We offer Abuse Counselling here at You Call We Listen, we have professional counsellors ready to take your call who specialise in helping Men and Women who are victims of Abuse.
If you are unsure if you are in an abusive relationship or are being abused but not sure what to do then speak to one of our professional abuse counsellors we are here to listen to you and guide you on the road to a happier life.
One of the most asked questions in a couples’ counselling session is: “Is my relationship considered abusive?”. The question is a simple one to ask but a much more complex one to answer.
Any relationship can, at some point, have the potential and the circumstances surrounding it to become an abusive relationship. Abuse isn’t something that can be grouped by age, class or gender, so the point in which we can say “Yes, your relationship is abusive” is a hard one to determine. Stress and pressure can lead to verbal or physical abuse, if one partner doesn’t feel like the other is truly involved with the relationship, this can lead to more abuse down the line. You can of course, become irritated in a relationship and lash out to the person nearest to you, but that doesn’t have to mean abuse. We will take a look at what we mean by abusive in the following sections.
Characteristics of an abusive relationship
When it comes to an abusive relationship, the number one aspect is control. When you can see that one person is controlling the other, doing something to change and control their behaviour. Changing their behaviour by force is abusive, so is changing their behaviour through manipulation. One of the main things to be aware of is that abusers have been or are usually victims of abuse themselves, which can trigger this loop of abusive characteristics in a relationship.
Relationships can be considered abusive when abuse comes from a pathological background that can lead to the abuser undermining their partner. As time goes on, and the partner is undermined constantly, they can begin to feel a feeling of worthlessness and in time, that can lead to them becoming dependent on the abuser or on other members of their social circle as they have no confidence anymore.
It’s not uncommon for a partner in a relationship to be forceful – or at least more forceful than you would expect. This can be a problem as if their needs are not fulfilled within the relationship, they can become abusive. The abuse can seem to be just the partner acting more forceful than usual, but it slowly starts to surface that it is something more serious. Common areas that abuse can show up in is the partner becoming jealous or insecure. Often these characteristics arise from an intense need for love and affection, however, the end result is usually painful and causes a lot of destruction in the partners’ lives.
Is your relationship abusive?
There are many symptoms or indications of an abusive relationship:
- Physical violence including suicide threats to one or more people.
- Ignoring or falling out with a partner
- Controlling the behaviour of one or more people.
Abusive relationships are usually progressive and start off as normal relationships, before spiralling out of control. Usually the needs of one partner escalate to new heights and those of the other seem to diminish and not really matter. Abusers themselves are needy and controlling and if they feel like they are inadequate, they will abuse their partner, trying to bring them down in order for the abuser to feel better. One of the key things is that the abusers themselves see themselves as victims themselves, be it from other behaviour or from past experiences and therefore blame that on their abusive actions. This can be a loop that both members of the relationship fall into and it just continues. Origins of abuse are often based on a need for love, the thought of being abandoned, very low to low self-esteem, isolation of various degrees and drug or alcohol abuse.
You also see that anger, jealousy, the need for power and inability to respect other people’s needs are all aspects of abuse and are shown to various degrees by abusers. Whereas on the other hand, traits that appear from the abused include low confidence, a need to be dependent and low-self esteem. A partner whose needs have never been acknowledged in the relationship and/or are not seen to be valued, then this can lead to abuse.
Abuse isn’t normally the main reason for couples’ counselling, but there are exceptions and it can help in some cases.
What issues can counselling address?
With couples’ counselling, it can help to see if the relationship in question can be called abusive, or if it is just unbalanced in the way it works, either by one partner or both partners. If an abused person is looking for some help, then individual counselling is the way to go and can help them recover or get them away from their partner’s abusive behavior. Another good way counselling can help is to allow each partner to feel worthy again, to restore their self-esteem and reintroduce them into ways to talk and relate to each other. Counselling has a wide area of help available but it does depend on the situation that a couple may find themselves in, that can determine what help they can get. A particular trait you see in abusive relationships is that the victim blames themselves and the abuser is seen to be free from any responsibility.
Types of abuse
There are two main types of abuse that we are going to cover here, Domestic abuse and Child abuse.
The Home Office states that domestic violence covers the following, and is what most people think about when asked about abuse within a relationship:
“Any incident of threatening behavior, violence or abuse between adults who are - or have been - in a relationship. This also covers family members whatever their gender or sexuality.”
Domestic abuse may be psychological, sexual, emotional, financial or physical. It maintains power and control of one person over another. Many people associate it with women getting abused but it also happens to men and those in same-sex relationships. As many as 100 women each year are killed as a result of domestic abuse. With men, it’s around 30 a year, within the United Kingdom. Domestic Abuse was considered to be a hidden crime for years until the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act of 2004 came into place and many emergency services were trained for efficiently on how to tackle the abuse. Relationship or individual counselling may help you assess what to do about a violent relationship and how to try to stop it, but it is advisable for people to attend alone for their own safety.
A list of what is considered to be domestic violence can be seen below:
- Verbal abuse
- Constant degrading and insults
- Continuously finding faults in a partner
- Sexual abuse
- Physical abuse
- Child abuse
Adults are not the only ones to suffer abuse. Thousands of children are abused, either by their own parents or by someone that they know otherwise. The whole aspect of child abuse covers a wide range of actions that are harmful to the child. This abuse can lead to problems with the child’s mental health and their physical health. Child abuse can be associated with domestic abuse, as many domestic abusers were abused as a child themselves.
A list of what can be considered child abuse can be found below:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Child exploitation
What should I be looking for in a counsellor or psychotherapist?
Currently there are no official regulations in place that say what level of training an abuse counsellor needs. However, it is recommended that you check to see if your therapist is experienced in this area and has the required knowledge. Many counsellors have Diplomas and other qualifications in the field of abuse counselling and will therefore, have knowledge and the skills that are needed. You can also check if they belong to a professional organization representing counsellors dealing with abuse.
We provide telephone counselling and email counselling specialising in depression, bullying, cancer, OCD, stress, bereavement, self-esteem, trauma & abuse.