassment or forcing someone to live somewhere they don’t want to and physical violence or sexual.
  • Financial or Material AbuseWarning on the increase since Coronavirus: could be fraud and internet scams – I’ve had several obvious scam requests from Paypal to login etc, which I marked as Spam. However, it’s been common lately for some elderly and vulnerable people to have been scammed already. Watch out! Financial abuse might also include theft or controlling all finances; property or inheritance.
  • Discriminatory Abuse — unequal treatment of people due to race, age, gender, religion, disability or sexual orientation.
  • Organisational Abuse — might include abuse or neglect and poor care practice within an organisation or specific care setting such as a care home or a hospital or in relation to care provided in one’s own home. This could be one off incidents or on-going ill-treatment of cared for people. There could be more than one abuser and sometimes managers collude with or ignore the abusers.
Black and white photo with grey hand irons with words in black saying "Modern Slavery"
Modern slavery is a relatively hidden crime — know the signs
  • Modern slavery — a relatively hidden crime and targets people living in unstable conditions i.e. forced to live in poor conditions; basement of building while skivvying for little or no pay. It could include slavery, and human trafficking, and in the UK alone, in 2013 there was 1,746 cases of Modern Slavery reported.
  • Neglect and Acts of Omission — aspects of neglect such as deprivation of clothing, shelter, food or heating. Abusers can also harm victims by ignoring their physical or medical needs, which might occur in a care home by banning visitors, isolating or ignoring and mismanagement of medication.
  • Self-Neglect — is a bit different to the other forms of abuse as it’s normally an individual who inflicts it upon themselves i.e. not attending to activities of daily living like not washing or brushing their teeth, not keeping their environment clean and safe or not looking after their physical and mental health. These people are often somewhat at risk of other types of abuse, due to their vulnerability i.e. allowing or being forced to entertain drug use in their home.
  • Child Abuse — when a child is intentionally harmed by an adult or another child – it can be over a period of time but can also be a one-off action. It can be physical, sexual or emotional and it can happen in person or online. It can also be a lack of love, care and attention – this is neglect, NSPCC.

Child abuse also comes in many forms and we’ll explore it further during this series of “Let’s talk about abuse”. However, if you’re worried about a child, and don’t know what to do, you can contact the NSPCC Helpline on this number: 08088005000 for immediate help and support.

Large red question mark with a caricature white man leaning up against it - thinking

For any other help or support services, you might find what you’re looking for in this Useful Mental Health Contact List here, and if not, I’m happy to help. I look forward to your comments, thoughts and any questions. I listed the various forms of abuse in no particular order and if there’s an area you’d prefer I write about next, please let me know.

Author: mentalhealth360.uk

Mum to two amazing sons. Following recovery from a lengthy psychotic episode, depression, anxiety and anorexia, I decided to train as a Mental Health Nurse and worked successfully in various settings before becoming a Ward Manager. I am a Mental Health First Aid Instructor and a Mental Health Awareness Trainer, Mental Health First Aid Youth and Mental Health Armed Forces Instructor. Just started my mental health from the other side blog.

51 thoughts on “Let’s talk about abuse”

  1. very very well done for talking about Abuse .people never see the every day effects.there views/judgements are very Snotty Nosed
    i was abused sexually as a child.i have m.e .bladder and bowel problems because i was abused .my story of abuse is in a
    Authors book . Research into abuse is very RARE .YET it is very EFFECTING
    my blog,http;//mark-kent.webs.com

  2. Have had physical, emotional, sexual, psychological, online abuse.
    Neglect, abandonment, betrayal, and I also abuse myself in some ways.
    I think I’ve turned out pretty good considering though.
    But this will be why I do not trust.

    1. Of course, after everything you’ve experienced, it’s always going to be tough to trust. Sorry to hear about your own self-neglect, how are you dealing with it? I hope you have support? Caz x

      1. Blessings…
        I read a book for Anthony Robbins notes from a friend…
        If you take step by step action , you could always be better …
        You learn from mistakes …
        You could listen to youtube videos for Anthony Robbins as well …

    1. Sorry but that’s just nonsense. That’s not very supportive and I’m not sure whether their opinion is backed by any evidence.
      You know much of my ‘story’ and abuse has been a constant, but I really don’t believe I’m addicted to pain whether emotional, psychological or physical. You stay well my lovely xx

      1. Well like I said, I don’t know if I’ve always had good therapists, I just know what they said or told me about things. And some things I felt were not right. I did have one brilliant one. But the last one made me feel very uncomfortable. I walked out one day and never came back.

      2. It is often difficult to find a good therapist and one you can actually work with. I’ve walked out on two – born with silver spoons and knew nothing about life or struggles – with their fake smiles and nodding like one of those little nodding dogs in the back of cars!

        Still, if and when I need it, I would go back to therapy. But – sometimes, it’s easier on here, writing things down and having support from our fellow-bloggers. Caz x

      3. Yes, I think it’s easier writing and expressing through writing.

        Going to appointments and meeting different therapists in real life, and there were many, made me incredibly anxious as I did not know how to be.
        That probably sounds strange, because you should just be yourself, but I don’t really know who that is.

