I am often asked if I have a niche or specialised area I work with, and although I really enjoy working with clients with a wide range of issues, I would say I have a particular interest or passion around the issue of abuse. Whether that be historical abuse and helping a client look at how to make sense of that and finding ways to cope with what happened to them, or current abuse that might be happening now.
There are many different types of abuse, including physical abuse, child abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. An area I have recently focused my research and training in is the subject of emotional abuse and the insidious and calculating ways that manipulative and controlling people use various tactics to suit their own agendas and get their needs met.
Life can be extremely confusing if your boss, friend, partner or parent is; underhanded, backstabbing, deceptive, lying, conniving and lacks empathy. When a victim first seeks help for their emotional distress they usually have little insight into why they feel so bad. Someone might seek counselling because they are feeling depressed or have a low self esteem and feelings of insecurity, not realising that these feelings may be linked to a relationship with a manipulative person. The more I study this area the more I appreciate how widespread the problem of manipulative and controlling behaviour is, and the unique type of stress and abuse it can bring to a relationship, and how it leaves the victim feeling.
A victim of emotional abuse might; have anxiety issues or depression, doubt their perceptions of events and often feel confused and second guess themselves but they have no idea why, they struggle to make decisions or trust their gut instinct, they feel like whatever they do is never good enough, they worry that they are too sensitive, they wonder why people seem to walk all over them, they can’t seem to say no to others, and they know that something is wrong but they can’t explain what it is. This is because covert abuse can be so sneaky that the victim may not realise that the reason they feel this way is because someone wants them to feel this way.
I have quickly discovered how unaware most people are of these types of people and their behaviours, mainly because these things are not taught or spoken about. We know about psychopaths because we hear about them in the news, documentaries and films. But how much do most people know about narcissists and the unique type of abuse that narcissists inflict on their victims. Who teaches us how to recognise and deal with them effectively. The concept of narcissism and narcissistic abuse is not mainstream knowledge and it needs to be. Many people are living under the cloud of narcissistic abuse and don’t even know it.
Let me ask you these questions:
How would you describe a narcissist? Would you know how to spot one? Do you know about the unique type of abuse that narcissists inflict? Would you recognise the signs of narcissistic abuse? Would you know if it was happening to you or someone you know? Do you know all the different covert tactics that manipulative people use to meet their needs? Would you know if it was your friend, partner, parent or boss? Did you know that you could learn about their tactics in order to protect yourself from future abuse?
So do I have a counselling niche?
I guess I would say yes, the area I am particularly interested in working in is with anyone involved in a toxic relationship, and adult children of narcissistic parents.
Perhaps the manipulative abuser in your life was a parent, and you are now an adult child of a narcissistic mother or father. Did you know that abuse from a narcissistic parent doesn’t stop when we are no longer children? Did you know that if you are in a current relationship with a narcissistic parent, you may well be experiencing abuse without even knowing it? And did you know that abusive parents become abusive grandparents?
I consider part of my role at Hopeful Heart is to teach as many people as possible about the tactics these individuals use and how you can identify and thwart their attacks so you can start to control how you respond to them, put a stop to the emotional abuse you might be experiencing, and even start the journey towards a new life that’s free from emotional abuse.
My dream would be to stop all abuse from ever happening but of course I know that is not possible. Wouldn’t it be lovely to wave a magic wand and make it go away. So I guess the only thing I can do is try and make a difference in my community by making sure the right people know there is a new counselling service in Littlehampton that offers help in this specialised area. And I can keep talking about this subject to raise awareness, and I will be writing and teaching these subjects through regular blog posts and videos.
I know from personal experience how life changing and liberating it can be when you finally discover that the way you felt about yourself was actually caused by being in a relationship with a toxic person. Once you understand that the negative thoughts and feelings you had been carrying around with you for most of your life were deliberately put there by someone else, you can hand them back and start to learn a new way of living your life.
Realising that someone we love might have abused us can come as a shock and it can be very painful. I could help you explore this and come to terms with it. At Hopeful Heart, I can help you create a change for the better, regardless of your past, and help you overcome limitations that are holding you back. Together we can look at ways that you can shape a brighter future.
If any of this sounds familiar to you and you would like to explore it further, please do get in contact and I look forward to hearing from you soon.