Domestic Abuse and Therapy

Domestic violence can happen to people who are dating, married, or living together. It can affect anyone regardless of gender, age, or sexual orientation. But it’s never too late to live a happy life again.

What’s domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse refers to behaviors that harm or arouse fear to the other partner. It can be physical, sexual, emotional, or even psychological. The common behaviors can include manipulation, name-calling, making threats, etc. They are meant to prevent the other party from doing what they want. Unfortunately, some individuals are afraid to report to the authorities when this problem arises. Others remain hopeful that their partner will change. But this rarely happens – the behavior may get worse with time.

How to deal with domestic abuse/violence

According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, women report the highest cases of domestic violence. Statistically speaking, one in every five women will face some sort of abuse in their relationship. Men can also be physically assaulted by their intimate partners. But because the abuse is based on societal ramifications, people should know what to do if they find themselves in such situations. Once you leave the violent relationship behind, the obvious step is to move beyond the emotional damage.

Cut off communication

This may be the hardest part of the relationship. While you’ll often feel the urge to contact your abuser, this can do more damage than good. Since domestic violence is all about abuse, once you leave, the abuser loses control. So if you contact them, you’re simply allowing them to regain control.

If you suspect the victim can gain control, you’re encouraged to change the phone number or block them. You should do the same in all social media accounts to ensure there’s no communication.

Domestic violence therapy overview

You don’t have to live with emotional scars of sexual abuse. In most cases, this can lead to substance abuse, post-traumatic disorder, or even depression. The first step to the healing process is to seek counseling from mental health professionals. They offer helpful tools to help you maneuver through difficult situations.

You can also join a group therapy where victims share their stories. The results can be even better if a mental health professional is leading the group. Generally, the victims are encouraged to seek other support avenues like taking a class at local college, volunteering, or join a neighborhood book club.

Approaches commonly used in domestic abuse therapy

Mental health professionals use different approaches to work with victims of domestic violence. The most commonly used method is talk or psychotherapy. In the early stages, a therapist will listen to your concerns and validate your case. Once a trusting therapeutic relationship is formed, a therapist will understand the effects of that abuse. A more experimental approach is used but medication can also be prescribed.

Why should you hire a therapist that specialize in domestic violence?

Since domestic violence is largely dehumanizing, many times the victims are terrified. Some are left anxious, fearful, and completely feeling worthless. These negative behaviors can lead to dissociative disorder, self-harm, eating disorders, etc. The sooner you seek treatment, the faster you’ll recover from the effects of abuse.

What to look for in a domestic abuse therapist

If you’re a victim of domestic violence, you might find yourself struggling to move forward in a healthy way. What if you don’t get a therapist from your area? Well, other health professionals can be helpful. But the most important part of the therapy session is to establish trust. Look for someone you’re comfortable talking with. You don’t have to suffer alone.

What happens to the children?

It’s estimated that 60% of children that live in homes with domestic violence exhibit behavioral or emotional problems. That being said, it’s important that you support your children. Researchers also believe that children are likely to be physically or emotionally abused. Men who insult their spouses tend to use negative parenting practices like displaying anger towards the kids. If you allow the kids to stay in such kind of a family, they are likely to be abusers in the long-run.

If there’s a dispute on child custody, both parents should go through a formal custody evaluation. The evaluators will examine closely the relationship each parent has with the child. If the parents can’t agree on co-parenting, then the court can intervene on the way forward. A mediator can determine where the children will live and who should make the most important decisions. Needless to say, a lawyer can offer legal advice on all custody questions you may have. While there’re many situations to explore, each situation should consider the interests of the child.

Don’t forget to take care of your health

While counseling will help you restore your mental health, you should not neglect your physical health. You may be surprised anxiety and stress can negatively affect your physical health. Worrying too much can also disrupt sleep patterns or increase blood pressure. Don’t allow this to wreak havoc your life. Instead, practice things like meditation or Yoga.

The diet will also contribute towards your recovery. You should consume foods rich in omega3 like nuts and fish. If you can’t find these foods, omega-3 supplementation can be helpful. Don’t forget to eat well-balanced meals to ensure you keep the blood sugar stable. Also, avoid alcohol and substance abuse as it tends to exacerbate the feelings of depression.

Another way of regaining your health is by exercising. When you work out, the body releases endorphins and serotonin (good-feel hormones) which enhance your mood. Experts recommend that you allocate 60 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week.

Don’t be afraid to move on

Once you heal, you engage in a romantic relationship again. But before you take this important step, you should know how a healthy relationship entails – it’s based on mutual respect, honesty, and trust. The last thing you want is to find yourself in another violent relationship. If you’re looking for a long-term relationship, you must be sure of the qualities of the person you’re looking for. But this doesn’t mean that you should just focus on the relationship alone. Remember, you have friends and family too.

When you meet a new person, don’t rely on first impressions. More specifically, look for the red flags of the relationship like insecurity. Just take a few minutes and reevaluate how your partner treats you.

Healing from the effects of domestic abuse takes time but with the right emotional care, you can enjoy a healthy life again.

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