“A regular person minding their own business doesn’t just wake up one morning and say, ‘Gosh, wouldn’t it be cool if I just cut the crap out of my arm,'” he says. “It’s very, very common among people who have self-injurious behavior that they report histories of having been physically or sexually abused or severely neglected.”
Abuse is defined as maltreatment. The verb maltreat means “to treat badly.” Would you agree that “abuse” is not limited to inappropriate physical touch?
Neglect is defined as the lack of due care and attention. Would you agree that “due care and attention” is not limited to adequately meeting a child’s physical requirements of food, clothing, and shelter?
Our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health is affected by the world we live in. When that world includes psychological abuse or neglect, we are “hurt”.
People are not perfect. Children are bound to be abused and neglected at some point. Which begs the question, “how much is too much?” Everywhere I read about abuse, I see the words: repeated, chronic, severe, etc. It is a matter of degree.
We are able to quantify physical abuse and neglect. But what about the other forms of abuse and neglect?
One article: “sustained psychological abuse… undermines self-esteem and destroys self-confidence by undermining the rights of the victim. Its subtlety is insidious; those people perpetrating the abuse are masters at disguising their actions and the effect on the victim is difficult to detect or to isolate… In order to identify the process of abuse… one can use a model based on the severest form of abuse – that of physical and mental torture – developed by Biderman after studying the breakdown of American soldiers through emotional and physical torture during the Korean War. Biderman’s stages of coercion: isolation, monopolisation of perception, induced physical and mental exhaustion, threats, occasional indulgences, demonstrating ‘omnipotence’, degradation, enforcing trivial demands.”
The experts have a little more to say on the subject: “…the CIA financed and conducted secret research on coercion and human
consciousness… producing a revolutionary new psychological torture paradigm that was superior to various physical methods… The basic techniques… are aimed at making victims feel responsible for their own pain and suffering… while it appears less abusive than physical torture, the psychological torture paradigm causes deep psychological damage…”
Psychological abuse and neglect is real and really damaging. The action is in question, not the intention.
They say that if the shoe fits, wear it. In my case, after reviewing Biderman’s stages of coercion, I was able to easily run through a
mental laundry list of examples of this behavior that was perpetuated onto me by adults. In my case, self-harm makes sense.
The CIA article continues on, “This material had been retained in the files of the Army intelligence school at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.”