Everlasting Happiness – What Is It? And How Can We Attain It?

Hessa AlEassa (@Hessa_AlEassa)

Hessa Al Eassa writes to inspire, shift perspectives and make individuals aware of themselves and their potentials. With her creative pieces, she aims to reach the hearts and minds of her readers for them to have a better life. She is highly interested in topics such as psychology, self-help, and wellbeing. She is a dreamer, an optimist and she finds beauty in the little details of life.

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What does it mean to be happy? Is it only the feeling of joy as many of us think? And how can we reach this state of happiness in life?

Artwork by Nouf Bandar Elmoisheer (Instagram: @naufba)

She was awake when all of the other souls were asleep. Her mind was occupied by thoughts that made her feel suffocated. She decided to open the window to inhale some fresh air. She looked throughout the window to see the dark night filled with bright starts, which resembled her inner self that was gloomy but had a glimpse of hope. She closed her eyes and prayed, “I wish I can find my way to happiness in this tough life.” With a believing heart that her prayers will be heard, she closed the window and went to sleep.

All beings are in a constant search for happiness. This quest started long ago since the beginning of life on earth. According to Blaise Pascal “All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.” (Randy Alcorn, 2017)

To understand the reason behind this continuous search for happiness, we need to understand what does it mean to be happy. Many individuals think that happiness refers to the sensation of joy or happy moments in life. However, according to psychologists, happiness is defined as the state of wellbeing and contentment. It is about living a meaningful life filled with deep satisfaction. So how can a person have this deep satisfaction? And what fills individuals with happiness in life?

To answer the above questions, I have conducted interviews with eleven individuals aging from 10 to 50 years old. The understanding of happiness differed from one individual to other. It mostly circulated the concepts of being rich, surrounded by family and friends, being free without restrictions such as work and school, practicing hobbies, and following dreams and passion in life. All of the mentioned sources of happiness apply to many individuals of the society. However, what they are not aware of is the fact that these moments of happiness are constrained by time and dependent on other factors.

For instance, in case of wealth and happiness, according to psychologists, once the basic needs such as food and shelter are met, money no longer adds extra value or happiness to an individual. It may help in having better life experiences by having a variety of options to choose from, but it doesn’t make an individual happier. Some might argue that when they have the freedom to buy anything they want such as a new house, car or the latest iPhone model they feel satisfied and happy. This may be true, however; after acquiring the item that they have always wanted, with time their levels of happiness drop and they will be searching for the next latest model to feel the same level of happiness (Taylor, 2015). The greatest evidence that happiness is not related to wealth is that there are many wealthy individuals who are depressed, and there are many individuals with a lot of miseries yet are deeply happy.

This brings us to the second argument which is that social surroundings bring happiness to one’s life. This statement is true, but what if these social surroundings were not there anymore, how will the individual be happy again? Spending quality time with loved ones is a temporary source of happiness that is dependent on the presence of others, and it fades when they are away. What has been proven by psychologists is that social surroundings affects one’s health but does not achieve everlasting happiness (Umberson & Montez, 2010).

If all of the above-listed sources of happiness are temporary, then what is the real source of everlasting happiness that leads to the state of wellbeing and contentment? According to the Greek Stoic Philosopher Epictetus (Haidt, 2006), “happiness comes from within a person and not from his or her surrounding circumstances.” This means that happiness is created within an individual’s mind. The external factors only “predicts 10% of one’s happiness and 90% is predicted by the way the individual’s brain processes the world around” (Achor, 2017).

Many of us think that we will be happy once we are successful, get that perfect job or marry the person we love. Which is not true, we should train our brain to realize that we are happy now with what we currently have and with whom we are.

Being grateful for one’s blessings and realizing that a person can be happy at this moment, with whatever possessions he or she acquires no matter what is the circumstance, is the true meaning of happiness. Happiness should not be entitled to a future that is not guaranteed, and it should not be dependent on other factors in life. If every individual lived by these terms, then they would reach happiness which is the state of wellbeing and contentment. Say it now to yourself “I am happy at this moment and I am grateful for all of the blessings I have.”


