The Characteristics of Great Adoptive Parents


Adoption is a topic that has mixed thoughts and opinions surrounding it. Some people only see the great aspects of such as giving people the change to have a child and have a family, and giving a child the love they deserve and giving them a second chance at life. However, there is a dark side to it that not many people know about, and that is how the adoptive child might feel later in life. It is a situation that not many people talk about and it should be spoken about. Not everyone is cut out to be a parent, and that extends to adoptive parents too.

The Effects Adoption

No one truly knows how a person feels when they are processing their adoption, and why they were adopted in the first place. Some children are blessed to be away from dangerous and irresponsible people who would put the child in harm’s way and neglect the children, while others have to face a long battle of accepting that they were not wanted by their birth parents. Unless you have been there, you can imagine how that much feel. But please do remember that empathy is always welcome. Yes the children are placed in great homes with great families, but sometimes it might not be the best fit.

Characteristics of Great Adoptive Parents

Let’s not get it wrong, adoption is a wonderful thing that gives children an opportunity to a wonderful life. There are just some characteristics the adoptive parents need to develop to make the life for the children easier, and better. There characteristics are:

  • They need to be expressive and accepting of emotions
  • They need a sense of empathy
  • They need to openly listen to their children and respect their thoughts and feelings
  • They need to be open communicators
  • They need to maintain their roles as a parent even in trying times
  • Constantly working on their relationship with the child
  • They need to have a sense of humour
  • And finally, unconditional love for all their children

I Am Not a Mistake

I Am Not a Mistake is a foundation that offers great support for people who are experiencing suicidal tendencies, who are battling with depression, who are struggling to deal with their adoption and helping those who are suffering abuse. Visit their website to see the work that they do and see how you can help.

Forms of Abuse Common to South Africa


For certain sects of the South African population, abuse is a commonplace part of life. And while more is being done each year to spread awareness of the problem, there are still limited solutions and safe-havens for its victims. When the conversation of abuse is on the table, the mind generally jumps straight to domestic violence; especially to woman and children. There are, however, many other forms of abuse, some of them subtler than others, and because they are often not recognised for what they are, their victims rarely speak out about it. So to open up discourse with regards to these often unexplored areas, lets discuss the most common forms of abuse in South Africa.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a form of abuse that has persisted in our country despite the substantial amount of discourse surrounding it. The victims of this type of mistreatment are often women and children, however they are not its exclusive sufferers. Domestic abuse can come down on men too, who might be unwilling to speak out against it out of embarrassment or fear. Because of this, there is no way to accurately determine just how widespread the problem is, making the national goal of overcoming abuse a difficult task indeed.

Abuse in Schools and the Workplace

Abuse doesn’t only happen behind closed doors, but can be found in schools and workplaces all over the country; except that when it happens outside of the home, it is given a far less severe term, bullying. This can come from bosses, teachers, co-workers or fellow students; and is often dismissed as relatively harmless. However, the mounting results of consistent mistreatment can be direr for the sufferer than most people care to admit to. Again, this type of abuse is not limited in terms of gender, age or race as it is often dealt out to victims indiscriminately.

Racism, Sexism and Tribalism

While sexism and racism have been persistent obstacles for South Africans, in receiving the most attention, there is already a lot of awareness surrounding these topics; they do, however, still occur (and members of all races and genders are guilty of it). Tribalism, on the other hand, is growing in severity and destructiveness as time goes on, and since plenty of attention is often given to sexism and racisms, it never gets the discourse it needs to be brought to light and dealt with accordingly.

The Social Injustice Warriors and the Spiral of Silence

The social injustice movement that speaks out against racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination have been good in theory, and have opened up discussions surrounding many abuse-based problems. However, the approach has been a double edged sword. Those who are from sects that were once considered victims consider themselves free from the consequences of displaying the behaviours they themselves fight against, since it is for a good cause, and in doing so, make victims out of those that they feel represent the problem. When doing this, heritage, culture, gender and wealth are proof enough for these social injustice warriors to take ‘action’ against people who genuinely have no need for retribution; making victims out of them while also making them look like they are in fact the problem.

Contact I Am Not a Mistake Foundation for Support

These types of abuse are common enough in our country, and the only way to lessen the problem is to meet it head on. If you, or someone you know is the victim of any of these forms of abuse, know that there is help and support out there. Contact the I am Not a Mistake Foundation today, or visit our website to find out more about how we can support you.

Identifying the Symptoms of Depression


Depression is a serious medical illness that negatively affects how one feels, the way one thinks and how one behaves. It can be caused by various factors including sorrow, alcohol or drug use, money concerns and potentially many other factors. Symptoms of depression are multifaceted and often vary from one person to the next, but generally they affect one’s emotional, social and physical ability. Though some might find it hard to believe, by seeking the right assistance you can combat your depressive illness and achieve positive mental health again.

