List of Domestic Violence Resources by State

Alabama: Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence - website
Florida: Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence - website

The Impact of Untreated Trauma on Children: A Comprehensive Exploration

In today's society, it is crucial to address the impact of untreated trauma on children. Exposure to abusive behaviors and unresolved traumas can have profound effects on a child's development and well-being. In this blog post, we will delve into the various themes discussed in a recent podcast episode, highlighting the importance of providing a safe and stable environment for children. Through verbatim quotes from the Stillness Gifts podcast hosted by the author of Laboring to Love an Abusive Mate, Nicholl McGuire, we will explore the potential consequences of untreated trauma and the steps that can be taken to mitigate its impact.

Exposure to Behavior

"Untreated victims of abuse will do something that will surprise you." 

The first theme we encounter is the unpredictable behavior exhibited by untreated victims of abuse. Nicholl recounts a distressing incident involving a priest who, overwhelmed by a crying baby, resorts to hitting the child instead of offering a blessing. This example serves as a stark reminder that even individuals within the church, who have experienced their own traumas, may struggle to control their reactions. 

Risk of Emotional Transference

"Children require stability and witnessing such unpredictability can be distressing and confusing for them."

Children are intuitive beings who can quickly pick up on the emotions of those around them. Regular exposure to the complex emotional states of untreated abuse victims can lead to the absorption of these feelings, resulting in anxiety or fear. The author of Socially, Sweet Privately Cruel Abusive Men suggests that these emotional transferences may be generational, with children mirroring the behaviors and emotional responses of their untreated parents or grandparents. 

Normalizing Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

"Some of them had even gone so far as to threaten not so much themselves, saying that they were going to unalive themselves, but they were threatening to hurt other people."

Untreated victims of abuse often develop unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse or self-harm. These behaviors can become normalized in the eyes of children who witness them repeatedly. The survivor of domestic violence highlights the prevalence of self-medication and threats of violence among untreated victims, emphasizing the need for intervention and support. Without proper guidance, children may adopt these destructive coping mechanisms later in life.

Potential Role Reversal

"In some situations, children might feel the need to take on a caregiving role for the untreated victim."

Untreated trauma can lead to a phenomenon known as role reversal, where children are forced to take on caregiving responsibilities for their untreated parents. This parentification deprives children of a typical childhood, burdening them with responsibilities they are ill-equipped to handle. Tell Me Mother Your Sorry author emphasizes the detrimental effects of this role reversal, highlighting the importance of protecting children from such circumstances.

Development of Fear or Resentment

"Repeated exposure to the traumatic reactions or narratives of the untreated victim might cultivate a sense of fear or resentment in the child."

Children who are repeatedly exposed to the traumatic reactions and narratives of untreated abuse victims may develop fear or resentment towards these individuals. Nicholl, who also authored Say Goodbye to Dad and She's Crazy, suggests that witnessing the suffering and abuse endured by their parents or relatives can hinder the development of a healthy relationship. These negative emotions can have long-lasting effects on a child's emotional well-being and their ability to form healthy relationships in the future.

Impeded Emotional Development

"Consistent interaction with untreated trauma can influence a child's emotional development, making them more susceptible to conditions like anxiety, depression, or even posttraumatic stress disorder later in life."

The episode highlights the profound impact of untreated trauma on a child's emotional development. Regular exposure to traumatic experiences can leave children vulnerable to conditions such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The long-term consequences of untreated trauma can manifest in various mental health issues, underscoring the urgent need for intervention and support.

Misconceptions About Relationships

"Seeing an untreated abuse victim regularly might give children skewed perceptions of relationships where they might come to believe that suffering in silence is the norm."

Children who witness untreated abuse may develop skewed perceptions of relationships, believing that suffering in silence is the norm. The episode emphasizes the importance of providing children with healthy relationship models and dispelling misconceptions about abusive dynamics. By offering context, support, and additional resources, we can help children navigate the complexities of relationships affected by untreated trauma.

Difficulty in Establishing Boundaries

"Children might struggle to establish personal boundaries if they're continually exposed to an individual who, due to their trauma, might not respect or understand them."

Continual exposure to untreated trauma can hinder a child's ability to establish personal boundaries. The mother of four sons highlights the challenges faced by children who are exposed to individuals with unresolved traumas, as these individuals may struggle to respect or understand boundaries. It is crucial to provide children with the tools and support necessary to establish and enforce their boundaries, ensuring their emotional well-being and safety.

