Organizations That Can Help You
Sexual and Domestic Abuse Organizations
- RAINN The USA’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE, online.rainn.org and rainn.org/es) in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country.
- Rape Crisis England and Wales is the umbrella body for a network of independent Rape Crisis Centres. Member Centres provide specialist support and services for victims and survivors of sexual violence.
- Rape Crisis Scotland Working to end sexual violence in Scotland
- California Coalition Against Sexual Assault CALCASA provides leadership, vision and resources to rape crisis centers, individuals and other entities committed to ending sexual violence. Check out their great resources page. (CA, USA)
- National Alliance to End Sexual Violence NAESV spreads awareness of sexual violence and provides respectful and confidential consultations to anyone who has been affected.
- National Sexual Violence Resource Center The NSVRC’s mission is to provide leadership in preventing and responding to sexual violence through collaboration, sharing and creating resources, and promoting research.
- National 24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233, TTY 1−800−787−3224, or thehotline.org
- Refuge 24-hour UK National Domestic Abuse hotline 0808 2000 247 nationaldahelpline.org.uk
- Sexual Violence Law Center SVLC provides emergency legal assistance and protects the privacy, safety, and civil rights of sexual assault survivors, and helps them rebuild their lives. (WA, USA)
- Technology Enabled Coercive Control Working Group An effort between and Seattle-area organizations that work on gender-based violence issues, aiming to disrupt the ways that technology enables and perpetuates coercive control in interpersonal relationships.
Mental Health Support Organizations
- Inclusive Therapists All identities in all bodies deserve equal access to quality, culturally responsive care.
- Love is Louder The #LoveisLouder Action Center was designed to share tips, tools and ideas for actions that can help us take care of our emotional health, and take care of each other.
- National Center for PTSD Suggestions for self-help and coping. (USA)
- Out of the Storm A nonprofit organization offering online resources, including a forum, information sheets, and book recommendations, specifically for CPTSD.
- Psychology Today’s therapy finder Find someone to talk to. Find detailed listings for mental health professionals in the US.
- PTSD UK They provide support and resources for anyone experiencing PTSD. (UK)
- Samaritans Whatever you’re going through, a Samaritan will face it with you. Call 116 123.
- Papyrus HOPELINKUK Provides young people under 35 with a safe space to talk. Call 0800 068 41 41.
- US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. 1-800-273-8255, TTY – Dial 800-799-4889
- Anti-Violence Project AVP empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence through organizing and education, and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy.
- The Trevor Project The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.
- Trans Lifeline A grassroots hotline and non-profit organization offering direct emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis – for the trans community, by the trans community.
- LGBT Foundation is a national charity delivering advice, support, and information services to LGBT communities. 0345 3 30 30 30
Articles We Found Helpful
- What Is Sexual Grooming? 7 Things to Know About This Abuse Tactic
- 9 Things People Don’t Realize You’re Doing Because You’ve Been Abused By A Narcissist
- 11 Subtle Signs You Might Be In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship
- What Emotional Abuse Really Means
- How to Give a Good Apology Part 1: The Four Parts of Accountability
- How to Give a Good Apology Part 2: The Apology – The What and The How
- The 5 Stages of Grief & Loss
- 9 Tips for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
- Know your issue? You also need to know how to frame it.
- Emotional Violence and Social Power
- Sexual harassment is prevalent across all industries and sectors. We can and must stop it.
- To all men who are in on the ‘open secret’: you have failed us
- What is Psychological Invalidation? How it Happens and its Effects
Academic Papers to Explore
- Doherty, D., & Berglund, D. (2008). Psychological abuse: A discussion paper. National Clearinghouse on Family Violence. This paper includes a definition of emotional abuse and lists some psychologically abusive tactics and behaviors.
- Stark, C. A. (2019). Gaslighting, misogyny, and psychological oppression. The Monist, 102(2), 221-235. This paper is about gaslighting in a more social sense when it comes to women’s testimony.
- Mechanic, M. B., Weaver, T. L., & Resick, P. A. (2008). Mental health consequences of intimate partner abuse: A multidimensional assessment of four different forms of abuse. Violence against women, 14(6), 634-654. A paper with a section that talks about the serious impact of psychological abuse.
- Porrúa-García, C., Escartín, J., Gómez-Benito, J., Almendros, C., & Martín-Peña, J. (2016). Development and validation of the scale of psychological abuse in intimate partner violence (EAPA-P). Psicothema, 28(2), 214-221. This paper looks at measuring and formally evaluating psychological abuse, and in so doing includes questionnaires that provide helpful examples of what emotional/psychological abuse looks like.