Signs of depression can include:

  • A lack of motivation and reduced energy – for instance, little or no motivation at work or at home. A lack of confidence, concentration and reduced self-esteem
  • Amplified irritability – becoming annoyed at minimal situations and taking it out on those around you
  • Lack of interest in everyday life – for instance, not wanting leaving your home and wanting to be alone regularly
  • Feelings of hopelessness – continuously feeling defeated and trapped with no way out
  • Sleeping issues – insomnia is a common symptom of depression as it is likely that you are unable to switch off from any negative thoughts. Sleeping long hours is also a common side effect
  • Change in appetite – either a decrease or increase in eating patterns which will inevitably bring about weight loss or gain
  • Considerably lower mood – frequent crying, feelings of anger, lack of trust and the inability to be positive are common symptoms
  • Negative thoughts relating to family, friends, and life in general, at times. Suicidal thoughts are a common symptom of depression, should this be the case please seek help straightaway
  • Resorting to alcohol or drugs as a way of dealing with depression. Excessively consuming large amounts of alcohol or drugs will in fact obstruct recovery and could cause further problems, such as addiction, anxiety and financial constraints
  • Receding from social situations – not part-taking in friend or family activities, forgetting responsibilities and decreased social communication are common symptoms

Depression becomes a serious illness when the victim starts to develop more severe symptoms. Those who are victims of this depressive illness will, in most cases, find it very difficult being in social situations and can struggle finding positivity.

Although sometimes feeling sad is a common emotion, depressive illness is a recurring condition and can have problematic consequences such as a decline in self-esteem, motivation and processing abilities. In some cases, if depression is untreated, it can lead to even more severe mental health issues, thus treating the issue at an early point is vital.

What are the emotional symptoms of depression?

Depression can have a significant impact on your day-to-day wellbeing, and you may experience some of the following emotional symptoms of depression:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Feeling tearful and emotionally tired
  • Feelings of extreme guilt
  • Confusion
  • Feeling sensitive and vulnerable

Although it may be hard for you to believe, you can overcome your depression by receiving treatment. The treatments most commonly used are cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which is a type of psychotherapy, and antidepressant medication. Both are proven to be successful in combating depression.

Just as a patient sees a doctor about a physical illness, a psychiatrist will look at your symptoms and explore how they have developed.

The I Am Not a Mistake Foundation aims to create a safe environment: providing counselling and assistance to depressed people, as well as adopted, suicidal and physically & emotionally abused people who have been in similar situations. You can trust us in the knowledge that we have true life experience. At the I Am Not a Mistake Foundation, we know how to deal with what you are going through. We are all survivors.

The Most Common Types of Abuse


Unfortunately, several types of abuse are far too common in different forms of relationships. Forms of abuse typically are seen in domestic partnerships, however, abuse is also common between elders and their adult children. Regardless of the age, gender, socioeconomic status, education or ethnicity, just about anyone can become a victim of abuse. Understanding the various forms of abuse can allow you to identify them and thwart the abuse as soon as possible.

Types of Abuse

There are several different types of abuse recognised. Forms of abuse include:

  • Emotional/Psychological abuse

Emotional abuse is probably the most common. It comprises any behaviour designed to hurt another person mentally. Emotional/psychological abuse includes yelling, threatening, shaming, humiliation and shaming, among other devices.

  • Financial abuse

This kind of abuse is often seen together with other forms of abuse. Financial abuse is when one person controls access to money from another. This type of abuse includes actions like cutting off access to bank accounts, controlling where someone is allowed to work and preventing access to financial information.

  • Physical abuse

This form of abuse exhibits the most noticeable signs. Physical abuse is also known as domestic abuse or domestic violence when it occurs within intimate relationships. It is classified as any physical act or threat of a physical act designed to hurt another person physically. This includes actions like slapping, punching, hair-pulling and kicking. Physical evidence such as bruises isn’t necessary for the act to be deemed physical abuse.

  • Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is typically perpetrated against women although men can be victims of sexual abuse too. It includes any unsolicited sexual act forced on the victim. This form of abuse is also often characterised as sexual assault or rape. Sexual abuse can include anything from non-consensual touching to forced intercourse or forced sexual contact with another person.

  • Verbal abuse

Verbal abuse is generally a form of psychological abuse. This type of abuse happens when the antagonist uses words and body language with the intent to hurt another person. Verbal abuse includes put-downs, name-calling and unreasonable criticisms.

  • Spiritual abuse

Spiritual abuse revolves around a person’s spirituality or religion. This form of abuse includes negatively targeting another’s belief system, refuting access to a house of worship or forced involvement in a cult.

