Last week, we left off with signs of mental and emotional abuse. Symptoms like attacking the victim’s self-esteem, control on the person, and displaying accusations without basis. For this blog, more signs will be revealed, signs that you might think is normal, but in reality, it is already abuse.
The experience of grief is different for everyone, and it has no timetable. Grieving, however, is a necessary part of the coping and healing processes. — Jacqueline Pearce, MSEd, MHC
Dealing with the death of a loved one is always challenging emotionally, and it can take a significant amount of time to reach the stage of acceptance and rebuild a life with a “new normal.” However, when the loss is abrupt and unexpected or accompanied by violence and horror, the impact is intense to the bereaved cognitive, physical, psychological and emotional status. These past few years, the world has seen various events that can be categorized as horrifying and senseless death such as mass shootings, terroristic activities, plane crashes, massive vehicular accidents and natural disasters like hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes. Whenever we are put in a situation where we can provide support to bereaved family, friends, and coworker who has been affected by the sudden loss. It is ideal to take note of the facts about the effects of sudden and unexpected death to the loved ones left behind and how to help them deal with this type of tragedy.
Abuse can come in many forms, not all being apparent and physically visible. Mental and emotional abuse is a more nefarious kind of abuse since it’s very hard for others and even yourself or the person being abused to detect when you are in the midst of it.
Abuse of this kind seeks to frighten, isolate, and control a victim and is enacted through an abuser’s words and actions (that are not directly physical). The persistence of these actions to reinforce the abuse is a common trait of emotional abuse and is usually done by someone close to the victim like a lover, spouse, or family member.
Emotional abuse can be every bit as devastating to individuals and relationships as physical and sexual abuse. And the pain of experiencing emotional abuse can be heightened when you feel unsure whether what you are experiencing is normal or okay. — Betsy Smith, MEd, LPC-S
Gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder is the distress an individual experiences because of feeling uncomfortable with the physical or assigned gender and the gender with which they identify themselves with. They also feel uncomfortable and troubled with the likely role they have to take with their assigned gender.
The general population views sex/gender as binary categories—male/masculine and female/feminine. In contrast, some scholars and activists argue that both sex and gender extend along a continuum. — David Ludden Ph.D.
Gender Dysphoria In Childhood
Confusion or gender conflict affects some individuals, especially children, in different ways. It may change the way a person wants to express himself and can influence the way he behaves, he dresses, and the way he portrays his self-image.
One couple with a transgender boy told their story that at age two, their son would refuse to toilet train unless they buy him boxers. He would refuse to be called in his female name but preferred a boy’s name. They felt troubled by this, but they accepted and respected their child’s decision to be a boy, no matter what other people would say to them.
After their child’s social transition, they claimed that his life blossomed and their anxiety about his coming to puberty escalated. They said that it’s a long and challenging journey to parent a transgender child. They had him see a therapist to guide him, and that made a significant impact on their son’s life, who now is living a happy, well-adjusted life.
But it is a different case for Tony, now an adult, who was not accepted by his family when he tried to tell them about his struggle at a young age of nine, and out of fear of his strict father, he decided to suppress his true feelings. Although he tried to do his best for his father to accept him, he still can’t come out in the open. He even got married after college just to please his father. But despite having an almost perfect family, deep inside he was not happy because he was suppressing his true identity. He felt depressed because the way he was living did not match the way he felt inside. He was always thinking about how his life would be better if he could live as a female, that whenever his wife was not around, he would try on her clothes.
Recent evidence indicates that thalates from plastic and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are one of many factors predicting gender dysphoria, particularly in the case of male-to-female transgenders. — Nigel Barber Ph.D.
Living an upsetting, unhappy life, he sought treatment from a therapist to whom he can be honest about his life plans. He talked about how much he desired to be the opposite gender but was afraid to upset his father. Sharing his life with his therapist, he became more sure about becoming a woman, and he began to tell his closest friends about it and even requested them to address him as “she.” ‘
She is now in the process of working things out with his mental health provider and preparing herself to have the courage to tell her wife. She started her hormone treatment but has no plan of having surgery.
Acceptance And Respect
People with gender dysphoria are living in a confusing world, and they are in conflict with themselves and the people around them. Feeling unaccepted and unrespected cause them to be depressed, unhappy, and some even reach the point of contemplating suicide.
The family must be the first one to understand their ordeal. Studies have shown that children who are experiencing gender dysphoria recover faster and can live a happier and fuller life when the family shows support than those who are hiding in the closet.
A few very misguided clinicians (and families) have attempted to “cure” a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity with things like aversion therapy and labeling the individual as a sex addict (as a way to explain his or her “abnormal” feelings and behaviors). Again, these tactics are nearly always both harmful and counterproductive. — Robert Weiss Ph.D., MSW
There are some with gender dysphoria who are satisfied with just doing cross-dress, some want to socially transition, and there are those who want to consider medical options with sex-exchange surgery or hormone treatment. Socially transitioning includes use of affirmed gender’s pronouns and bathrooms.
Not all individuals who experience gender dysphoria want to have gender reassignment. Some are fighting for their right to dress the way they want without being judged, to be supported, and treated fairly and equally, and to be accepted by their family and the society with which they belong.
Gender dysphoria is not just about being gay or lesbian says a therapist, but more about being able to come out in the open freely, be accepted and not be judged because they choose a gender they are not born with.
Although it is most often thought of in terms of intimate partner relationships, emotional abuse can occur in other types of relationships as well. Parent-child relationships, for example, can be marked by emotional abuse, sometimes continuing well into adulthood. — Betsy Smith, MEd, LPC-S
Last week, short term and long term effects of emotional abuse were discussed. This week, it will be about recovery, but before that, a word of advice.
Woman, you are beautiful and precious in your way. You must not let any man use and abuse you physically, mentally, psychologically, and emotionally. Phenomenal woman, that’s you – said Maya Angelou. Remember that.
These are just some of the words women hear from their husbands, partners, or boyfriends, and yet, they silently accept it. True – words cannot create a physical wound. It can do more than that, for it harms a woman’s heart, mind, and, soul.