Conclusion and Future Outlook

The impact of untreated trauma on children is a pressing issue that demands our attention. By exploring the themes discussed in this episode, we gain valuable insights into the potential consequences of exposing children to untreated abuse victims. It is essential to provide children with stability, healthy surroundings, and the necessary resources to navigate the complexities of relationships affected by trauma. Empathy and support for abuse victims are crucial, but we must also prioritize the welfare of children and ensure their emotional well-being. By addressing these issues head-on and offering intervention and support, we can create a safer and healthier environment for future generations.

For those seeking further information and resources on trauma, abuse, and their impact on mental health, organizations such as the American Psychology Association, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, and the National Domestic Violence Hotline provide valuable insights and support. Together, we can work towards breaking the cycle of untreated trauma and creating a brighter future for our children.

You can listen to the entire podcast at Stillness Gifts.


Recognizing and Overcoming Spiritual Abuse in Relationships

Spiritual abuse is a form of emotional and psychological abuse where religion or spirituality is used as a tool to control or manipulate another person. It may involve using religious teachings to justify harmful behaviors, exerting power over a person's spiritual choices, or creating fear and guilt around spiritual beliefs. While this type of abuse can occur in a variety of contexts, it is especially harmful in relationships where the victim may feel isolated and unsupported. Recognizing spiritual abuse is the first step towards healing and recovery. 

The spiritual abuse that can occur in a relationship can be subtle and insidious, making it difficult to recognize. However, if you are able to identify some of the signs after realizing that your relationship has become toxic, then there is still hope for breaking free. Here are two examples of people who experienced spiritual abuse in their relationships and how they managed to break free.

Example 1: Sarah

Sarah had been in a relationship for five years when she began to feel like her partner was controlling her actions and words more and more. She felt like her opinions weren't being respected, their conversations were becoming one-sided, and that he was constantly trying to manipulate her into believing his own beliefs. After finally gaining the courage to leave, Sarah sought out spiritual and emotional counseling to help her process her experiences and heal. She was eventually able to move on with her life in a more balanced and healthy way.

Example 2: John

John had been married for over twenty years when he started noticing his wife's behavior getting progressively more aggressive. He felt like she was demanding and controlling, and that he had to constantly worry about her reactions. He eventually discovered that his wife's behavior stemmed from spiritual abuse - using religious beliefs and teachings as a way to control him. After seeking help from friends and family, John was able to leave the relationship and find peace of mind in his own spirituality.

These are just two examples of how people have been able to break free from a spiritually abusive relationship. It is important to remember that it takes time and support in order to heal, so make sure you find the resources and help that you need. Don't hesitate to reach out for assistance if you feel like you are in an unhealthy or dangerous situation. Remember, you have the power to take control of your life and to create a better future. Never forget that you are not alone; there is always hope.

By understanding the signs of spiritual abuse, such as constant criticism and control, manipulation of your beliefs, or attempts to isolate you from friends and family, then it can be easier to see when something isn't right in a relationship. It is important to be aware of the warning signs before it's too late so that you can take action and protect yourself. Abuse can look different in each situation, but the effects are always serious and long-lasting. If you think someone close to you is dealing with spiritual abuse, make sure they have all the support they need to break free from the cycle.

Breaking free from a spiritually abusive relationship takes time, courage, and understanding. However, it is possible to find the strength to move forward and create a healthier future. With the right support system in place, no one has to suffer alone. If you or someone close to you is dealing with spiritual abuse, don't hesitate to reach out for help. There are many resources available that can provide the assistance you need to leave the situation and start healing. No one should ever feel powerless or trapped in a spiritually abusive relationship; there is always hope for a brighter future. 

Check out Know Your Enemy the Christian's Critic by Nicholl McGuire


Dealing with Dismissive and Gaslighting Relatives after Abuse

Abuse is never something anyone ever deserves to experience, but unfortunately, it's something that can happen to anyone. And when it does happen, it can be even worse when the people who are supposed to have your back, family, are the ones being gaslighting or dismissive about it. It can be challenging for survivors of abuse to confront such relatives, especially if they’ve done it before or if they feel vulnerable.

Abusers and their enablers often minimize past incidences of abuse by pretending it never happened, blaming the victim for it, or making excuses for the abuser's behavior. This attitude only exacerbates the trauma, and it's crucial for survivors to take control of their lives by seeking some closure. In this blog post, we’ll outline some tips on what to say to dismissive and gaslighting relatives and how to let go of toxic family members after ending an abusive relationship.