Books We Liked
The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. (CW: written from a white, Western perspective that can manifest as racist and biased language, particularly in regards to African and Asian experiences)
Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving—A Guide and Map for Recovering from Childhood Trauma by Pete Walker
Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski
The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense by Suzette Haden Elgin
Apps, Videos, Podcasts, Comics, and Other Media
- A Soft Murmur Find the perfect mix of background noise to help you relax, study, work or sleep. A Soft Murmur is the ideal productivity app to help you wash away distractions. (Android)
- Rain Rain Sleep Sounds Trouble sleeping? Rain Rain helps you fall asleep fast! (Android)
- Calm Calm is the #1 app for Sleep, Meditation and Relaxation. (Android)
- Headspace: Meditation & Sleep Get happy. Stress less. Sleep soundly. Headspace is your guide to everyday mindfulness in just a few minutes a day. (Android)
- PTSD Coach App Can help you learn about and manage symptoms that often occur after trauma.
- Getting Called out: How to Apologize A YouTube video by Francesca Ramsey that explains how to apologise.
- 10 Types of Emotional Manipulation A very simplified breakdown of ten different types of emotional manipulators presented by Psych2Go.
- Rerooted, Episode 20: Human Giver Syndrome by Emily Nagoski Francesca Maxime talks with Emily Nagoski about Human Giver Syndrome.
- Feminist Survival Project A podcast for feminists who feel overwhelmed and exhausted by everything we need to get done in 2020, and still worry that we're not doing enough
- Canadaland #267: Consequence Culture Jesse Brown speaks to Desmond Cole about whether you can actually be ‘cancelled’ if you still have a platform.
- That Guy at the Pub a comic by Jules Scheele (cw: sexual assault) about abuse in the comics industry perpetrated by older people in positions of power, mostly cis men.
- The Gift of the Firebird a comic by Charity Pomaybo
- What if you stopped centering abusers in your justice process? A Twitter thread by @LuxAlptraum
- Just because you couldn’t see someone’s red flags doesn’t mean you deserved to be treated badly A wise and useful Instagram post from @kingsophiesworld for those of us with guilt about missing red flags
- Self-care Strategies (that aren’t centred around consumer culture or bubble baths) An Instagram post with a great list by @hannahgoodart
- Grooming: Two case studies A blog post at Puzzling.org
Many of us find the tale of Bluebeard to be a useful allegory. In our experience, a Bluebeard is a serial collector in a position of influence with a pattern of secrecy, who uses numerous deception tactics to keep their targets separate, and leverages power to keep their targets quiet.
Merriam-Webster notes that a contemporary use of Bluebeard can mean "to seduce and then reject one woman after another.”
Artist Meredith Yayanos was the first to suggest the term Bluebeard in connection to Warren Ellis. She explores Bluebeard patterns in this video.
The use of psychological force to cause the learning and adoption of an ideology or designated set of beliefs, ideas, attitudes, or behaviors. In a psychologically coercive environment, the victim is forced to adapt in a series of small "invisible" steps. Each step is sufficiently small that the subject does not notice the changes or identify the coercive nature of the process until much later, if ever. Psychological coercion overcomes the individual's critical thinking abilities and free will – apart from any appeal to informed judgment. Victims gradually lose their ability to make independent decisions and exercise informed consent.
Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or CPTSD
A disorder resulting from repeated trauma over time, rather than a single event. Any type of long-term trauma, over several months or years, can lead to CPTSD. However, it seems to appear frequently in people who’ve been abused by someone who was supposed to be their caregiver or protector. Symptoms may include:
- Reliving the traumatic experience
- Avoiding certain situations
- Changes in beliefs and feelings about yourself and others
- Somatic symptoms
- Lack of emotional regulation
- Changes in consciousness
- Negative self-perception
- Difficulty with relationships
- Distorted perception of abuser
- Loss of systems of meanings
A habitual chain of activities that will be repeated, enjoyed by the subject to cause them to continue the activity. Typically, this loop is designed to create a neurochemical reward in the subject such as the release of dopamine. Compulsion loops are deliberately used in video game design as an extrinsic motivation for players, but may also result from other activities that create such loops.
Consent occurs when one person voluntarily agrees to the proposal or desires of another. Free and informed consent can be said to have been given based upon a clear appreciation and understanding of the facts, implications, and consequences of an action.
Source - Wiki
Source - RAINN
Culture of Complicity
An environment where numerous people or networks are familiar with someone's misconduct, yet permit that misconduct to continue without repercussions. This permission may materialise as feigned ignorance, "looking the other way", covering up, or otherwise enabling said misconduct. One example of a vast culture of complicity is outlined in this New York Times piece about the systems of facilitation surrounding the Harvey Weinstein case.
Effects of Emotional Abuse on Adults
Short-term effects of emotional abuse may include:
- Surprise and confusion
- Questioning one's own memory, "did that really happen?"