References:

  • Achor, S. (n.d.). Retrieved November 13, 2017, from https://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work/up-next
  • Alcorn, R. (2017). All Men Seek Happiness. Retrieved November 13, 2017, from http://www.epm.org/blog/2013/May/27/seek-happiness
  • Haidt, J. (2006). The happiness hypothesis: finding modern truth in ancient wisdom. New York: Basic Books.
  • Taylor, S. (2015, January 09). Happiness Comes from Giving, Not Buying and Having. Retrieved November 13, 2017, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/out-the-darkness/201501/happiness-comes-giving-not-buying-and-having
  • Umberson, D., & Montez, J. K. (2010). Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy. Retrieved November 13, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3150158/

What Does The Agricultural And French Revolution Have In Common?

Jumanah Salama (@Juma_nah4)

Jumanah Salama (@Juma_nah4)

Jumanah is a Media and Communication graduate from King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Her fields of interest lay in the studies of humanities and through her articles she seeks to create a bridge between sociology and social media.
Jumanah Salama (@Juma_nah4)
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Although thousands of years apart the agricultural revolution and the French revolution are very much similar when it comes to social science.

The Stone Age, a primitive lifestyle long ago where ignorant nomads with long untamed beards dressed in animal fur would hunt with spears and women would devote themselves to childbirth and fruits gathering, right? Well, not precisely. The Stone Age was a period in the history of humanity that was defined by the sophistication and use of tools split into three different periods: Paleolithic (Upper and Lower), Mesolithic, and Neolithic.

The Lower Paleolithic period took place about 2,500,000 – 200,000 years ago with the earlier ancestors to Homo sapiens. In its last 40,000 years, the Paleolithic Upper period took place where humanity had developed tools made of bone, ivory, and antlers, along with simple wood instruments. Other objects were made of narrow stone blades and tools [1]. Scientists believe that the early use of language and cave artwork as a form of expression and passing on knowledge happened during this period [2]. After the last glaciation occurred and ended the Paleolithic period, the Mesolithic period began. It was characterized by gradually domesticizing plants and animals, which later became the core characteristics of the following period.

The Neolithic period, also known as the agricultural revolution, was the latest period of the Stone Age set 11,500-5,000 years ago [3] that transitioned societies from hunting and gathering societies -societies that depended on hunting animals and gathering fruits to survive- to agricultural societies that were able to domesticate animals and harvest crops to survive. This revolution led to the creation of cities and towns instead of temporary settlements, that would usually only be in certain eras for a few months as long as resources where available. It also led to the yielding of crops and subsequently law and coins as a form of money, a medium of exchange, instead of objects.

On the other hand, the French Revolution, an extreme overthrow of the Bourbon monarchy during the late 18th and 19th century, was led by the philosophy of the enlightened such as Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Montesquieu. This revolution was also majorly influenced by the lower classes of society, commoners, and peasants, after a series of fruitless harvests, regressive taxations, and raising resentment towards the aristocrats and the church by the public. The aftermath of this period led to the fundamental change in power by abolishing the aristocratic system and the separation of church and government, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. It embraced science after centuries of conflict with the church, which subsequently upheld the value of reasoning over belief and spiritual adherence.

So, what do they have in common?

The Stone Age and The French Revolution are prime examples of what a social revolution is and how it differentiates from social reforms. Social revolutions are defined by the fundamental change in social structure within a society, so much so that the people in it no longer feel connected to the change in government systems – a shift of power- due to the loss of its legitimacy to the people it governs. The shift in power, the restructuring of societies, and the sophistication of lifestyle are results of a fundamental change in thought as well, whether it was brought on by philosophers or the sheer need to survive. Economic changes can result in social revolutions as well, such as the Chinese Communist Revolution in 1949 that led to a juristic change in the nature of society as well as the ownership of production means and distribution of wealth. Whereas social reforms “seek to change small parts of an existing system, but ultimately keep it in place” –Emily Cummins [4].


