Abuse.  A discussion piece for students and those who deal with such matters.

This page was first constructed in 2003 as part of a lecture to professional counsellors.  The content is my own opinion and is based on many years of dealing with this in the workplace or observation of how people may be influenced and coerced into believing that abuse has taken place.

Abuse may be verbal, situational, physical, sexual, occupational, by text or e mail, anonymous, family, partners, by your children, upon your children or any circumstance where the actions of one upon another without consent are harmful.  Victims may be male or female and of any age.  Abuse of the more mature is common.  It has no less a dramatic effect and lessens the will to live.

Abuse may inadvertently be effected upon one who is not at first glance a person at risk and actions may be misconstrued, badly interpreted or connived.  Such may be with one who lies about their age, are on psychological medication, on hallucinatory drugs, reacting to prescription drugs or have a history of alleging abuse. It may be a person with cognitive impairment, may feel threatened or is in care.

It is very easy for a person to be influenced by a jealous partner and financial gain or simply mischief may be afoot.  Such may be the case following a visit to the doctor or dentist and any situation where interaction of any sort might be imagined or actual.  To be alone in a lift with a member of the opposite sex is fraught with possibility. Some people fantasize and make false accusations in order to bring some sparkle to their lives and have power over another.  A jealous employee may take it out on the boss who favoured another for a post in the firm. 

A child may be jealous of a new sibling and engineer ‘accidents’. Others may self harm from a feeling of guilt, having been made to feel unworthy or because they like the pain. Self harming is a different 'ball game' altogether and not for open discussion here.  If one is to discuss ‘Abuse’ we should firstly ensure that abuse has taken place and not rush to accuse.  Mass hysteria does not involve great crowds but escalates in a few moments within a small group of family or friends. It is becoming more apparent that many children are vitamin D deficient, thus liable to broken bones and that this has nothing to do with parental abuse. To be objective is both desirable and necessary if one is not to ruin lives and destroy any resolution.  It is wholly undesirable to name and shame to see if others come forward. 

The accuser may have a history of complaints and by remaining anonymous, the implication is of guilt first without fair trial.  Innocent people have had their lives ruined without any wrongdoing at all. At our clinic, I see many hundreds of genuine victims of abuse and I see others who have been coerced into making accusations or told lies to get them to complain.   How does one know the difference? Were I to be distanced, too objective or too impersonal the person may not feel open to say the whole story.  If I listen and let the story evolve we may look at what actually happened.   I used to run workshops for those employed in the care of those who had problems. 

In one such workshop, a lady hit a student.  He was a professional counsellor and I had to explain that without a desk, a certificate on the wall or that person having been referred he was exposed and all his training was to naught.  His manner was patronising in accord to the detachment demanded by his training. 

How you interview is crucial and a failure by one professional may stop any chance of success with any other. The way that I have found best is to offer comfortable, private surroundings and a gentle approach that is non judgemental.  The ‘MOT’ or massage therapies enable a victim of abuse to regain confidence, to learn that they have every right to say ‘No’, to decide what happens or does not happen and in absolute confidence be permitted to grow strong.

Therein is a problem. In the situation of on-going abuse, the perpetrator may become extremely violent once it is seen that control has been reduced.  I have seen this a number of times in the training of self-defence methods and fitness programmes since I took my first Self Defence class in 1963. Until the victim is strong enough and physically able to defend him/ her self, care MUST be taken to instruct in the sensible approach of appeasement.   Do not open doors that will lead to severe injury.

There is too much on the web about revenge and so called justice.  Be careful not to open a ‘Pandoras Box’ without knowledge of the consequences.  Of course, sexual or physical abuse upon a child is without question unforgivable and if found in the course of therapy, reportable to the police. So, if you have been abused and are suffering with emotional or physical consequences then the choice of therapist may not be easy to come to.  One reads the websites or asks of friends who have been through the mill. It is not always best to saturate and inure nor is it at all times best to overlay patterns with suggestions or ‘methods’ of thought. 

To keep repeating over and over again the same thing does not get rid of the problem. I have read many sites on the web and few if any, look at what is best overall or offer flexibility of approach. Just go and have a chat.  If you do not feel that is the right person, leave.  That is your right and the first step to overcoming your situation. It may take a year of therapy sessions with no absolute certainty or guarantee. Happily, a great proportion of those that we see here do recover enough to lead a pretty normal life but we are always open to better ways of helping. You are an individual, a person with the right not to be abused.

Post script update in 2022.    In view of the proliferation of historic abuse accusations and the difficulty in proving such cases, there has been an increasing use of the expression ' Mistaken memory'   or 'False memory Syndrome".    There is much written of this on the web and I simply urge that such recollections which suddenly manifest have to be dealt with very carefully as the effect is disastrous  to all concerned.  Please read the effects of regression therapy that may, in the wrong hands introduce things that were not there to start with.....  Be careful...

Tony Hardiman...  Copyright to The Chi Clinic 2003

Mr Hardiman is not registered as a counsellor but has spent a lifetime studying human nature, how to listen, to assist and offer a safe space to just to talk in absolute confidence and find one's own solutions.