  • Neglect

Neglect occurs when a person fails to provide for the basic needs of one or more dependent victims he or she is responsible for. Basic needs include adequate and appropriate food, shelter, clothing, hygiene, and love or care. The idea of neglect presupposes that the neglectful person is capable of being responsible in the first place. For instance, it is neglect when an employed parent fails to care for their child adequately. It is still neglect when a parent is unable to provide for their child despite their best efforts due to extreme poverty or illness, but the neglect is perhaps mitigated by the circumstances. Neglect can only happen to dependent persons. For this reason, it most typically involves children or dependent elders who are not taken care of properly by their families or caregivers.

All forms of abuse are illegal, although some are harder to prosecute than others. Many of these different types of abuse are also perpetrated against children and teens. Becoming aware of the forms that abuse can take helps you to be better prepared to recognize such behaviour as abusive. Once you are able to label abuse, you can begin to take steps necessary to stop it from happening or repeating.

For detailed information on child abuse and the types of child abuse, get in touch with the I Am Not A Mistake Foundation. Here, Nelie Olivier (a recovering victim of abuse, depression, adoption, and suicide) will be able to assist you with your trials and tribulations regarding these issues through the I Am Not A Mistake Foundation. With her expertise and the support of the I Am Not A Mistake Foundation, your life can be saved and directed towards a more positive and happier way of life.

Truth About The Silent Treatment


The silent treatment is literally a non-visible way to inflict pain without.

Research has shown that the same area of the brain that is activated by physical pain is activated when one is ignored. The way couples interact and treat each other during the bad times determines how strong the relationship will be. The best predictor of divorce isn’t whether a couple fights (arguments are inevitable) but how a couple fights. In many situations people use the silent treatment as a response, one of dignity and grace, which is often seen to be taking the ‘high road’. However, research is proving that silent treatment could have the complete opposite intended effect.

Furthermore, research has uncovered that excluding and ignoring people, such as silent treatment or giving them the cold shoulder, is used to punish or manipulate and people may not realize the emotional or physical harm that is being caused.

The ability to detect silent treatment or being given the cold shoulder is hardwired in us. This means that the pain of being ignored is registered internally, whether it is coming from an individual or a group of people. The initial pain is the same, whether it is from a stranger, a close friend or an enemy. Silent treatment activates the anterior cingulate cortex which is the part of the brain that detects physical pain.

In relationships silent treatment can cause serious emotional and psychological problems and it decreases overall relationship satisfaction and intimacy within couples. This results in a reduced capacity to communicate in a way that’s healthy and meaningful.

It’s an incredibly hard pattern to break because it’s easy to get away with and an accusation of the silent treatment can easily be denied. It’s powerful and is therefore a weapon of choice in many arguments.

However, it is important to note that silent treatment should not be confused with taking a moment to cool down after difficult or heated exchange. The best thing to do is to try and say I can’t talk to you right now, but we can talk about it later.

Silence can feel like you are taking the high road and it may seem like a dignified response but it’s not. It’s a way to inflict pain but without the physical marks. Being ignored is just as powerful.

Visit the I Am Not A Mistake website ( if you or someone you know is suffering from abuse.



For me, I always knew I was different, and throughout my life I tried to find out what this causing this “empty feeling of not belonging”

You might have read part of my story on my website, but I want to explain what I had to deal with!

(Again, I place on record that not everyone deals with this issue the same way – so please this is my story).

For me a multitude of emotional feelings arose when my adopted mother finally after 42 years admitted that I was adopted.

  • Not only did I have to deal with the grief that I was lied to my entire life

As an adult to hear “We did not want to raise you with a stigma!!”

  • I was screaming at her “I AM A STIGMA”, you all knew and “keeping a secret” is just another way of lying!!!!!!
  • I was ill treated by family members and could never understand why???
  • I had to, since childhood, gear myself up against my perpetrators by acting that I do not care and constantly making sure that I do not show any emotion whether it be scared or hurt.

You see what Adopted parents never think about is that the family (who was supposed to keep this secret, did just that), but made it clear on so many occasions that you do not fit in – you are not blood.

My question, how do you as a child face and protect yourself if your “parents” are living the lie and in denial.

My answer – you have no idea, but something inside me gave me directions on how to deal with them.  (and that “something” was called survival”) only later that I understood it was FEAR based.

If this did not happen to you, I am so glad for you, but I had to endure years of being treated like an “outsider” and this made me angry and changed my personality forever.  You see when you are being abused, you become the abuser (story for another day).

Let’s get back to the time at 42 when the “Flood Gates” were opened and all the information I had to deal with came out – this was the day something died inside of me.

  1. My Adopted mother told me she did not want me because they had just adopted my brother!!!!!!!!!!!

Well done mother – I feel so wanted now – more than ever; and your explanations that you looked at me as your own – bullshit! – your version of events for sure does not make sense (did not want you but saw you as my own) AWESOMENESS!!!

