Physical, emotional or financial abuse can cause stress and burnout. Long term low levels of abuse, discrimination or exploitation can also be traumatising - not just intense episodes.

Domestic, communal and government abuse can be difficult to recognise and difficult to resist by anyone acclimatised to it. Most people in slavery or forced marriage have experienced abuse or are subject to systematic abuse.

The idea of self may be faint in someone who has been dominated by an abuser. They may find themselves reluctant to seek help or unable to act without permission. Having learned to be controlled it may be hard to find ways to be independent.

People who are controlled or controlling may feel it is quite natural and have difficulty relating to people who are relaxed and independent.

Abusers typically show triumph and pleasure when they traumatise someone. They are momentarily relieved to see that traumatised feelings are inside of someone else instead of inside themselves.

Some abusers induce emotional states in others that are similar or complementary to their own state in order to be on familiar ground and be able to interact with them.

childhood abuse
Unless they are distressed animals do not usually punish or terrorize their offspring. They train them by demonstration and alarm calls.

Punishment and fear based child-rearing promotes low self esteem and habits of responding to events with rage or depression.

Children lack the power and knowledge to avoid abuse and may not realise the extent of their hurt or loss for years afterwards especially when abuse is sexual and they experienced some enjoyment in the abuse or in the seduction. Self-blame can postpone realisation.

Abuse or sexual abuse deprives someone of room to be themselves and know what they want. They learn to please others or keep a distance. Not to have their own needs or to think for themselves.

This is complicated by the instinctive empathy that most of us feel for others and even empathy for abusers when we are immersed in their culture and have absorbed their personalities and values. Victims tend to identify with their abusers, take on their values and copy them in some ways.

The effects of childhood trauma persist throughout life. And the effects are physical as well as emotional. Research shows that abuse lowers intelligence. Children chronically exposed to family turmoil, violence, noise, poor housing or other chronic stress risk factors show more stress-induced physiological damage unless they have supportive mothers.

The presence of a significant person who provided self esteem, safety or real communication during a childhood of trauma or neglect can be enough to enable the resilience to survive or to be a model to base recovery on later.

Parents who are happy and content will try to induce emotional states in their children that are similar or complementary to their own so as to be on familiar ground and able to interact with them.

People with a secure upbringing and happy childhood tend to be more relaxed, resilient, flexible, adaptable, less easily traumatised, less likely to let traumatic events into their lives and have less need to control their environment. They are more relaxed and more likely to respond with curiosity or amusement than distress to new situations.

There are agencies in most countries that help protect people from abuse or threats of abuse and help recovery.