Support for Domestic Violence Victims in Hampton, VA—Counseling and Therapy
“I don’t know why I stay. I don’t know why I deserve this. I don’t know why you do this, why we do this, why this keeps happening.” – Celeste
Big Little Lies, the best-selling novel and hit HBO series, has thrilled people as a suspense-filled murder mystery set in a modern-day elementary school. Along with providing great entertainment (Spoiler alert. Skip ahead if you have not read the book or seen the show), the storyline has spotlighted a very real but often hidden social problem: domestic violence.
One main character is a woman named Celeste White who appears to have everything she has ever dreamed of. She is beautiful, has a lot of money, lives in comfort, has wonderful friends, and a seemingly perfect family. However, not all is as it appears. Celeste lives in outward comfort but in a private hell because her husband is violent.
Many survivors of domestic violence can testify to the fact that the reality of what happens inside a home does not always align with what is publicly portrayed outside of the home.
Are you living in a private hell like Celeste? If your partner has been physically, verbally, or sexually abusive to you, know that Thriveworks Hampton offers counseling for victims of domestic violence.
The Danger of Domestic Abuse
In theory, home is the safest place a person can be, but all too often, theory does not match reality. Domestic abuse can turn a safe haven into a warzone where violence or the possibility of violence constantly threatens.
One woman explained her experience and this dynamic well, “He would be alternately kind and then fly off the handle for no reason. I always lived in fear of his temper. It was very stressful.”
Violence fosters an environment that has long-term and severe effects upon its victims. When a person feels a threat, their body goes into a fight-or-flight mode and releases the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenalin. Domestic violence engages this system far more often than it should be.
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris explains how the body’s natural response to danger, “is wonderful if you’re in a forest and there’s a bear, but the problem is what happens when the bear comes home every night, and this system is activated over and over and over again, and it goes from being adaptive, or life-saving, to maladaptive, or health-damaging.”
People who experience domestic violence, thus, face the immediate injuries from the abuse, but they also experience long-term health challenges from living in a threatening, toxic environment.
Domestic Abuse: A Violent Cycle
The details of every person’s experiences are always unique, but most cases of domestic violence follow a typical pattern: the cycle of violence. Abusive relationships usually begin in a way that is too good to be true. Seemingly odd behaviors then escalate into abuse, after which, the cycle begins again. Some couples cycle through these phases in minutes. Others take months. Some take years.
The Honeymoon Phase: A big reason domestic violence is so disorienting for victims is that an abusive relationship often has good times. People who are violent may use this time to make promises that it will never happen again or that things will change. However, they rarely change without significant intervention. The honeymoon phase always fades into the tension building phase.
The Tension Building Phase: As niceties are dropped and tension increases, victims usually find themselves trying to appease their partners during the tension building phase. Victims may try to shield their partner from stress or take responsibility for keeping the peace—anything to avert the violence that threatens. Some people describe this phase as walking on egg shells.
The Abusive Phase: At some point, the violent partner chooses to act. The abuse may come in the form of emotional, sexual, or physical violence. Often, a combination of the three is used. Regardless of what the perpetrator says, abuse is never the victim’s fault, and there is nothing a person can do to deserve violence being perpetrated against them.
Counseling and Support or People in Violent Relationships
The counselors at Thriveworks Hampton understand the personal hell that victims of domestic violence live in. Our counselors are familiar with the hazards and pitfalls of domestic violence and what it takes to guide a victim to safety. If you are in a violent relationship or if your partner has done things that make you uncomfortable, know that we are here to help.
When you call our office, you will not reach a voicemail. A person will answer your call and be able to schedule your appointment. Our first-time clients often see their therapist within 24 hours. We also accept many forms of insurance and offer appointments at convenient hours. We do not want anything to keep our clients from receiving the care they need.
Has your partner harmed you or threatened to harm you? Know that domestic violence is not your fault and that help is available. Call Thriveworks Hampton today.