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A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life

How Abuse Victims Fall Apart Psychologically (Decompensate)

Abuse victims fall apart psychologically (decompensate) in stages. The victim first denies the reality of imminent danger with a stubbornness bordering on the psychotic. When this defense against the reality of the situation fails, the victim tends to lose control of themselves and give up. As other people fail to help them, the victim feels given up on and enters a state of resignation. Finally,as all sense of a different future disappears, flashbacks of past trauma occur and the victim enters a state of complete surrender. This is not easily breached without outside help or getting a lucky break. Victims who are coerced into behavior that violates their moral code may be at the greatest peril.
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