International Women's Day: Invisible Trauma

The theme for International Women’s Day this year is #BreakTheBias


Today, I like to talk about a slightly different type of #bias that women face, and that is the invisible wounds that women experience when they suffer from psychological, mental and emotional distress resulting from a toxic and detrimental relationship with an intimate partner. Typically these wounds lead them to suffer from mentalhealth issues such as depression, anxiety or complexPTSD.


In my practice, I have seen women who belong to this category where their psychological and emotional pain is not quite taken as seriously as a physical and sexual assault. As far as I know, currently there’s no legal protection for them in Singapore. Please correct me if I am wrong.


Of note will be those who suffer from NarcissisticAbuse.


"Narcissistic abuse is a form of emotional abuse perpetrated by someone who suffers from narcissistic personality disorder. These individuals have a tendency – whether conscious or unconscious – to use words and language in manipulative ways to damage, alter, or otherwise control their partner’s behaviour."


The bias that I hope to break is that society will recognise these invisible wounds as valid, and actions and steps will be taken to move towards a judicial system that is #inclusive of them.


Many of the survivors that I have worked with have expressed their desire to create a greater awareness to educate women, young and old, of the warning signs of a detrimental relationship. I have written an article on it and you can read it here:

Do share it with those you know who might benefit from it.


I also wish to acknowledge the strength and resilience of these women who have overcome such painful experiences. Some manage to recover and form healthier relationships while others are still triggered and fearful to commit to new relationship.


Do you know of woman who have shared their heart-breaking stories and how they rebuild their trust in themselves after being gaslighted and blamed for a long time? If you have been through such process yourself, know that I see you and you’re not alone. We celebrate your strength today. Seek help if you need to so that you can flourish again.


To break the bias, it is imperative that we model what a healthy relationship look like to our children, learn to break the negative #cycle ourselves, create #dialogue and sharing of information on how to build a strong and resilient relationship.


Happy International Women’s Day! May we recognise the biases that we have within ourselves, be courageous to confront them and take necessary actions to change and grow, and build the society that we want to see for our children and their children.