When discussing abuse and the lasting impact it can have on those who experienced it, it is important to ensure that people understand the various categories of abuse, as that will help make sense of the degrees of the impact of abuse.
Though some abuse leaves clear physical indicators (bruises, burns, scars, etc), the majority of the most significant kinds of abuse leave few, if any, physical marks or scars. The deepest wounds and most profound scars happen on the inside, within the mind, emotions, heart and soul of the survivor, where few outsiders can tell just how much damage has been inflicted by the perpetrator, and how much pain the survivor wrestles with on a daily basis. This is the woundedness of the survivor... the soul wound that must be healed.
In legal terms, the 4 main categories of abuse are: neglect, physical abuse, emotional and/or psychological abuse, and sexual abuse. However, such a categorization of abuse can lead to a misunderstanding of both the nature of abuse experienced by survivors, and the extent and complexity of the dynamics involved in the abuse.
Instead of viewing abuse in terms of categories, the nature and effects of abuse is better viewed in terms of the nature and degree of the impact upon the survivor. Since the more severe the categories of abuse do not happen without it involving other forms of abuse, it is important to view the abuse and its impact on a continuum.
5 Key Signs of Emotional Abuse
What Are The Harmful Effects Of Emotional Abuse?
Emotional Abuse - Patrick Doyle
The incremental steps of abuse
Abuse always starts with a person electing to be emotionally negligent, irresponsible, selfish, or hurtful. This results when the person minimizes, diminishes, devalues, dishonors, disrespects or negates the inherent worth and value of another person. When that occurs, the sanctity of the person is disregarded, and their boundaries are transgressed or trespassed (crossed or violated). As a result of that, the perpetrator has taken his responsibility to do what is right and reasonable, and elected instead to care more about themselves than the other person. The net effect of that is they negatively impact another person by taking their own responsibility and placing upon another person. Hence, they become emotionally irresponsible. By doing so, they negatively impact another person (hurt). Thus, an injustice has been perpetrated, and the injured party has been saddled with the weight of negative emotional impact, which is called "oppression."
has been to ignore their conscience after each time they have been hurtful. When the selfish person's conscience informs the him that he has been hurtful (it doesn't take much to see it on another person's face or in their eyes when we have negatively impacted them by something we have said or done), it is then that a choice is made... either to respond properly by humbly going back to the person to point out that there was no justification for how you acted or what you said (accepting full responsibility for what you chose to do), acknowledging to the other person that you were wrong (confessing), acknowledging the extent of the negative impact you had on the person (speaking accurately about the impact you had on them), seeking to make amends (reparations), and making the changes necessary to ensure you do not repeat the behavior again (genuine repentance).
So, what does this progressive hardening of conscience look like when it comes to the extent to which the person knows what he/she is doing, how hurtful they have become? What that enables them to do and say hurtful and harmful things to others without the pangs of guilt? And, what internal changes are they permitting and fostering inside their heart-of-hearts to actually silence their conscience?
The selfish person's actions result in corresponding impact upon the injured party, in terms of levels injustice, negative impact,
hurt, & anger
The Degrees of Forethought & Intentionality on the part of the Selfish Person...
and the corresponding Biblical terms for each
Category and Degree of Hurtfulness
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Malice & forethought
Callous & indifferent