The double-edged sword of second-time abuse

Targets of second-time abuse (or more) more quickly recognize the signs of it, a benefit that can help them more quickly escape the toxic situation. Once they see what's happening, they can detach and put the wheels in motion to build a safety net and remove themselves from the toxic environment.

But the quick recognition can also often mean re-trauma, the triggering of going back to an emotionally painful place — sometimes more severe than the first. Initial abuse generally takes place with family (parents and siblings), at a previous job (likely bosses), or at school (likely classmates).

Issues around authoritarian parenting are common initial sources of abuse. Targets don't feel seen or heard or that their feelings matter, and these feelings crop up again with abuse at work.


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