Abuse In Relationships

Abuse in relationships is very destructive for everyone in the family unit.  Males and females abuse and coming to see a counsellor for this issue can pose many challenges; including feeling safe to disclose, the fear of exposing the abuser, anxiety, panic, or even traumatizing to reveal your story.  Abuse in relationships often begins in subtle ways and escalates over time.  You may “feel like” you are going crazy,  suffocating, or walking on egg shells in your relationship.  Maybe you’ve been treated for anxiety or panic attacks, or even been hospitalized.  Perhaps addictions are rooted in the abusive behaviour.   You may be suffering from anxiety or panic attacks.  You may feel that you won’t be heard or believed.  Whether it is physical abuse – social abuse—emotional abuse – sexual abuse – financial abuse – spiritual abuse or psychological abuse, there is a way out.  Abuse is about power and control and abusers use a variety of tactics to manipulate you to exert their power over you.

Dominance
Abusive individuals need to feel in charge of the relationship. They will make decisions for you, tell you what to do, and expect your compliance or obedience…no questions asked. You may feel like a possession, a child, a servant.
Humiliation
Your abuser will make you feel inadequate, defective or worthless. If you believe you are worthless, you will not leave. Insults, name-calling, shaming or public put-downs are designed to erode your self-worth.   You are left feeling powerless.
Isolation
To increase your dependence on him or her, your abuser will cut you off from family, friends, social activities, and cut you off from the outside world. You may have to ask permission to do anything. Jealousy contributes to this control.
Threats
Threats scare the victim into staying. Your abuser may threaten to hurt you, your children, your pet, a friend. S/he may threaten to commit suicide, file false legal charges against you, threaten you with abuse charges or child removal.
Intimidation
Intimidation tactics are used to scare you into submission. Threatening looks or gestures, smashing things in front of you, destroying property, hurting a pet, or putting weapons on display; the threat of violence to scare you into silence.
Denial/Blame
Abusers excuse the inexcusable. They blame their abuse on a bad upbringing, a bad day, or blame you, the victim, for their abusive/violent behaviour. They may minimize the abuse, or deny it occurred. It is your fault or someone else’s.

Summary:  Abuse can happen to your mother, father, wife, husband, child, teenager, sibling, friend, colleague or boss. The problems of abuse within a relationship happens too often and is still often overlooked, excused or denied. The first step to stopping the abuse is to acknowledge that it exists, and then work to end the abuse. Abusers pick and choose whom to abuse, when and where, to stop the abuse when it benefits them.   Violent abusers direct their physical blows where they won’t show. No one should have to live in fear. Too many abused victims believe that help is not available to them. They feel they do not have a “voice”. Reaching out is the most critically important first step to getting out of the abuse. Use your voice and exercise your right to seek help.