Domestic Abuse

Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. Whether you’re the abused or a concerned friend or family member, it’s important to know that help is available.

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Domestic Abuse FAQs

What is gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse and manipulation where the victim is made to doubt their own perception of reality, even their own sanity. The abuser could be a romantic partner, an employer, or anyone in a position of power. To sow doubt and confusion in your mind—and gain more control over you—the abuser may tell you that you’re making things up, forgetting what really happened, or acting crazy and irrational. This can make you question your feelings and memories, damage your self-esteem, and lead to mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
What is verbal abuse?
Verbal abuse is a form of psychological and emotional abuse in which one person uses words to frighten, humiliate, bully, or control another person. It can occur between romantic partners, friends, family members, or in the workplace. An abuser might use insults, gaslighting, name-calling, criticism, or even threats of physical assault. Even if the abuse never becomes physically violent, it can have serious long-term effects on you. If you experience verbal abuse, you’re at risk of developing issues such as depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. You might live in constant fear of your abuser and wrestle with feelings of guilt, shame, and hopelessness.
What is a toxic relationship?
A toxic relationship is one that diminishes your sense of well-being and leaves you feeling undermined, threatened, or unsafe. Perhaps your partner’s constant insults or controlling behavior make you feel disrespected and worthless. Or maybe they hold grudges and pick fights in ways that leave you feeling constantly stressed or on edge. It’s also possible for a relationship to become so demanding and codependent that you begin to neglect your own self-care. A toxic relationship can lead to social isolation, depression, and an overall decline in your mental health.
What is couples therapy?
Couples therapy is a type of psychotherapy aimed at resolving conflict and improving the quality of a relationship. The therapy sessions could be aimed at broad relationship issues, such as communication or household finances, or focus on more specific problems, such as infidelity, verbal abuse, or sexual dysfunction. Having the input of a therapist can shed fresh insight onto your problems, mediate sources of conflict, and improve relationship satisfaction—for both partners. Couples therapy can take place in-person or online.
What are the signs of emotional abuse?
Signs of emotional abuse include nonphysical methods of shaming, demeaning, and threatening you, or attempting to control your behavior. An emotionally abusive person might try to gain power over you by isolating you from friends and family, using verbal threats to frighten and intimidate you, or other nonviolent methods to damage your self-esteem. Experiencing emotional abuse can leaving you feeling humiliated, violated, and alone. It can also trigger depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.