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It’s Abuse

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Abuse: What does it look like?

Abuse happens on all levels:

  • individual,
  • community,
  • regional,
  • national, and
  • international

It’s important for us to know what abuse looks like so that we can address it. Elie Wiesel said, “What hurts the victim most is not the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander.”  We may think of abuse as something physical, but it can include several areas of behavior.

Who has power and control?

The domestic violence wheel, which is easily available on Google images, shows the abuse dynamic. In the center is what the abuser wants: power and control.

Abuse can take these forms:

  • coercion and threats,
  • intimidation,
  • emotional abuse,
  • financial abuse,
  • isolation,
  • using privilege,
  • using children, and
  • denying, blaming and minimizing.

stop domestic abuse, domestic violence, abuseAbuse starts gradually and builds up over time. If something doesn’t feel right, step back, reflect on what’s happening, and get some help. If you or anyone you know is experiencing any of these forms of abuse, call the domestic violence hotline: (816) 461-HOPE.

Although they rarely seek help voluntarily, due to antisocial (sociopathic) and narcissistic tendencies, abusers can also call the domestic violence hotline for help. In the Kansas City area, we have several domestic violence shelters, and they work closely together. They offer a variety of community services, including individual and group therapy for those who do not need to stay at the shelter.

Let’s learn what abuse looks like so that we avoid giving abusers power over us.


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Author: Martha Childers

Martha Childers, EdS, LPC is a multicultural psychotherapist specializing in couples, grief and caregiver stress. Martha is a licensed professional counselor in Missouri and Kansas. She received her masters and education specialist degrees in counseling psychology from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. She practiced Zen through a variety of Japanese traditional arts for 3-1/2 years. Since that time, mindfulness has been an integral part of her life. Her interest in human nature, beliefs, and life styles led her to become a counselor.

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