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Crushing impact of emotional abuse

I salute Mary Kenny's recognition of the curse of domestic violence (Monday, July 24), both on a national and international scale.

She has obviously never been the recipient of emotional abuse, however.

The claim that protecting people from this type of abuse amounts to treating them like children is completely wrong, in my opinion.

The harm inflicted by an emotional abuser can last well beyond the healing of a broken arm.

The initial criticisms made by a previously charming, fun, and attentive partner (or other acquaintance: fill in as suitable) may not at first be taken too seriously; we all have our faults, after all.

When these seemingly light-hearted comments increase in frequency and spread to criticisms of friends and family, alarm bells should ring. In truth, though, they rarely do.

When criticisms become more personal, and possibly physical, and controlling behaviour becomes more frequent, it is time to take action.

At this stage, though, the emotionally abused has been so undermined and over-criticised that self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth are probably rock bottom.

So, please, Mary Kenny, do not further undermine the abused by claiming that supporting and caring for emotionally abused people is "belittling women's independence and autonomy".

I agree that women need to be empowered; this is done by protecting, supporting and helping them, not, however, by reducing their emotional suffering to child's play.

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