Abuse refers to deliberate acts of physical, emotional, or sexual violence that are enacted with the intent to injure, manipulate, exploit, or demean another person. The term encompasses much more than outright physical aggression and includes the arsenal of control tactics that abusers use to dominate their victims. These maneuvers may involve intimidation, withholding praise or affection, or manipulating the abused to feel dependent upon the abuser and/or wracked with guilt and self-blame.

What are the Signs & Symptoms of Abuse?

One of the terrible legacies of being abused is that emotional damage of having been mistreated tends to linger long after the abuse has ended, and the visible wounds have healed. Physical and psychological indicators of abuse may include:

  • Physical injuries, including bruises, cuts, scrapes, broken bones, open wounds, burns, and more+

  • Anxiety/Depression

  • Panic Attacks

  • Insomnia

  • Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, including hypervigilance, flashbacks, anxiety, or mood disturbances (such as depression or unpredictable outbursts of anger)

  • Chronic feelings of guilt, anger, shame, self-blame, worthlessness, hopelessness, or emptiness

  • Feeling as though you’re “walking on eggshells”—even in safe situations

  • Engaging in compensatory, self-destructive, or risky behaviors (including substance abuse, sexual promiscuity, self-injury, or disordered eating habits) as a coping mechanism to soothe negative emotions

  • Social withdrawal

  • Dissociative symptoms: experiencing an out-of-body, disconnected, or numbing sensation that occurs during or immediately following the abuse

  • Experiencing trust issues or a fear of abandonment in romantic or social relationships

  • Difficulties with achieving emotional or sexual intimacy

  • Suicidal Ideation

How Can Counseling & Therapy for Abuse Recovery Help Me?

Although the psychological effects of abuse can be long-lasting healing from trauma is both possible and attainable.

Your therapist will assist you to:

  • Identify situations that qualify as abuse and break free from cycles of seeking out abusive relationships and friendships

  • Manage complex emotions, including feelings of depression, futility, worthlessness, guilt, disgust, or rage; or intrusive flashbacks—memories in which you relive the traumatic event in vivid detail

  • Develop constructive strategies to cope with negative emotions and receive treatment for destructive habits (substance abuse, sexual addiction, eating disorders, and more+)

  • Regain the ability to trust and form meaningful emotional and sexual connections in your romantic relationships


Please note that the above is provided as information only and is not meant to be used as a diagnosis or take the place of professional counselling services.

Contact Pathways Counseling & Coaching Centre

If you feel that counselling or life coaching would benefit you in your life journey, we are here to help. Contact us today with any questions and to schedule an appointment for counselling with one of our supportive team.

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