References

[1] https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/world-history/world-history-beginnings/origin-humans-early-societies/a/paleolithic-culture-and-technology

[2] https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/world-history/world-history-beginnings/origin-humans-early-societies/a/paleolithic-culture-and-technology

[3] Khanacadmy.org, The Neolithic Revolution

[4] Study.com, the Agricultural Revolution: Timeline, Causes, Inventions & Effects.

How Political Conflict Affects Art

Maitha AlSuwaidi (@maithaAHS)

Maitha AlSuwaidi (@maithaAHS)

Maitha is a 17-year-old student at New York University Abu Dhabi, majoring in political sciences. She is also an athlete in Sharjah Women Sports Foundation and the UAE’s Archery National Team. She holds an undeniable love for reading, whether it is reading poetry, novels or an endless stream of articles. In her journey of finding herself and her voice, she hopes to inspire several people and spread some good along the way.
Maitha AlSuwaidi (@maithaAHS)

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What roles do conflicts and wars play in art? And how can artists be political through their creation of art?

Artwork by Hamda AlMansoori (Instagram: @Planet64, twitter: @planetsixtyfour)

Political conflict has been long affecting people, whether it takes the form of military coups, citizen protests, or inter-state conflicts and wars. Families and individuals face either the dangers of seeking refuge or the exposure to the war in their homes. Countries’ economies continuously deteriorate, governments face vulnerability, and interstate disagreements rise. While we all see the observable consequences following wars in the news, it is evident in history that political conflicts took a toll on the arts, as well.

Many artists who have been exposed to wars resorted to creating art as either a method of defiance or as a coping mechanism. One example is Mona Hatoum, a contemporary video and installation artist. She was born in Lebanon and is of Palestinian descent. The Civil War in Lebanon, as well as the ongoing settlements in Palestine, was portrayed in her art indirectly when she was forced to reside in the United Kingdom during the timespan of the war. Her installations often contained elements that reflected emotions of fear, pain, and unsettlement, and this could be seen in her artwork “Hot Spot” that resembles a globe on fire (1).

Mark Hudson finds Mona Hatoum’s art making eloquent statements not only about the Middle East, but about what it is to be human in the world today

As part of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, art had a huge role in artists’ activism. Jacob Lawrence’s painting “Soldiers and Students” (2) portrayed the violence of white soldiers with African American minors. Another installation that expresses the discrimination against the black race is David Hammons’ “The Door (Admissions Office)” (3).

From Brooklyn Museum, Jacob Lawrence, Soldiers and Students (1962), Opaque watercolor over graphite on wove paper, 22 7/16 × 30 7/16 in

 

From Brooklyn Museum, David Hammons, The Door (Admissions Office) (1969), Wood, acrylic sheet, and pigment construction, 79 × 48 × 15 in

In other cases, political conflict has affected – and still affects – art directly. To give one example, many precious artworks either disappeared or were destroyed during the Second World War. Ernest Ludwig Kirchner, a German expressionist painter, committed suicide after around 600 artworks of his were destroyed during the war in the Degenerate Art Exhibition

in Germany. Vincent Van Gogh, one of the most prominent artists in history, had yet another artwork that was destroyed during World War II. The painting that was destroyed was of Van Gogh himself, and it was called “Painter on His Way to Work” (4).

Conflicts influenced art both directly and indirectly. In return, art played a huge role in documenting history and conflicts. In fact, this effect of political conflict – and historical events generally – on the arts serves today as historical records for those events. In many installations and paintings, historians were able to identify historical data and events, as well as characteristics of particular conflicts. One example is how artworks on the Human Rights Movement in the US portrayed the characteristic that it was a conflict of gaining equality amongst races. Another example is the National Museum of Beirut. Although it was destroyed by the 15-year raging war that began in 1975, it nevertheless serves as a historical account of the brutality of the war in Lebanon today, for it was located in the heart of the area where most of the bombings and attacks took place (5).