- Anxiety or fear; hypervigilance
- Shame or guilt
- Aggression (as a defense to the abuse)
- Becoming overly passive or compliant
- Frequent crying
- Avoidance of eye contact
- Feeling powerless and defeated as nothing you do ever seems to be right (learned helplessness)
- Feeling like you're "walking on eggshells"
- Feeling manipulated, used and controlled
- Feeling undesirable
- Stockholm Syndrome
Long-term effects may include:
- Low self-esteem and self-worth
- Emotional instability
- Sleep disturbances
- Physical pain without a cause
- Suicidal ideation, thoughts or attempts
- Extreme dependence on the abuser
- Inability to trust
- Feeling trapped and alone
- Substance abuse
Fawn Trauma Response
Pete Walker, M.A, MFT, coined the concept of fawning in the context of trauma as the fourth “F” in the fight, flight, freeze, fawn series of trauma responses. He writes, “Fawn types seek safety by merging with the wishes, needs and demands of others. They act as if they unconsciously believe that the price of admission to any relationship is the forfeiture of all their needs, rights, preferences and boundaries.” Symptoms of fawning include:
- Being unable to say how you really think or feel
- Caring for others to your own detriment
- Always saying “yes” to requests
- Flattering others
- Struggling with low self-esteem
- Avoiding conflict
- Feeling taken advantage of
- Being very concerned about fitting in with others
Because fawn types struggle to take up space and express their needs, they are more vulnerable to emotional abuse and exploitation.
A form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group covertly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment, often evoking in them cognitive dissonance and other changes including low self-esteem. Using denial, misdirection, contradiction, and misinformation, gaslighting involves attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim's beliefs. Instances can range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents occurred, to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.
A colloquial term used to describe the practice of ceasing all communication and contact with a partner, friend, or similar individual, without any apparent warning or justification, and subsequently ignoring any attempts to reach out or communicate made by said partner, friend, or individual. Ghosting may be especially hurtful for those on the receiving end, causing feelings of ostracism and rejection. Some mental health professionals consider ghosting to be a passive-aggressive form of emotional abuse, a type of silent treatment or stonewalling behaviour, and emotional cruelty.
Grooming is the predatory act of maneuvering another individual into a position that makes them more isolated, dependent, likely to trust, and more vulnerable to abusive behavior. Applies to any behaviour where a person is prepared so they unwittingly allow abusive behaviour or exploitation to occur later. The abuser typically befriends or builds a relationship with the victim in order to establish a relationship of trust. Although it is a common belief that grooming is most relevant to children, the same or similar psychological processes are used to exploit adults, which typically involves:
A human condition involving focused attention, reduced peripheral awareness, and an enhanced capacity to respond to suggestion. Hypnosis usually begins with a hypnotic induction involving a series of preliminary instructions and suggestions. During hypnosis, a person is said to have heightened focus and concentration. Hypnotised subjects are said to show an increased response to suggestions. Erotic hypnosis sessions may take place face-to-face, over video conferencing or text chat, or through pre-recorded audio files or videos, and may involve suggestions that are to take effect during trance or afterwards, in the form of post-hypnotic suggestions, some of which might be triggered by an action or situation.
A metaphor for a person within a social group who many people know is untrustworthy or otherwise has to be "managed,” and whom they work around by quietly warning others rather than dealing with openly. The reference is to a dangerous structural fault such as a missing stair in a home, which residents have become used to and accepting of, and which is not fixed or signposted, but which (most) newcomers are warned about.
A form of emotional and psychological abuse primarily inflicted by individuals who have either narcissistic personality disorder (NPD, which is characterized by a lack of empathy), or antisocial personality disorder (ASPD, also known as sociopaths or psychopaths), and is associated with the absence of a conscience.
An act of emotional manipulation whereby a person makes a deliberate backhanded compliment or otherwise flirtatious remark to another person to undermine their confidence and increase their need for the manipulator's approval. The term was coined and prescribed by pickup artists.
A type of associative learning process through which the strength of a behavior is modified by reinforcement or punishment.
Psychological and Emotional Manipulation
Psychological manipulation is a type of social influence that aims to change the behavior or perception of others through indirect, deceptive, or underhanded tactics. By advancing the interests of the manipulator, often at another's expense, such methods could be considered exploitative and devious.
A philosophical strategy for responding to conflicts. Transformative justice uses a systems approach, seeking to see problems as not only the beginning of the offense but also its causes, and tries to treat an offense as a transformative relational and educational opportunity for victims, offenders and all other members of the affected community.
A manipulation tactic where one person will not communicate directly with another person, instead using a third person to relay communication to the second, thus forming a triangle. It also refers to a form of splitting in which one person manipulates a relationship between two parties by controlling communication between them. Triangulation may manifest itself as a manipulative device to engineer rivalry between two people, known as divide and conquer or playing one (person) against another.
An informal chain of information passed privately between women. According to Laura Palumbo, communications director for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, whisper networks can serve as “informal information sharing where you're confiding in someone in your circle because you don't necessarily feel the information is safe for you to make public.”
These are his best-known online communities and the ones our stories references most often. This is not an exhaustive list of his online communication channels; he also used private forums.
The Warren Ellis Forum, which ran from 1998 to 2002.
Warren Ellis’s second forum, which ran from 2005-2007.
Warren Ellis’s forum from 2007-2011, nominally but not exclusively focusing on his longform comic Freakangels.