Dare to Create – emotional abuse – the benefits of recovery through the arts


– pixabay.com

Hello readers, and welcome to another Dare to Create article from #ProjectLifeQuality. Your creative corner, where we discuss our topic of the week and you are provided with a suggestion to take away with you.

This will be something designed to encourage, and motivate you to explore your thoughts through the use of the arts. PLQ begins exploring the topic of emotional abuse this week. Today’s article focuses on how to recognise the signs and also how we can help ourselves recover. You’ll find more about this below the challenge, but first, offer to this week’s challenge.


Dare to Create – the challenge

This week, I dare you took try something new that’s also creative. Here are some suggestions.


Source top and bottom left – pixabay.com

The challenge – Do something new!

Not everything you might want to do is free, but with a bit or searching online, it is possible to find cheaper ways to do things – many options are even free, so don’t fret if money is an issue.

Useful tip: Look for voucher codes, use an online marketplace, recycling and free gifting sites like www.helpfulpeeps.com

  • Join a singing or drama group.
  • Redesign your garden.
  • Join an online or local photographic group.
  • Download a new creative app to your phone – mandalas, drawing, music, colouring
  • Maybe you’ve been wanting to learn an instrument. Why not look into how you can do this?
  • Treat yourself to a colouring book and art equipment.
  • Book tickets to the cinema, a gig or theatre.

Please share with us. Don’t forget to tag @projectlifequality #plq.


What does emotional abuse look  and feel like?

Emotional abuse is prevalent within all groups of society. It can be experienced by men and women, children, young people and the elderly.  It’s recognised to be as being as damaging as physical abuse and this is reflected in the UK’s Serious Crime Act 2015, which makes behaviours which are coercive or controlling towards another person in an intimate or family relationship, punishable by a prison sentence of up to five years. You can learn more here.


The summary below which I found at https://www.counselling-directory.org.uk , is very useful too.



Emotional abuse falls into three patterns:

  • AGGRESSIVE: which includes name-calling, belittling, blaming, accusing, yelling, screaming, making threats, degrading insults or destructive criticism.
  • DENYING: this includes sulking, manipulation, neglecting, not listening, withholding affection and distorting the other’s experience.
  • MINIMISING: this can include belittling the effect of something, isolating, accusations of exaggerating or inventing and offering solutions or ‘advice’.



  • Depression or anxiety
  • Increased isolation from friends and family
  • Fearful or agitated behaviour
  • Lower self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Addiction to alcohol or drugs
  • Escapist behaviour

Emotional abuse can damage a person’s confidence so that they feel worthless and find it hard to make or keep other relationships. Secrecy and shame usually maintain the abuse.”


Jerzy Gorecki via pixabay.com


How can we assist our recovery?

In researching for this week’s Dare to Create article, I came across many blogs and studies about the positive and healing changes that can be experienced through participation in the arts. One example comes from an online document by the Start initiative. Start is an arts-based mental health service, in Manchester, UK and is part of the local Mental Health and Social Care Trust.

C30F8FB2-4B69-4BE0-82F1-8CB4FDE2AB59– Start, Manchester MH & SC Trust

Their team of artists work with Occupational Therapists. Activities provided enable service users to experience the powerful benefits that the arts can bring.

But why is creativity so important? 

This is how Start describe creativity.


F8DD5999-83F0-4C87-9E28-A59D464EA2EB– Start, Manchester MH & SC Trust

But what if you don’t think you are “naturally creative” or hate the idea of painting or drama for example? Personally I’d run a mile of if it was suggested I try acting! Well I have good news, everywhere gathered in the studies shows you don’t even need to be hands-on to feel the benefits. An example Start gives in their document entitled The Importance of Creativity for Health and Wellbeing – Evidence Base for Start, complied by Wendy Teall and Tamzin Forster, says that a person can feel improvement by just appreciating a piece of beautiful art. Imagine that! And by practising creativity, it will improve our well-being and general health by building many of our most essential skills, such as those below.



– Start, Manchester MH & SC Trust

Imagine how useful it would be to develop these skills, as a survivor recovering from abuse! Pretty inspiring, isn’t it?


– Start, Manchester MH & SC Trust


Further reading

You can read more about Start and the science behind it, if you follow the link below.



Be the person you want to be!


Rebecca Goldthorpe

PLQ Creative Coach and Journalist

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