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How Counseling Can Help a Victim of Domestic Abuse-From Huntley and Elgin, IL

Feb 29, 2008
Domestic abuse is all too common in the world. In almost 20 percent of all marriages in the United States, couples push, shove, punch, pull, hit, or otherwise assault each other.

Emotional abuse,threats, intimidation, humiliation, insults or degrading remarks and controlling,dominating behavior is common. The good news, however is that help is available through psychological and family counseling.

Younger couples are most prone to abuse and violence, and, without intervention, it often escalates in intensity or frequency. Shoving or pushing is the way most violence begins in young marriages.

Spouses frequently ignore early abusive events and rationalize that once the current problems are over, the abuse will end. In spite of the tendency to rationalize away these incidents, its important to remember that even minor acts of violence often escalate over time. This increases the risk of injury and physical harm.

There are various forms of abuse and marital violence. Frequently, a husbands controlling behavior is the wifes first sign that she may be in an abusive relationship. Controlling behavior is often a crucial red flag.

The husband may try to prevent her from visiting or talking to friends or family. He may try to make her feel guilty or afraid if she chooses to engage in separate personal activities or spend time with friends.

Increasing social isolation combined with the infliction of verbal or physical assaults can strengthen intimidation and control. Under these conditions, over time, a woman often feels like a prisoner in her own home.

Abuse takes different forms in relationships. When angry, the husband and wife will often slap or shove each other or call each other insulting names. Often, they are more concerned about their egos, winning rather than losing or not losing face than the abuse itself. Also, most importantly, neither spouse views themselves as being the victim of an abusive relationship.

However, even intimidation and humiliation that is not part of the typical controlling or frightening relationship causes horrendous problems. They can destroy the relationship, lead to legal problems, physical and emotional injuries and have long-term devastating effects on the helpless children who have to witness it. Counseling and psychotherapy can provide valuable help in situations like this.

How can I get help if I am in an abusive relationship?

Remember, domestic violence is a crime; therefore, one important way to get help is to call the police. Your first response must be to protect yourself and your children. The police must be your first line of defense where your physical safety is concerned.

If not in immediate danger, you can also call your local United Way, battered womens shelter, community crisis line or community family services agency. They will let you know which services are available to you and how to access them.

Most communities have spousal support services and and an available battered womens shelter where you and your children can stay. If the violence has not escalated to the point that you fear for your safety, but you recognize that your arguments are not healthy and want to prevent them from destroying your marriage, there are additional options available to you.

Chances are that your community has anger management programs that can be found through your local United Way or community mental health agencies. These programs focus on teaching you the skills to resolve conflict and to handle anger constructively. Support groups found through the same resources can also help you maintain a commitment to living in a nonviolent household.

You may also need to participate in marital therapy. Marital therapists implement expert treatment plans to teach strategies for resolving conflict appropriately. When looking for a therapist, tell him or her about the violence in your relationship and ask about the type of experience and training he has in working with such cases.

Through marital treatment provided by a professional counselor or psychologist, you will be given the tools to eliminate abuse, constructively resolve conflict and improve your relationship. Also, if you decide to leave your relationship, a therapist can help you and your children cope effectively with the resulting changes and trauma. The psychologist or therapist can help you develop your strengths and improve your coping skills.

What to do if a Relative or Friend is in a Violent Relationship

If someone you care about is the victim of a violent relationship, be sure to let them know you care for their well-being, regardless of whether they stay or leave their spouse. Women often stay in violent relationships because of the mistaken assumption that they cannot make it without their partners.

Battered women often feel isolated because they are embarrassed and have no one to talk to with about the abuse. If you notice any injuries, depression or anxiety gently inquire about what is happening and listen with compassion and without judgment. If your friend decides to go for help, make her aware of the resources for battered women in your community and accompany her if necessary.
About the Author
Dr Shery is in Cary, IL, near Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Marengo and Lake-in-the-Hills. He's an expert psychologist. Call 1 847 516 0899 and make an appt orlearn more about counseling at: http://www.carypsychology.com
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