Experiencing emotional trauma as a child or in an adult relationship, whether personal or business, can leave defensive habits that may be difficult for others to understand. In a previous post tips about recognizing gaslighting/emotional manipulation were listed and the topic of projection was discussed. Manipulative tactics can include blaming the victim for the abuse to the point where the victim may believe it or may have developed the habit of trying to apologize or sooth the manipulative person to try to prevent conflict. Apologizing frequently would indicate that the person is a survivor of abuse rather than being the gaslighter because apologies are rarely given by someone who blames and manipulates others.
These types of reactions may become difficult for the victim to control in other situations or in future relationships if they leave the manipulative one. Possible habits that might occur in someone who experienced trauma might be difficult to recognize as survival tactics, a brief list for mental health advocacy summarized a few:
Someone who has been mentally abused will:
Hide their feelings in fear of upsetting you.
Break down during small disagreements thinking it will worsen.
Need a lot of reassurance.
Please be patient we are trying. #KeepTalkingMentalHealth
There has been violence and weather emergencies that have affected many people (climate & mental health) and the political climate has been traumatic as well. We are all experiencing more stress than is likely healthy and stress can make it difficult to be patient with oneself or with others.
An article offered on a family therapy website offers some additional guidance when someone you care about is a trauma survivor. It may also help survivors recognize and better understand their own reactions which can help with coping, healing, and changing the defensive habits. See: "Loving a Trauma Survivor: Trauma's Impact on Relationships," Brickelandassociates.com.
National Children's Advocacy Center: "10 Facts about Child Sexual Abuse," NationalCAC.org/pdf
Crisis and mental health support services:
U.S. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: Call 1-800-273-8255, Available 24 hours everyday. (I.suicidepreventionlifeline.org)
National Helpline: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: "SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders." (I.samhsa.org)
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 24/7 confidential support at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224. (G.thehotline.org)
Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, RAINN Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE, (I.RAINN.org)
Child Welfare Information Gateway: a variety of toll-free hotline numbers for concerns involving the safety of children. (11.18)
/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./