  1. She proceeded to tell me that I was 4 months’ old when they collected me at the Princess Alice Adoption Home. Where the staff told her upon handing me to my FATHER (as he held on to her precious boy) and I quote “She is a real Tiger!!!!!! – I was so sad, how can a baby of 4 months old be called a “Tiger” I asked her did you stop for a minute to ask them what they meant by that – to which she replied no they just had to sign a lot of papers and then we went home.  I was held by her brother in the back of the car.


  1. Proud she proceeded to tell what a “quiet” child I was, as I never cried (huh)


  1. She told me that she would not even realize I was awake in my cot, for hours, as I kept myself busy


Ok here I have to stop!  I am a mother, I gave birth to my only daughter, and this to me was neglect in the highest form.

Take note, she gets a new baby – not picking me up and holding me – she gives me to her brother – and clings onto her baby boy.  Great to hear!!!!!


  1. As she proceeded to tell me that I did not want anything to do with her until I was about 1!!!!! I asked her what did you do about this mother, I was a baby, to which she replied “your father agreed to raise you”!! Wow the rejection is just piling up inside of me.


  1. I had to deal with the fact that I was seen as a “bastard” (in those years) because my biological father was English and my mother Afrikaans – so this again was held against me.


  1. I lived a lie and I felt stupid that I did not press harder (looking back at the multitude of times I did try and get the truth from my mother)



  1. I was denied my cultural background (you see I had so much “English” in me, that I never fitted in with the “very Afrikaans” upbringing), now it was clear why I was so rebellious of nature (besides just being angry and unwanted) – because I wanted that side of my personality to come out! I now know why I was different as I did not share the same DNA.


  1. Behind closed doors, I embraced being more open and more outspoken than my entire family put together at a party. But again, I was told from early days that I should be more “prim and proper” – which I obviously did to impress my mother and to make her love me more, (because I knew since childhood she did not love me and we did not have a bond.


Since that day in 2006 the feeling of abandonment and not being good enough for my adoptive parents increased but also, I then started wondering about my biological mother.

  • Why did she reject me?
  • Why did she give me away?
  • What is the story behind what makes me, me?


My adoptive mother did ask me if I wanted to know who my biological mother was and I said no.  (This was a straight up lie in her face, but I truly did not want to hurt her) – as she made mistakes with me but all in all she did take care of me.

So, I contacted one of my best friends, a private investigator and I found her!  I kept onto her file for weeks and then one day I mustered up enough courage to phone.  The voice on the other end was me (my exact same voice) It took a couple of seconds and I asked to speak to ……. her reply was “Sean Ray I have been waiting for this call for years”.  (Needless to say, I cried because I felt home and I felt a connection) just to get my hart ripped out seconds later.

She proceeded to tell me this story of her being “date raped” etc.  they came from a very “well to do family” and my biological father was English and she was 16.  She explained that she had to wear a Corset to hide the fact that she was pregnant and asked me if I had any damage…… Oh yes, I did, I had problems with my legs since I could not crawl and when I started walking my father saw my knees and legs were not “forming” the way they should (he spend thousands to rectify this)

She told me that only her sister (which is still alive) has any knowledge of me, and that she is married with 2 children.  The boy only 3 years younger than me.

(Wow you threw me out like trash, only to have another child three years later???)

During the entire conversation I became more rejected and the feeling that I am not worth being alive – as I was tossed away by one and the next one also did not care too much about me.

But I told you guys I worked on a defense system and it kicked in.

Lying to her and telling her it is fine, just wanted to know some details on my birth, medical history and who was my biological father.

She answered all the questions and before saying goodbye she pleaded for me to not ever try and contact her as she told her husband she was a virgin when they got married.

(Must be honest I was laughing because I was picturing in my head how stupid he must be because a woman giving normal child birth like she did – the evidence is there) – but I left it.

There I was rejected, hurt, angry and confused and then I decided that I was going to find out more from the Department of Social Welfare.

Well, another shock for me was underway but having the appointment made me feel that I could obtain proof and I am a very logical person, so I was looking forward to familiarizing myself with WHO I AM!

I met with an amazing woman and she took time to explain what I might “experience” going through the “details” of my file.

(must be honest, for me at that point I just wanted time to read the file.

Before I commence, please understand I was adopted in 1965 – so before you start attacking me – I have the proof of how they dealt with Adoption in those years.