Speak your truth

When dealing with dismissive or gaslighting relatives, speak your truth without sugarcoating your experience. Share with them the full extent of the harm that your abuser caused you. Use "I" statements that focus on your feelings and your experience of the abuse, such as "I felt scared and alone when…" and “I was harmed…” By sharing your experiences honestly and in a straightforward manner, you take control of your narrative, and there is no room for someone else trying to spin it or negate your experiences.

Communicate Your Boundaries Clearly

If you feel that you can’t be with a whole group of your relatives or specific family members anymore because they’ve hurt you without apologizing, communicate that. Communicate your boundaries clearly to them and make it clear that their behavior is unacceptable. If there are certain topics or conversations, such as those regarding your abuser or past abuses, that you aren’t comfortable discussing, inform your family members of that gently but firmly.

Know When It’s Time to Walk Away

If your family members refuse to listen, continue belittling or denying your experiences, and being wholly dismissive, it may be time to walk away. It might seem difficult at first. However, learning to let go of toxic family members is necessary for your emotional and mental well-being. They could be toxic to your mental health and well-being by constantly diminishing your experiences. Try to make new relationships with people who value and support you.

You Don’t Owe Your Family Anything

It’s important to remember that you don’t owe your family anything, especially those family members who minimize or gaslight your abuse experience. While society puts a lot of emphasis on loyalty to family, the reality is that blood relations aren't a sufficient reason to tolerate abusive behavior. Don't let anyone shame you for prioritizing your well-being and happiness. It's your life, and only you can decide which relationships deserve your time and energy.

Seek Professional Help

If you feel unable to confront your relatives or cope with the trauma alone, please consider reaching out to a mental health practitioner, such as a therapist or counselor, for help. A professional can help you make sense of the emotions and guilt you may be experiencing. In addition, they can give you further guidance and support on how best to confront your dismissive and gaslighting relatives, as well as provide tips on how to heal from the emotional and physical scars of abuse.

Surviving abuse is empowering, but it's not always easy to follow through. Survivors of abuse need to find the right tools and support from the people around them to help them cope with the emotional and psychological trauma that comes with it. Some of these tools have been discussed above, such as speaking your truth, communicating boundaries clearly, and seeking professional help. The most critical aspect of healing from abuse is prioritizing your well-being and letting go of toxic relationships that are detrimental to your mental wellness. Get empowered and live the life that you deserve - one that is self-fulfilling, nurturing, and free from all forms of abuse.

Check out Tell Me Mother You're Sorry and Say Goodbye to Dad by Nicholl McGuire both books expose the toxic behaviors of self-absorbed emotionally and/or abusive parents and grandparents and provides tips.


How to Know a Partner is Controlling or Manipulating Your Beliefs

 It can be difficult to recognize when a partner is trying to control your beliefs. They may not even realize that they are doing it, and it can be difficult for you to draw boundaries. Here are some signs that may indicate that your partner is being controlling about your beliefs:
1. Your Partner Tries to Pressure You into Agreeing with Them - This could involve using threats or ultimatums to try and get you to believe the same things as them without giving you space to form your own opinions on the subject.  

2. They Constantly Criticize Your Beliefs - Even if they do not explicitly tell you what to believe, they often criticize any beliefs that do not align with their own. This is a way to try and make you feel bad or wrong for having different beliefs than them. 

3. They Make Decisions for You - Your partner may want to make decisions about religion, politics, or other important topics for both of you to control your beliefs.  
4. They Try to Isolate You from People Who Have Different Beliefs - One way that people can control others’ beliefs is by isolating them from anyone who might have different views than them. If your partner forbids you from interacting with certain people because of their views on issues, it might be a sign that they are trying to control what you believe.  

It is important to remember that although your partner may be acting controlling, the most important thing is to protect yourself and your beliefs. Do not be afraid to speak up for yourself and set boundaries if you feel that your partner is crossing them. A healthy relationship means allowing each other space to have different opinions, so make sure that you are clear about what is and is not acceptable behavior regarding discussing beliefs.  

If these behaviors become extreme or indicate an unhealthy pattern of control, it may be a sign of emotional abuse. If you feel unsafe in any way, reach out to someone you trust or contact a helpline like The National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233).  

Nicholl McGuire is the owner of this blog and the author of Laboring to Love an Abusive Mate, Laboring to Love Myself, Socially Sweet Privately Cruel Abusive Men, and many more nonfiction books.

God didn't put you with an abusive mate. Your flesh did.