Psychological & emotional abuse are the most devastating, as they rob from victims their full ability to manage their wellbeing & life. I see this type of abuse as the primary form, which also becomes the foundation for any other abuses to exist on. Further more it breaks the spirit of the victim, giving the perpetrator a greater opportunity to exert his intent of abuse.
Many victims of Domestic Violence & Abuse (DVA) endure and suffer for many years, just like I did. During that period they often lose focus on their ambitions, self worth, rights, identity, and sense of belonging; and they become acquainted to the harsh realities of abuse, instead of love, peace and safety. I believe that even after a long haul of trauma, complete restoration is possible.
One key aspects of finding complete restoration is what I term “psychological emancipation”. In other terms it is the experience of the freedom of the mind, from the mental bondages of DVA. In this experience, the survivor gains not only this freedom, but the confidence to express it as well. By achieving this, the survivor vitally overcomes psychological abuse.
The freedom begins when the survivor’s perceptions transform, her mind healed, and mental recovery generated. This gives her the courage to live her new life pursuing her goals and ambitions without the psychological restrictions or oppressions that come as a result of DVA. With boldness, the freedom is then expressed outwardly through the survivor’s decisions, actions and interactions with her community.
Psychological emancipation also has to do with mental freedom from the norms and values imposed by detrimental systems and doctrines, to self direction of meaningful and beneficial norms and values. This can be the case for survivors like me, who experienced DVA in an environment of imposed strong misused religious doctrines or damaging family values. Imposed values and norms sustain insecurity and fear; positive self-directed values and norms grant security and freedom.
A well known example of psychological emancipation could be that of Rosa Parks, a black woman from Alabama, who in 1955 resisted racial segregation, by refusing to obey a bus driver’s order to give up her seat for a white passenger. It is reported that Rosa said she was “tired of giving in” to the existing systems.
Just as racial segregation was imposed by existing detrimental systems in those years, some causes of DVA are also imposed by the same reason, and victims continuously ‘give in’ without envisioning the way out. In some religious communities leaving an abusive relationship causes survivors to be ostracised for life. Finding psychological emancipation then becomes key in detangling all the mental bondage that come from, existing in a system where abuse thrives, the impact of isolation, and victim-blaming.
Psychological emancipation seeks to find liberty from all the bondages that get lodged within the survivor, as the greatest bondages can be those that are found in the mind. When the mind becomes relieved and strong, the survivor gains self-empowerment and hope for enjoying the fullness of life, despite the ordeal she once endured.
Psychological emancipation becomes the bedrock of mental wellbeing for the refreshed survivor, offering a new lease of virtues that encourage restoration, assisting her to let go of all the baggage of the mind. It allows survivors to start life again, with a renewed mind.
© Kudakwashe Nyakudya 2015. All Rights Reserved.