  1. Vital information was not to be found. Which left me with a greater feeling of loss and sadness.
  2. The circumstances surrounding my case was horrific!!!!!
    • Those years no human contact was allowed between the staff at the Princess Alice Adoption home. Yes, they did bath us, dress us, put us on our side, bottle in the mouth (supported by a nappy) and then while lying in that position, we were “burped:
    • I was horrified – I had no human contact for 4 months – then was given to a “mother” who also did not have any interaction with me – it all beginning to make sense.
    • I carried on holding back the tears as I read my file and how the social workers checked up on me for some time.
    • I learned that I was not adopted immediately – as I was first in “Foster Care: – which means that my “adoptive mother and father” were unsure about their choice.
    • I was legally adopted in September 1966
    • Then I picked up a piece of paper and I still have a copy: DELIVERY NOTE from PRINCESS ALICE ADOPTION HOME – signed by both my adoptive parents.


Well if I ever felt like a “nothing” this was confirmation as I have the proof that I was dealt with like a “cell phone” not a human being. My hate and anger turned me into a very bitter and very confused person.

I left and made copies so that I can confront both parties again.

Having confirmed how “unwanted” I was, I respected both parents and their wishes for many years, but sometimes, even going to a doctor for an appointment would trigger all those hurtful memories and feelings.

Until 2016 when I decided that I am done trying to hide the pain, humiliation and the feeling that I do not belong and I am so unwanted that I confronted family members, the same uncle that held me in the car that day said and I quote “You could be grateful that they wanted you!!!” – whaaatttt grateful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They should be grateful to have had the opportunity to have me; remember – they COULD NOT HAVE KIDS.

(needless to say, he is not my family anymore)

My father who had Alzheimer’s died in 2013 – and I looked after him and he died in my arms. He was 80 years and 5 days old.

My Adoptive mother, is 84 and has severe dementia and I am looking after her still today.

My biological mother sent me an email in November 2016 to come up with a completely different take on the first version of her “date rape” – as it now was consensual sex – but because I kept in touch for 10 years only on her birthday and to wish her Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,  she felt it necessary,  after I begged like a dog,  to just see what she looks like (as for 10 years she never even send me a picture of what she looked like) to send me an email which is so hurtful and telling me that if I want her to recognize her as her daughter she will lose everything and her family will never forgive her.

I wrote back and I still have the emails, but to me she died 21 November 2016.

I told her in my email that I am her child, she was not a surrogate (as she now claims), but that she had to explain her lies to God one day.

I am done feeling rejected over and over and over – so I set her free and she can live with this lie until her dying day.

I harbor no ill feelings towards anyone anymore – they’re not going to steal my life anymore.

My perception around my Adoption is

  • Everyone involved was lying to themselves and was either feeling guilty because they had to give the child away and the other party was ashamed because they could not conceive. Either way the “STIGMA” they all talk about is the CHILD.
  • What Adoption agencies were back in the day was disgusting to say the least! How could you be a trained social worker and nurse and not hold a baby and give love to make them feel wanted and secure and not scared and alone in the world.
  • The way I was treated taught me to rely on myself because everyone throughout my life had an excuse for their part.
  • I do not ever shift blame when I make the wrong choice/s, I have to live with the consequences so from me to you all – deal with your part in this and do not come up with the poor excuses you do because you make me sick.
  • How could you justify the paperwork – this is harsh and for a person to see and read that it does not make for a warm fuzzy feeling in your heart – you actually have the proof that you are seen as an “ITEM” and not a person.


I sincerely hope that the system has changed.

People who adopted children, I am not sure if there is ever a good time to inform your child he/she is adopted.  My personal feeling on this was that my adoptive mother and father should have informed me at 21.

My advice is being very honest, open and careful how you handle this matter, because we (adoptees) already have the knowledge that we are different from the day we are born.

We are indeed special children of God – because God wanted us and He gave us all the tools – just sad for me I used the tool of Satan, being fear, and that almost cost me my life.


Lots of love

Nelie Olivier


Is Mental Illness a Condition or a Reaction?


Depression and anxiety disorders are becoming commonplace in our world, with more and more reported sufferers each year finding it difficult to combat their debilitating effects, and choosing to rely on medication to keep their minds clear and quiet. In many cases, medication is the only answer to this serious problem, but in this day and age it is getting more difficult to tell if sufferers are in their positions due to their mental and chemical composition, or if it is the very nature of contemporary life getting in the way of their happiness. I myself have fought a battle with both anxiety and depression, two crippling afflictions which can get in the way of your daily tasks, livelihood and relationships. Though being otherwise (relatively) sound of mind; I had to ask myself what the root of my troubles really was.

What is Depression?

Depression is often associated with sadness, which in all honesty is not exactly true. The symptoms are more like an overwhelming sense of apathy, the feeling that nothing in this world is worth your care. Sufferers often feel so indifferent that getting out of bed seems a pointless task. As you could imagine this is a slippery slope since that uncaring attitude is expressed towards careers, relationships and even personal health.

Depression as a Condition

Depression often comes about as a condition, that is to say that the sufferer cannot help it. Even when life is going well, they struggle to see the bright side of things. Chemical imbalances are generally the cause of this, and so too can diet and lifestyle. The tricky thing about depression, is that it feels like laziness, which means that the sufferer is often unaware of their own symptoms, and therefore take no action to alleviate their symptoms.

