Abusive relationships are painful, isolating and confusing. You may have tried everything to please your partner, but the criticism and blame continue. You may have spend your energy trying to anticipate your partner's demands or expectations. You may have reached out for help from friends or family, only to find they really didn't understand what you are going through.
A great deal of my therapeutic work has involved working with women and children who have experienced emotionally or physically abusive relationships. I believe that survivors have incredible strength and resources. Working collaboratively, we will explore how the abuse affects your feelings and prevents you from achieving the quality of life you want. If you have children, we will look at how your partner may have undermined your parenting and we will work to deepen your relationship with your children.
I have witnessed the transformative power of therapy to help women and children regain their self confidence and move forward in healthy, positive ways.
Relationships That Hurt
Am I in an Abusive Relationship?
What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is an escalating pattern of abuse where one partner in an intimate relationship controls the other through intimidation, violence, or the threat of violence. Unfortunately, domestic violence occurs in all areas of our society. It affects all ages, all races, both sexes, all cultures, all religions, all professions, and people from all income levels.
Domestic violence is not about one partner having a problem with controlling their anger. Domestic violence is about power and control. People often think they aren’t in an abusive relationship because there has been no physical violence, but domestic violence includes emotional or psychological, verbal, sexual and financial abuse.
Types of Abuse
It is not always easy to identify domestic violence. The following list does not encompass all types or tactics of abuse but provides a variety of examples. Also, it is not necessary for a person to identify with all, or even several of the examples in order to be in an unsafe situation. Recognizing abuse is the first step to getting help.
Physical abuse occurs when one person uses physical force or the threat of physical force to intimidate, injure or endanger another person. Physical abuse encompasses many different thing, including: pushing, choking, hitting, throwing things, reckless driving, restraining/holding you down or threatening/assaulting with a weapon.
Sexual abuse can be defined as any situation in which you are forced to participate in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity. Treating you as a sexual object, controlling contraceptives, forcing/withholding sex or forcing you to watch pornography all can be considered sexual abuse.
Psychological or emotional abuse can be verbal or nonverbal. Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, humiliation, ridiculing valued beliefs, name-calling, blaming, and shaming; and nonverbal abuse may include behavior such as isolation, destroying important possessions, threats to injure children or family pets, intimidation, and stalking. Survivors often report that emotional and psychological abuse is just as damaging, if not more, than physical abuse.
Financial abuse is another way an abusive partner may try to gain control over you. Financial abuse can take many forms including preventing you from having a job, denying your access to family funds, restricting you to an allowance, demanding your paycheck or making you account for every dollar you spend.
What You Should Know
Realizing you are in an abusive relationship can be frightening. Victims often think they can control their abusive partner’s behavior by doing exactly what their partner asks. But, victims have absolutely no control over their partner’s abusive behavior, despite their partner’s promises. The only person who can stop the abusive behavior is the abuser.
It is important for survivors to realize the abuse is not your fault. You don’t deserve to be abused. There is help. If you are in an abusive relationship and want help to get out safely, there are many local organizations who can help you develop a plan to escape safely.
Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence- 800-562-6025, 8am-5pm everyday
Lifewire- 425-746-1940 or 800-827-8840 24 hours a day, Lifewire.org
Dawn Rising- 425-656-7867 24 hours a day, dawnrising.org
Teen Dating Violence- 866-331-9474, LoveIsRespect.org- call, chat or text 24 hours everyday
National Deaf Hotline, 855-812-1001 (videophone) or firstname.lastname@example.org, 9am-5pm M-F