        I found I was trying to adapt to what they wanted, and even at times, I was already at a conclusion before they had explained it, or I was way ahead of them.
        Even at times I felt like a role reversal was almost taking place.
        Because for most of my life, I have been “the therapist”.
        And so allowing myself to be in this role of being helped as it were, was like I was having to go into a different child-like mode. I was having to access a different part of me which was painful, and most of the time she just cried or would stare at the floor, or dissociate.

      4. Wow, I felt the same – particularly once I was a qualified nurse and CBT therapist myself – I think they were slightly afraid lol.

        I can understand how difficult it might have been for you, going into child-like mode. It is really hard opening yourself up to someone and yes, very painful indeed. I feel for you my lovely. I’m always here for you. Somehow it’s always easy supporting others isn’t it? But I’m here xx

      5. You write from the heart, sorry to learn how abuse has been a constant in your life, hope it’s not anymore. I’m still writing and grasping the effects from the experiences that I write. Keep smiling and safe x

      6. Thank you. And no, definitely not. It took me long enough to stop the cycle of abuse – Unfortunately I always seemed to attract narcissistic male partners and the abuse continued. But not any more!
        It’s not easy going over it and it can be difficult writing about it, so I feel for you and wish you well on this step of your journey 🙂 Caz x

    1. Thank you 🙂 And yes, I’ve seen it now. I loved your answeres, particularly about the area you live and about Goa. I’ve also wanted to go there and will one day. So I’ll be asking you for tips 😉 Caz x

      1. Thank you so much😊

        And you are most welcome to India🤗 I’ll be your guide 👍

        Bdw, with what name, should I call you?😅

  3. It is so important to know the forms of abuse and to be informed. You can’t do anything when you live a sheltered life, just not knowing. At some point it all becomes too much and people will break free – because there is no other option. I hope that this information can make it more clear to someone and that they don’t have to wait ’till ‘there is no other way’ to escape abuse. No one needs to endure abuse; we all have the right to be happy in our way. Thank you for posting this <3

  4. Thank you for this list. It’s good to get an idea of the distinctions between different types of abuse.

    You mention scamming being on the rise, particularly targeting the elderly. That seems to me like an indirect form of older person abuse. I remember once encountering an older woman who was practically on the edge of tears over a scam email, believing its claim that she had a frozen account that needed to be reactivated. When I told her it was a scam and that all she needed to do was delete the message, she was so happy and relieved. She got away unscathed, but I wish she hadn’t had to go through even that emotional pain.

    1. Aaaww, that’s awful. Unfortunately me mum’s been caught like that too. She was terrified cos she likes to keep her accounts straight lol. Anyway, she always calls me when her or dad receive ‘odd’ emails, You’re right, it is a form of older adult abuse – saying that, I’ve honestly had 4 scam emails asking me to reactive my account by pressing ‘this button’ Lol. I always mark them s scam so hopefully they get caught!!
      How can people be so cruel. x
      Oh, I’ve just realised – they obviously think of me as elderly too lol xx

  5. This is such an important topic Caz! I am going to re-post this as soon as I can add in some important information for Canadian sites and phone numbers. Thank you so much for sharing this 🙂 I grew up in an abusive home, suffered years of sexual abuse outside of the home, and also the victim of financial abuse. There is hope! And there IS such a thing as happiness.

    1. Aaww, that’s awful Ang, really sorry to hear about you being abused. I’m sure you’ve gathered – me too 🙁 And you’re damn right – there’s always hope and happiness 🙂 Glad we’ve both got that now 🙂
      I’m delighted that you want to share this post, much appreciate. Caz x

      1. Thanks Caz 🙂 I’m sorry you endured it as well. It hurts my heart when I hear these stories or meet others who have gone through any sort of abuse.

  6. Really informative article. As someone who works with people who were victim of violence, you really did a good job at informing people.

    1. Thank you for your kind comments and I’m glad this post is of interest. We all need to take it seriously, you’re right and we need to get rid of the attached stigma and discrimination too!

  7. Thank you for writing about this. As a survivor of child abuse myself, it is difficult to speak about it. It’s too bad we have to give “trigger” warnings to expose something that happens every day.

      1. I know. It’s become quite evident to me that it is hard to do it. Many survivors are triggered. Many don’t want to talk or write about it, much less read about it. I get it now. It has taken me over 25 years to be able to. Because to remember such trauma, is to potential relive it.

        It is truly a shame that this happens to a lot of kids. And the damage is permanent.

  8. Of course. Perhaps 10 years ago, I wouldn’t be able to talk or write about it. I was too afraid of the triggers. Like you said, unfortunately, the damage is permanent. It never goes away 🙁

      1. No, Caz 🙂

        I am the daughter of one pathological narcissistic father, and I dated for two years a son of one narcissistic mother. These people cross all the permissive boundaries and try to tear you apart with stupid manipulative, abusive behaviors.

        If we talk about the new dating world era, words like ghosting, breadcrumbing, gaslighting are forms of abuse also. Emotional abuse. Someone who is dating one person with an avoidant attachment style will suffer abuse from that person because when they avoid intimacy and emotional support, that is abuse.

        I am glad you brought this subject to the table, and I hope you can write more about it.


      2. Oh, I feel for you Alexandra, and I can only imagine how difficult it was for you. Oh, I’ve been through the dating thingy and each of them had these damn narcissistic traits. Caz x

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