Depression as a Reaction

On the other hand, we live in a world where we are constantly overwhelmed by work, relationships, social obligations and many other factors that put pressure on our lives. If not dealt with, these factors can add up to form an overwhelming sense of demoralisation, often festering into eventual depression.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety on the other hand is characterised by an oversensitivity to events, or more specifically, the potential outcome of events. Fear of the future dominates the sufferer’s thoughts which generally jump to the worst possible outcomes as a certainty. This irrational fear can be crippling in all aspects of the sufferer’s lives, who generally take a flight-or-fight response in any given situation.

Anxiety as a Condition

Anxiety is not always something that the sufferer can help since the hardwiring of their brain causes it to overcompensate in terms of neural firing. This is one of the reasons why anxiety is often coupled with alcoholism or drug abuse, which may alleviate symptoms by slowing thoughts down, but essentially adds to the problem later.

Anxiety as a Reaction

Anxiety has become so common in modern life that it is often misdiagnosed as simple stress, and while a little stress is good for you, anxiety can be very destructive. A deep fear for just about any action you can take will lead to frustration, more anxiety, unproductivity and may even result in depression. In such cases, a healthy and active lifestyle comprised of careful time management is often an excellent solution.

Contact the I am Not a Mistake Foundation Today

Do you (or someone you know) suffer from each of these conditions? Are they getting in the way of living a normal and productive life? If you ae seeking personal counselling and therapy to assist you through these difficult afflictions, contact a representative from I Am Not a Mistake Foundation today, or visit our website for details.





I have personally experienced both (giving and receiving) the silent treatment.

I also have a lot of people that I deal with that did not even see that “silent treatment” is a severe form of mental and Phycological abuse.

My definition of this is:   A way to inflict pain without visible bruising and to punish or manipulate the person/s

Research has shown that the act of ignoring or excluding activates the same area of the brain that is activated by physical pain.

The sad truth is that people may not realise the emotional or physical harm that is being done. Because they do not have the knowledge of the mental state of the person they are subjecting this kind of treatment of.

The ability to detect being ostracised is hardwired within us – it doesn’t matter if you are being ignored by a group, a loved one or a person you view as maybe an enemy.  The truth is the pain is still registering, leaving you feel powerless, frustrated and very angry.

Giving the silent treatment is extremely damaging to any and all relationships. It decreases relationship satisfaction for both parties, diminishes feelings of trust and intimacy, reduces the capacity to communicate in a way that’s healthy and meaningful.

Another shock is that this is an incredibly hard pattern to break!

When people become locked in this “silent treatment”, the damage can be both emotional and physiological which can include anxiety and aggression as well as various other problems (health e.g. bowls etc)

The silent treatment should not be confused with taking time to cool down after heated or difficult exchange of words.

I would like to suggest that instead of reverting to the silent treatment, try to set clear statement that “I am not able to talk about this now, if it is in order can you give me (and then give the time frame) and we can discuss it then.

Nobody engages the silent treatment expecting it to damage the relationship, and that’s the danger.

Generally, it’s called on as the weapon of choice because it’s powerful and it’s easy to get away with. There is nothing subtle about a physical or verbal lashing, but an accusation of the silent treatment, ‘Are you ignoring me?’ can easily be denied.


There is a saying, “Silence is golden” – but please do not confuse the term.

Silence can feel like a dignified, high road response but it’s not. It’s a way to inflict pain but without the physical marks.

Being noticed is so close to being loved, that sometimes they feel the same.

Being ignored is just as powerful and make you feel powerless, invisible, insignificant and this can lead to frustration and anger.

  • Mental abuse is not normally seen by anyone on the outside looking in because they see the abuser as a strong, calm, caring and sincere person and will not be able to see the true character behind the person in front of them that they think they know so well.
  • Do you really know the person standing next to you?
  • “If they do not use their hands to physically abuse then it isn’t abuse.”


  • It is abuse to ignore someone’s needs emotionally and make them feel worthless, depressed and will cause long term damage so much so that in many cases it can lead to the victim’s physical health being harmed.
  • To deliberately cause harm to someone by use of the silent treatment, deny a person any emotional care, deny them any praise, starve them of love, affection, compliments, positive feedback, to regularly reject, degrade and deny a person any emotional responsiveness and to ignore a person’s needs is mental abuse or also known as psychological abuse. It is repetitive abuse that’s aimed at controlling, diminishing another person’s wellbeing in order to hurt, punish, harm or control them.
  • The silent abuser is able to switch himself/herself off emotionally to the pain and suffering he/she is causing his victim and will deny he/she is the problem and he/she may tell himself/herself or others that he/she is the victim.
  • You stop being a victim when you become the abuser!



