MANILA -- Abusive relationships aren’t just about black and blue bruises and blood. A person can also be victimized through the unseen and often overlooked wound — psychological abuse.
Actor-singer, Marlo Morter, wrote the song "Racing Waters," with this in mind.
"Racing Waters," which he released on Friday night, is the fourth composition he finished during the enhanced community quarantine.
Mortel said he offers the song to all those “who have experienced mental abuse in any type of relationship.”
“I wanted to create awareness that this kind of relationship exists and caused people to suffer,” he said.
Unlike physical abuse, which is easily recognized, psychological abuse often goes unnoticed by close friends, family members, and even by the survivor him/herself.
The American Psychology Association (APA) defines psychological abuse as “a pattern of behavior in which one person deliberately and repeatedly subjects another to nonphysical acts that are detrimental to behavioral and affective functioning and overall mental well-being.”
While the APA said there is presently no universal definition that has been formulated, it has identified: verbal abuse (yelling, name-calling, insults, ridicule, etc); intimidation and terrorization; humiliation and degradation; exploitation; harassment; rejection and withholding of affection; isolation (from friends and family); and excessive control, as tell-tale signs of emotional or psychological abuse.
Experts also said gaslighting or the attempt to make a person question his or her sanity, is another sign of abuse.
In a study conducted by Rachel Goldsmith and Jennifer Freyd in 2005, the researchers found that sufferers are unable to identify the mistreatment as a form of abuse.
The data suggested there was a mutual connection between emotional abuse and alexithymia or difficulty identifying and processing their own emotions.
“Hopefully, the song can help someone who is trapped in this toxic kind of relationship,” Mortel said.
Experts believe psychological abuse can be just as detrimental as physical abuse. Moodiness, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension, body pain, muscle tension, low self-esteem, social withdrawal, insomnia, and development of mental health problems, are among the effects survivors may experience.
“Fighting daily battles in your mind because of a poisonous relationship is never OK for it has never been love if you are made to feel worthless. Never feel less. Save yourself and reach out to those who truly care,” Mortel wrote on his social media account.
Psychological violence is punishable by Philippine law under Republic Act 9262 or Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act (VAWC).
According to VAWC, psychological violence refers to “acts or omissions causing or likely to cause mental or emotional suffering of the victim such as but not limited to intimidation, harassment, stalking, damage to property, public ridicule or humiliation, repeated verbal abuse and mental infidelity. It includes causing or allowing the victim to witness the physical, sexual or psychological abuse of a member of the family to which the victim belongs, or to witness pornography in any form or to witness abusive injury to pets or to unlawful or unwanted deprivation of the right to custody and/or visitation of common children.”
Perpetrators may face a minimum imprisonment of six years and 1 day to a maximum of 12 years, a fine amounting to 100,000 to P300,000, and “mandatory psychological counseling or psychiatric treatment and shall report compliance to the court.”