Abuse and Trauma

1. What is the difference between abuse and trauma?


There is a difference between abuse and trauma. Abuse happens whenever someone fails to respect the rights and dignity of another. There are many degrees and types of abuse, some minor in nature and some very serious.  The relationship between abuse and trauma, which refers to a type of injury, is that abuse can lead to trauma. Not everyone who has been abused, becomes traumatized, however.

The word “trauma” has different but related meanings depending on what professionals use it. In medicine, it seems to mean “serious physical injury”. In mental health, the term refers to a serious psychological injury. Since the mind and the body are connected, a psychological injury can cause real physical problems, and a physical injury can cause mental problems.

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors through the use of power and control tactics used by one person over another in an intimate relationship. Partners may be dating, married or not married; separated; heterosexual, gay, lesbian, living together or not living together. Such abusive behaviors can include pushing, shoving, slapping, throwing objects; choking, isolating you from your loved ones; being called names and threatening to hurt you. Domestic violence can happen to anyone, crossing all boundaries of culture, age, race, sex, education, and socioeconomic status.  Domestic violence affects family members and children in many ways as well. They witness fear and may mimic the behavior if they themselves do not develop coping mechanisms to distance themselves from the abuse.

There are many reasons victims stay. My mom stayed because…..
But the abuse was almost lethal many times.  Staying created danger for our family.  My mom did not have awareness of the problem at the time and became insensitive to the abuse. She did not have a plan and was kept in isolation. These were all tactics her abuser used to maintain power and control.  But no one deserves to be abused, no matter what the circumstances.