  • The abuser is capable of closing down all reasonable sense of emotions and turn into a cold heart very fast as he/she withdraws into his/her own world without any care for his/her victim’s distress.
  • The abuser will behave in society charming, calm, happy, he/she will be seen by others as a pillar of society, gentle natured, helpful, kind, caring and fool the outside world into thinking he/she is abused and his/her partner is the abuser.

This is classic of a mental abuser. They will have their partner labelled a mental case whilst he/she plays the victim and saint and makes him/her the subject of every ones’ rejection by labelling him/ her with an unbalanced mind.

  • The true victim will be further rejected not only by his/her abuser but also by his/her friends, work colleagues, family and others he/she is likely to meet.
  • The abuser needs to feel in control and he/she will seek constant approval from those around him/her and convince them that he/she is the true victim. They will offer him/her advice and he/she will feed off their pity which will make him/her feel even more in control as he/she plays the victim.
  • The true victims may withdraw from all social activities, work, stop seeing family, they stop being fun, will see everything in a negative light, stop eating which is the start of dangerous health issues, cry alone, send text terror messages as a means to fight back which only gives the abuser more ammunition to abuse him/her with as he/she will use that as a further excuse to ignore and make him/her look bad in front of others. The abuser will happily share the text messages because he/she wants everyone to see him/her as the victim. The true victim will stop functioning on all levels as the mind games take over his/her life. He/she will find it hard to think of anything else but what is happening to him/her. The victim will fight with his/her own mind and struggle to work out if he/she is being abused or is he/she truly the problem. The victim may start behaving irrationally from the stress caused by the mental abuse.




  • Mental abuse is not normally seen by anyone on the outside looking in because they see the abuser as a strong, calm, caring and sincere person and will not be able to see the true character behind the person in front of them that they think they know so well.

Out of all the abuse I suffered (I am female), the one part of the abuse I have always struggled with is “being ignored” and made to feel I was in some way, the problem. When I begged for the abuser to stop he didn’t listen and when I sought help, no one listened. The more I was ignored the more it built up an extreme and unlikely intolerance for being “ignored” which has stayed with me as an adult.

  • I grew more intolerance to the ugly side of human nature that often sees many people misuse the silent treatment to harm others. Some justify this behaviour and kid themselves that it’s in some way an honourable stance to take. Ignoring someone briefly when done to express dissatisfaction is very different to the silent treatment. To ignore someone as a regular means to punish, hurt or upset someone as payback or for whatever reason, is in my opinion and the opinions of experts to be considered, one of the worst forms of mental abuse that exists in human nature. It causes irreparable damage to a person’s mind and will see the victims behaviour change slowly but noticeably when it’s out of control, especially by others who are close and on the outside looking in. There are times the abuse continues and the victims show now outward signs to those who are close while the mental abuser witnesses the dramatic and extreme behaviour change in a direct response to his/her mental abuse in the “silent treatment”.
  • The silent treatment is a form of punishment and control and the person using it to harm another, feels a lack of care, responsibility or remorse and cannot or will not communicate as she/he watches the victim slowly deteriorate. Someone who was once a lively, happy and fun person to be around turns into a whole new personality and becomes withdrawn, reclusive or maybe verbally aggressive to the abuser in a vain bid to stop the abuse of the mind. The person dishing out the “silent treatment is FULLY aware of the damage they are doing and they are FULLY aware that all they need to do to stop the abuse is to simply talk to the victim. The abuser will not talk to the victim when in control mode and when he/she does he will constantly lead the victim into a false sense of security at leisure, only to ignore again.


  • The abuser will provoke any situation with silence which inevitably triggers off the victim who can never work out what has happened to warrant more silent treatment. Each time the victim finds himself/herself fighting desperately with the abuser in a vain bid to stop her/him giving the silent treatment all over again. It’s a “catch 22” for most when dealing with a narcissistic personality.
  • The victims behaviour can change so dramatically he/she is hardly recognized as being the same person. Every time the silent treatment begins the victim is pulled further and further down and the abuser sits back and carries on with daily chores, blatantly ignoring the victim whom is obviously so distressed that no normal thinking individual person could or would sit back and watch such a shocking display of suffering. The victim may withdraw completely, stop talking i.e. friends, stop socializing, stop eating, start drinking, stop working, start text terrorism against the abuser as a defence mechanism of protection but it never works, suicidal thoughts, self-harm and that’s just a few of the side effects of a victim suffering from mental abuse.
  • The “silent treatment” otherwise named as “deliberate intent to ignore” or “ATCH” which means ‘absent to cause harm’ which is where an abuser completely cuts the victim off and the abuser will not budge. They often acknowledge in their own minds that the victim is suffering but do nothing about it, walk away and simply ignore it.

