CCR Column: Affirm Self-Worth in Others

By Amy Jung, HELP of Door County, Inc.

Did you ever have a school bully? Someone who made you feel as though no matter what you did it just wasn’t right? What if you were in a relationship with that bully? Your personal life offered you no break from the constant criticism, so eventually the situation became your whole sense of self-worth. Domestic abuse isn’t always strictly a physical situation. Realize bumps and bruises heal; your self-worth isn’t so easily restored.

A gentleman asked me recently, “Why do abused people stay in these situations or return to them?” The honest truth, from someone who survived and walked away from this, is: you don’t walk away until you know you are safe to do so, and you believe you deserve something different or better.

While visiting with family and friends this holiday season, think about the words you speak and comments you make. A simple affirmation of someone’s self-worth may make all the difference in the world to an abused person who believes they are worth nothing.

Psychological/mental abuse is characterized by a person enacting some behavior onto another person that results in some sort of psychological trauma: anxiety, chronic depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc. These resulting symptoms and stress in many abused individuals creates a pattern of returning to an abusive situation.

Before insulting abused people or thinking negatively about the self-destructive behavior they are exhibiting, realize someone else has convinced them that they deserve their suffering and that it’s normal and acceptable. Nobody wants to feel worthless, it’s not the way we’re made. However, when another person – whom you love – threatens or demeans you regularly, those words become truth.

If you are struggling with abuse or know someone, call to set up an appointment to see a domestic violence advocate and discuss your options at HELP of Door County, Inc. at 920.743.8818.

 This article is brought to you in part by the Door County Coordinated Community Response (CCR) to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Teams and the Door County Elder and Adult-at-Risk Interdisciplinary Team.

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