Physical abuse or violence (also called family violence, interpersonal violence, or domestic violence) encompasses a wide variety of abusive behaviors including spousal abuse, child abuse, abuse between siblings, or extended family members living in the home. Physical violence can also include other types of abuse such as psychological/emotional, economic, verbal, or sexual abuse. Often situations of physical violence are complex and involve many different factors and relationships. Physical abuse can cause a number of physical and emotional scars. Anyone can suffer from physical abuse and it’s not limited to abuse between partners or families. In some cases, the abuse escalates over time. Those who have suffered physical abuse often have visible scars as well as emotional scars. The emotional scars are harder to see.
Symptoms & signs of trauma caused from physical abuse
- Mood swings
- Lack of self-esteem
- Anxiety or a constant feeling of fear
- Fear of the abuser
- Fear of attending school, work, or other events where the abuser may be present
- Inability to break free from the abuser
- Feelings of shame
- Pulling away from friends and family
- Being withdrawn from everyday life
- Displaced aggression towards other people or family pets
- Openly or secretly planning revenge
- Attempting to overhaul your looks or life to blend in
- Avoiding situations or changing your job, school, or habits to avoid the abuser
- Trust issues
- Feelings of numbness
- Shock and confusion
- Issues with sexual identity or functioning
- Flashbacks or nightmares of the abuse
- Night terrors
- Physical injuries
- Problems sleeping
- Trauma response (PTSD)
- Sleeping too much
- Lack of energy
- Memory issues
- Aches and pains
- Tense muscles
When is it time to get help?
If you experience most of the symptoms listed above as a result of being in a relationship, you are most likely in an abusive situation and should seek help immediately. Keep in mind that trauma can show up years after being in an abusive relationship as well, so if the symptoms of trauma are affecting your life – then it’s time to get help.
If you, or someone you know is in a dangerous or life-threatening situation, please call 911.
For immediate help outside of our office hours, throughout Alberta, please call 211 or one of the following distress lines:
- Edmonton: The Crisis Centre call 780 482 HELP (4357)
- Greater Edmonton region: Rural Distress Line at 1-800-232-7288.
- Calgary: 403 266 HELP (4357)
Trauma from physical abuse treatment methods
Your therapist will discuss with you the best treatment method for your circumstances, and while there are several different options, a few that have been proven to be effective when treating physical abuse trauma include:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach to treatment that focuses on how people’s thoughts, emotions, and beliefs influence their behaviour and how they perceive themselves.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of treatment where you revisit a traumatic moment or incident and the feelings and beliefs you experience about the incident.
- Reality therapy generally believes that individuals choose their behaviour and as a result, are responsible for not only what they are doing, but also how they think and feel.
- Narrative therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses narratives and/or client’s personal stories to help people separate themselves from their problems, believing that the person isn’t the problem; the problem is the problem.
- Person centered therapy differs from more traditional therapeutic approaches in the belief that, while the therapist has expertise in many areas, the client is the expert on themselves and their lived experiences. People are essentially trustworthy and have a vast potential for understanding themselves while also being able to ultimately resolve their own problems when guided properly.
What will I get out of treatment with Insight Psychological?
Insight Psychological can help you if you have suffered trauma from physical abuse, no matter the type of relationship that you had with the abusive person. Getting free from the abuser and effects of the abuse is the goal.
If you’re in an abusive relationship, getting the right therapy may help you to leave that relationship. If you are in an abusive situation and you are afraid for your life or your personal safety, call 911.
If you are a survivor of abuse, Insight can help you to deal with the trauma and aftermath so that you can go on to experience healthier relationships and better quality of life overall. Please contact us for more information or to book an appointment today.
Note: Insight can also provide therapy for abusers.