Slaps to Our Souls: Psychological Violence

Ruhumuza Atılan Tokatlar; Psikolojik Şiddet

Those we call our loved ones or those closest to us can become the individuals we most want to distance ourselves from when it comes to violence. This is because we feel in our bones that there is no healthy love connection within any form of violence. We particularly notice the slaps, punches, and attacks directed at our bodies and tirelessly try to cover them up. We don’t leave any cream or concealer unused so that bruises, wounds, redness, and marks don’t show up. In physical violence, we feel the pain in our bodies directly and see the damage to our bodies clearly. Thus, when we experience physical violence, understanding it is not difficult.

But what about the slaps thrown at our souls, the ignorance of our feelings, the cultivation of the side accustomed to insult, the blame on our identity, the dismissal of ourselves, the degradation of our ideas and behaviors, the humiliation of every step we take, the withholding of love, and the violence towards our self-worth; the countless wounds opened with psychological violence, the most frequently experienced and least recognized type of violence? Even if the slaps thrown at our souls don’t turn into bruises or redness on our bodies, it can take some time to recognize the deep wounds opened within us. Compared to physical violence, it can sometimes be difficult to understand psychological violence. Or, due to the frequent occurrence of this situation, we may normalize it and continue to blame ourselves instead of recognizing psychological violence. According to research, it is also more difficult to heal the wounds of psychological violence compared to physical violence.

In psychological violence, there is a broad network that includes all kinds of criticism, humiliation, blaming, shaming, judging, bullying, and threatening behaviors. This network encompasses many points, from your mother’s angry gaze when you were a child to your father never hugging you, from being labeled as unsuccessful at your workplace to being embarrassed in your relationships, and even being ridiculed for your feelings. Psychological violence is closely related to being deprived. It involves constant deprivation and exclusion of love, approval, acceptance, and respect. It thrives on finding faults, searching for wrongs, needling, criticizing, and suppressing. While the behavior and implications of everyone we encounter in our lives may sometimes not bother us, experiencing these situations from our loved ones constitutes psychological violence. The negative and recurring accusations of our mothers, fathers, teachers, friends, partners, spouses, which include things like unforgettable expressions, words, or actions, are psychological violence. These things may be present in an expression, words, or actions that we cannot forget.

The effects of these slaps thrown at our souls question our self-confidence, worth, competence, the belief that we deserve to be loved, our strength, and our importance. The constant feelings of guilt, the sense of failure, and the inner whispers of unworthiness quietly suggest that we deserve this. When we believe in these, instead of being aware of the psychological violence we have experienced, we start searching for mistakes in ourselves. However, the first thing we need to know about psychological violence is that in any form of violence, no matter what the reason is, wrongdoing does not make it right. Violence is a wrong action, and there is no justification for violence.

No form of violence is deserved or seen as right. Making a mistake is an opportunity not for being insulted but for self-improvement. Disregarding, being ignored, criticized feelings are your most valuable needs. Needs are meant to be fulfilled, not dulled. To cope with psychological violence, we first need to recognize that we are subjected to it. Afterwards, instead of explaining it with phrases like “It happens in every family,” “It can happen in any relationship,” or “They must be in a bad mood,” we need to give up these attitudes and act consciously. This action involves seeking solutions by first listening to our inner voice, not by turning a blind eye or keeping silent.

Remember that you are very valuable, being loved, approved, accepted is your fundamental right, and a happier life is always possible. If you find it difficult to cope with psychological violence, do not hesitate to seek help from professionals. Do not accept any form of violence. Healthy relationships are built with healthy love. When you realize that you are subjected to psychological violence, instead of remaining silent, you can also say “Stop!”

Written by:

Psychologist Merve SAVAŞKAN


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