Art stands as a witness for the pain and the vulnerability of humankind, as well as a witness for the rage and the destruction created by the hands of this humankind. Nevertheless, this art could resemble beauty, in a way. It is capable of inducing different reactions and emotions in different people, based on their experiences and their own histories with life. I believe that this type of art whispers a message to each individual in its audience. It says: “things might not have been okay in the past, but the fact that you are standing here, right in front of me, all dressed up to see me and surrounded by your loved ones, only means that those struggles are nothing but history.”


References:

  1. Hudson, Mark. “Mona Hatoum at Tate Modern Is One of the Shows of the Year .” The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 3 May 2016, telegraph.co.uk/art/what-to-see/mona-hatoum-tate-modern-review-one-of-the-shows-of-the-year/.
  2. “In Past ShowWitness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties at Brooklyn Museum.” Jacob Lawrence | Soldiers and Students (1962) | Artsy, artsy.net/artwork/jacob-lawrence-soldiers-and-students
  3. “In Past ShowWitness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties at Brooklyn Museum.” David Hammons | The Door (Admissions Office) (1969) | Artsy, artsy.net/artwork/david-hammons-the-door-admissions-office.
  4. “Painter on His Way to Work [Vincent Van Gogh].”Sartle – See Art Differently, 24 June 2015, sartle.com/artwork/painter-on-his-way-to-work-vincent-van-gogh
  5. Wright, Robin. “Beirut’s Museums of War and Memories.”The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 22 Aug. 2017, newyorker.com/news/news-desk/beiruts-museums-to-war-and-memories.
  6. Collins, Judith. Sculpture today. Phaidon Press, 2014
  7. “Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 Nov. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Ludwig_Kirchner.

Take a Power Stance against Corruption

Maryam Almheiri (@inkofhers)

Maryam holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences and Sustainability. From forests to forensics, her upbringing as a reader developed various interests and a passion for learning.

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The world needs to take a step back and stand against a major hurdle to its development: Corruption.

Artwork Miriam Koki (Instagram: @mir_madeart, Twitter: @miriamzk3)

Consider this: 1 trillion dollars and another 2.6 dollars trillion are stealthily put into the wrong pockets every year, the first paid in bribery and the latter stolen through other corruptive means. These figures give corruption the well-earned title of the world’s biggest obstacle against social and economic development (United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 2016).

In its many forms, bribery, embezzlement, lobbying; corruption is a deep-rooted concern in rich and poor countries. The Transparency International coalition defines corruption as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain” (Transparency International (TI), 2017). In its later stages, corruption is severely felt by the more fragile portions of society.

Of course, the fight against the issue is widespread and tangible. But the leniency of some people towards it only contributes to its persistence. Most of us have come across fleeting forms of it, disguised as “help” in middle school tests, or perhaps, a “gift” to driving examiners. Despite the efforts of authorities to end it, corruption finds its way into even the most solid societies through people undermining the significance of their actions.

I am a firm believer of the accumulative effect of the matter, of how a person can grow dependent on it and gradually lose sight of the morale of hard work. But the consequences of a simple act of coin-passing could befall a pedestrian or a patient, someone whose life could be affected by the dishonesty committed by another. The list of impacts is a redundant thing to add. We are all well-aware of how injustice leads to incompetence, to snatched rights, and to inequality.

The pandemic-like scale of corruption makes it one of the main challenges against the development of countries today. It diverts resources from productive uses in sectors of health, education, and research, and disrupts social development. Furthermore, it reduces the legitimacy of decision-making processes as it affects the public perception of the fairness of different operations (World Bank, 2017).