(The latter is a very dangerous form of mental abuse.!)

  • I have often heard stories of men/woman ignoring their partner, even after causing such distress that he/she has taken to self-harm or attempts to take his/her own life. The mental abuse has weakened him/her once strong mind into a nerve wrecking display of self-doubt and depression. The abuser will hear his/her calls of desperation and he/she will empty himself/herself of all emotions and walk away. He/she will show no emotions as he/she tries to take her own life. He/she will convince themselves that they deserve it for hurting his/her feelings by trying to fight back.
  • It’s not often friends get to witness the mental abuse of the systematic silent treatment or mind games from a partner because it is silent. In some cases, friends will witness erratic behaviour of the victim but can’t quite understand what’s going on because the victim will blame everything but his/her abusive


partner. It is rare anyone on the outside of the relationship sees the suffering of the victim as the abuse often like most forms of abuse stays “within the immediate relationship”. The male/female abusers’ friends will only see their charming friend who they all love because he/she will do anything for them but seldom do his/her friends or family witness what he/she is doing to his partner. They will only see the abusers’ partners displays of distress especially when triggered in a public place or social gathering.

  • The “silent treatment, ignoring or “ATCH” abuser is fully aware of their actions and fully aware they are causing a significant amount of harm to the victim in most cases but there are those who do believe they are the victim. The victim may at times have the odd outburst in front of others or in a public place. The abuser will then inform his/her family of every little thing his victim/partner does as he seeks refuge in their company and portrays himself as the victim in need of support, because he has a totally “maniac” partner who’s lost the plot. He/she is then seen as the wonderful soul who is good enough to tolerate such a manic person in a relationship.

This form of mental abuse is used by both the man and woman. Men especially suffer more as they feel they have to remain silent because they do not want to be seen as emasculated. 

  • Eventually once the victim has been totally broken down by the mental abuser, he/she will give up fighting back, beg for forgiveness and beg the abusive partner to forgive him/her. He/she may well go to the extremes to try and make it up to him/her because he/she has been slowly drawn in and is now under his/her mind control.
  • The man/woman will continue to use this method of mind control and ignore, use the silent treatment or ““ATCH”” tactics until his/her partner has been totally exhausted, feels totally helpless and it opens him/her up to being controlled just so he can get what he/she wants.

Sadly, this form of abuse has seen the deaths of men and woman who self-harm or taken their lives when their cries for help are ignored by the abuser. It can be a consequence of the action.

  • Self-harm – deliberate cutting or mutilation of one’s own body including ripping hair out, stop eating, stop going out, withdraw from society, cut off hair, stay in bed, over eat or attempt suicide.

The reason I am touching on this subject is because I have seen a number of men/women email me on Facebook and through my website, who are going through this right now with their partners or they have just left such an abusive relationship and sit in silence blaming themselves.

I also want to touch on this subject because I am a survivor of domestic abuse, and I myself have gone through the mental abuse process and contrary to what people believe, it is not easy to leave such a controlling relationship.

Regardless of the circumstances, mental abuse and the negative power of the “silent treatment, being deliberately ignored or the “ATCH” abuse is never the less very damaging for those on the receiving end and needs to be addressed by either the abuser entering therapy or for the victim to leave the situation.

If the abuser recognizes the signs they have to seek help from a professional.

The victim must seek professional help to get out of such an abusive relationship before he/she is so worn down it will diminish his/her life slowly but surely.



Nelie Olivier

For more assistance, please do not hesitate to contact I am Not a Mistake Foundation


*ATCH         :        “deliberate intent to ignore”

Nelie Olivier

Help | Message


This is my blog, my name is Nelie Olivier from I am not a mistake foundation. Reaching out to those in need, who want to re-create their lives.

I have a story to tell, but more than that, I have a mission to reach people that need help!

I am sharing my story not to get sympathy from people, but to let people know that no matter how dark your world seems to be, there is always hope. You just need to keep knocking on as many doors as you can find. The right one will open, and I have come to realize after a very long journey that you will Find God waiting for you behind that door!

It took me over 50 years of feeling rejected and unwanted and lied to by the people closest to me.


  • Adoption
  • Depression
  • Rejection
  • Living a lie
  • Hate
  • Anger

Can lead to a person feeling so hopeless that dying is your only option. But GOD has the only say over your life!!!!

I can testify that I am a suicide survivor – as well as I trusted once – IN GOD and here I am today to tell you my story.

My full life story is on my You Tube Channel – I AM NOT A MISTAKE FOUNDATION, This channel has a variety of videos, from inspirational videos to videos with a little more about my journey as well as the projects that I am not a mistake foundation is currently undertaking.

Be sure to subscribe today!

You can also read my story on the Nelie Page on my website.

Good news, You can also find us on the following social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus and Linkedin

See you there!


Show Buttons
Hide Buttons