Healing requires attention to moral damage and moral injury.
Moral injury can occur when our ability to maintain a good moral character has been compromised by the circumstances of an oppressive or dangerous condition, such as intimate partner abuse (IPA). In some cases, a survivor of IPA experiences a loss of agency over their life that can lead to behaviors, albeit self-protective, that conflict with their moral beliefs. It’s this moral harm that can contribute to the survivor feeling a deep psychological anguish of shame and guilt that makes up a moral injury. In trauma recovery from IPA, tender attention to the moral injury is critical to helping survivors fully heal.
Intimate Partner Abuse
One partner in an intimate relationship who uses psychological coercion to gain power and control over the other defines intimate partner abuse. Whether or not physical violence is present, psychological coercion can be accomplished with threats, intimidation, verbal and emotional abuse, gaslighting, imposed isolation from family and friends, restricting access to finances, and monitoring behaviors outside the home.