This effect is gauged and measured. A yearly index is conducted by the Transparency International global coalition against corruption to develop insight into the corruption perceived in countries. The index ranges from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean) (TI, 2017). The nature of corruption, the illegal measures and the secrecy involved with acts of it contribute to the difficulty of observation, measurement, and reporting. Although compromised, data resources are results of direct observation or perception surveys (Ospina and Rozer, 2016). The reports, based on the latter, have found the global average to be 43, falling under the midpoint in 2016 (TI, 2017). This indicates that the effects of a stretching wealth gap (wherein the rich get richer and the poor get poorer) are constantly feeding into the cycle of corruption and unequal distribution of power. The rich in fragile countries exploit their power to create more wealth, and the poor will ultimately receive less, be it opportunity or resources, or even the most basic of needs. In a society where filing a police complaint, finding a spot for a child at school, or seeing a doctor is an illegally fined matter, it is those who cannot pay that suffer the most.

Like the World Bank described it, corruption is not a disease that can be eradicated. Unfortunately, it is a “built-in” method of governance in some countries. Reforms should contribute to the reduction of the issue by redistributing power, as does the development process. But perhaps, the collective responsibility to end corruption starts at the individual level. We could be prone to it, and we can be made so. Everyone is susceptible, and maybe it is worth the trouble to stand like a hero a little longer in line.

Louvre Abu Dhabi (@LouvreAbuDhabi) – A Dream That Came True

Dr. Mona Al Ali (instagram: @Monany, twitter: @monabinhussain)

Dr. Mona Al Ali (instagram: @Monany, twitter: @monabinhussain)

Dr. Mona Al Ali works as a museum expert and consultant. She worked as an assistant professor and the coordinator of the Art History and Museum Studies Program at the University of Sharjah.Prior to her academic career, she worked in the museum field for several years. Dr. Al Ali has a strong passion for museums, Islamic history and art. She has written few publications and has been giving talks related to the history of museums in UAE, impacts of social change in museum development, museum and identity, and strategies to attract visitors to museums.
Dr. Mona Al Ali (instagram: @Monany, twitter: @monabinhussain)

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Opening Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi as the first universal museum in the Arab world put the city on the world cultural map.

Louvre Abu Dhabiís exterior © Louvre Abu Dhabi, Photography: Mohamed Somji

It has been almost ten years since the agreements between the two governments (Abu Dhabi and France) to build and open Louvre Abu Dhabi. On November 11th, 2017, the museum opened to the public, and more than 6000 tickets were sold on the first day.

The opening of the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi is one of the most important events of the year at a local, regional and international level. The museum is the gift of the UAE to the world as HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, described it as “a cradle for art and culture”. The idea of the museum comes from the development of different civilizations and cultures. It will enable visitors to walk through the history of the world and allow people to see that we share and are connected by history, culture, and art.

The museum includes a variety of artworks in one place. Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock and Gustave Caillebotte are some of the artists that Louvre Abu Dhabi has on display.  And the newly added Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi which is considered to be the most expensive painting sold by $450M and soon to be displayed in the museum.  The galleries in the Louvre are divided by themes, and this aims to enrich the exchange of ideas and discussions and human dialogue to anyone visiting the museum.

The museum aspires to promote the idea of tolerance and promote the prospects of cultural communication. Not only is the museum important for its artistic and historical monuments, but also the building itself is an architectural masterpiece inspired by the culture and heritage of the UAE. Pritzker Prize-winning French architect Jean Nouvel has designed a museum city (Arab medina) under a vast silver dome. The museum includes exhibitions, a Children’s Museum, a restaurant, a boutique, and a café.  It will certainly attract various groups of society, tourists, and students of schools and universities.

Visiting the museum was a dream that came true.  It was a day to remember, and I personally know people who traveled far and wide to come to Abu Dhabi and visit the museum.  Walking under the dome and listening to traditional Emirati drumming and entering the galleries and looking at famous international paintings and sculptures was amusing and inspiring at the same time.  I believe a one-time visit is not enough and the museum would need more than one visit along with family and friends to give us a chance to discuss ideas and relate objects and answer questions that the artworks ask but do not give an answer to.

As an Emirati museum expert, I was wondering how Louvre Paris and it is collections can be linked to our culture.  I had questions related to the type of the objects that might be included as part of the collection and how it can be interpreted. Only now I understood and I am astonished of the idea of tolerance how it’s relevant to a country where over 200 nationalities live from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

When Certain Comments Cross The Fine Line Of Privacy #thisisabuse (@DFWAC)

Shurooq AlBanna (@Shuroooq)

Shurooq AlBanna (@Shuroooq)

Column: A Moment of Contemplation
Shurooq, an Emarati from Dubai, has been on a journey of self-discovery ever since she shifted career from Science to humanitarian where she found joy. Her interests include traveling and foreign films. Shurooq’s column is influenced by those distinctive moments that give a deeper perspective on life.
Shurooq AlBanna (@Shuroooq)

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Reflecting on the latest awareness campaign #thisisabuse by DFWAC, some of its causes and how to cope.

A side of #ThisIsAbuse campaign by DFWAC https://twitter.com/i/moments/939798286063546368

So, you finally got pregnant after so many years of marriage!”, he said in a demeaning tone. And I was mortified. I had only met him twice before, yet this man had the audacity to openly comment on a very personal decision that I took with my husband. I was surprised that he even calculated how long I’ve been married for.

I never saw this comment coming, but the bitterness it left in me started a domino effect of other hurtful memories.

Not married yet?” asked a curious auntie at a wedding when I was only 25.

Any babies on the way?” asked a colleague one week after I returned to work from my honeymoon.

You should get pregnant fast otherwise your husband will start looking elsewhere”, said another spiteful divorcee.

And the prize for silliest comment went to an acquaintance who curiously asked: “Since you’re getting married in your 30’s, is the groom old or divorced?”. Incredible!

Such people angered me for openly commenting on a personal situation with no prior knowledge or consideration. What gave them the right to pass insensitive comments about other people’s private matters?

The times when I chose to discuss this issue, I was often told to develop a thick skin and laugh it off. But something in me always knew that this behavior was wrong, and I hated that society was normalizing it.

However, over the years, I came to a realization and understanding.  This was a form of abuse that does not leave bruises on the body, but its wounds run deeper and leave psychological damages. This is why I am so touched by the latest campaign titled #thisisabuse by the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC) which sheds light on this behavior.

Let’s call this what it really is: emotional abuse.

For too long, society has normalized this behavior and still does. Some verbal abusers seem to be oblivious to the consequences of their toxic Tongue-Fu. But regardless of the societal condonation or personal oblivion, this is abuse. We must call it what it is, and challenge ourselves to rise above it. As individuals, we must look deep inside our souls to see through what might make us throw daggers of harsh words at others. Could this be a mechanism that we use to mask our deeply rooted insecurities? Do we do this because we want to distract others from noticing our own shortcomings?

Recently, I watched an interview with Dr. Sumayah AlNasser (a life and awareness coach) who spoke about this topic.  According to Dr. AlNasser, this form of abuse is linked to manners and it is saddening that civilized societies allow the conscious abusers to prey on the weak and to pass any comment or question without considering the consequences.  She recommended that when faced with such situations, it is best to immediately put an end to it by answering back: “What’s it to you?” This reply will eventually stop the abuser from such behavior.

Thank you DFWAC for shedding light on this issue.  It’s time for society to hold these abusers morally responsible for their actions.  It’s time for them to realize that it’s not okay to pass hurtful comments that have crossed that fine line of privacy.  It’s also time for those affected to answer back: “What’s it to you?”


For more posts by DFWAC on #ThisIsAbuse campaign, click below.

Emotional Abuse Is Not Acceptable – #ThisIsAbuse (@dfwac)

Hessa AlEassa (@Hessa_AlEassa)

Hessa Al Eassa writes to inspire, shift perspectives and make individuals aware of themselves and their potentials. With her creative pieces, she aims to reach the hearts and minds of her readers for them to have a better life. She is highly interested in topics such as psychology, self-help, and wellbeing. She is a dreamer, an optimist and she finds beauty in the little details of life.

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Many families can be abused without knowing that they are. This article talks specifically about emotional abuse and its effect on the victim.

Artwork by Hamda AlMansoori (instagram: @Planet64, twitter: @planetsixtyfour)

It was 3 a.m. when Latifa woke up from a nightmare that left her out of breath and in cold sweat. She carefully got out of her bed not to wake her husband and newborn baby. She rinsed her face with cold water to cool herself down.

“Did I really age? Are my dark circles that bad? But I only have a couple of white hairs, did my face wrinkle up as he says?” Latifa was questioning her youth at the age of thirty-eight in front of the mirror. “Maybe Majid is right; I am no longer that beautiful young lady that he had first met. I hope my nightmares of him leaving do not come true. I feel anxious all day long because of his harsh comments; I am ashamed of what I have turned into”.

In many neighborhoods around the world, there are families experiencing abuse silently and sometimes without even realizing that what they are going through is a form of abuse. This is because the abuser can be as close as a partner or even a parent. It is important to understand that an act of abuse occurs when an abuser uses violence in any of its forms including physical, financial, neglect, isolation, stalking, sexual abuse and emotional abuse. The main goal of the abuser is to have control and power over the victim. The act of abuse can occur once or as a pattern of behavior in a relationship.

All of the listed forms of abuse have damaging effects on victims. However, according to psychologists, the most destructive form of abuse is thought to be the emotional abuse. Emotional abuse occurs when the abuser threatens violence or abandonment, humiliates, yells, calls names, mocks and criticizes the victim.

This type of abuse doesn’t leave a bruise or a cut on the body of the victim. However, it leaves a very deep emotional scar that can stay for years. Many victims who suffered from emotional abuse report short and long-term effects including low-self esteem and self-worth, feeling of shame, guilt, depression, anxiety and sleep disturbance. The effects of emotional abuse when not treated can stay for a lifetime with the victim, and it may manifest into other psychological disorders such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

According to Julia who has suffered from emotional abuse, she described her experiences as devastating “it’s devastated me, yeah, it had broken me. I feel broken. I don’t, I’ll never be right again.’ And Yasmin who as well suffered from emotional abuse stated that the experience that she went through has left her with a deep scar and whenever she looks into these scars she remembers the entire memory and relives it again.

It is unfortunate to see individuals attacking each other verbally and taking emotional abuse as a light matter. This form of abuse is frequently occurring not only among couples in households but at family gatherings, workplace, and even social media platforms. It is important to understand that these few words that are directed towards others can have an adverse lifetime effect on them. Therefore, be aware of what words you direct towards other and treat others how you would like to be treated.

This article is inspired by DFWAC’s campaign: #ThisIsAbuse


References:

  • Abuse Hurts. Domestic Violence Awareness at The University of Michigan. (2009). Retrieved November 20, 2017, from http://stopabuse.umich.edu/about/understanding.html
  • Emotional abuse: It’s a bigger problem than you think. (2010). Retrieved November 20, 2017, from http://www.domesticviolenceinfo.ca/article/emotional-abuse-231.asp
  • Mathews, A. (2016, September 26). When is it Emotional Abuse? Retrieved November 20, 2017, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/traversing-the-inner-terrain/201609/when-is-it-emotional-abuse
  • Nauert, R. (2015, October 06). For Kids, Mental Abuse Can Be Worse than Sexual, Physical Abuse. Retrieved November 20, 2017, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2014/10/09/for-kids-mental-abuse-can-be-worse-than-sexual-physical-abuse/75945.html
  • Tracy, N. (2017). Effects of Emotional Abuse on Adults – Emotional-Psychological Abuse – Abuse. Retrieved November 20, 2017, from https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/emotional-psychological-abuse/effects-of-emotional-abuse-on-adults/
  • Women’s experiences of Domestic Violence and Abuse. (2014). Retrieved November 20, 2017, from http://www.healthtalk.org/peoples-experiences/domestic-violence-abuse/womens-experiences-domestic-violence-and-abuse/emotional-psychological-abuse-and-effects-womens-self-esteem

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