“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
Celeste, from the best-selling novel Big Little Lies, seems to have the perfect life. She has two beautiful children, wealth beyond measure, dedicated friends, enviably beauty, and a seemingly perfect husband. But not everything is as it appears. Celeste’s private life does not measure up to the fairytale. In fact, she carries a deep, dark secret: Celeste is the victim of domestic violence.
The novel and HBO adaptation have highlighted the realities of domestic violence. Like Celeste, many people experience a personal life inside their homes that varies greatly from the public perception. And victims face many obstacles as they leave an abusive relationship. They often need tremendous support, including professional counseling.
Thriveworks Newport News, VA offers counseling for victims of domestic violence that has guided many people through the pitfalls of a violent relationship and toward safety.
Domestic Abuse: A Dangerous Situation
A home represents a place of comfort—where people are loved and safe…or at least it should be. For many people, however, their homes are a place of danger because of domestic abuse.
Violent environments have serious and severe long-term effects upon people who live in them because their body’s flight-or-fight response is often engaged. The hormones that are released during stress help the body respond to imminent danger, but they harm it when released on a regular basis.
Even during non-violent times, the threat of violence looms. One survivors explained how, “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.” People who live with domestic violence, therefore, face the injuries from the abuse but also the long-term side effects of living in a threatening environment.
The Cycle of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence follows a general pattern. While the particulars will vary from circumstance to circumstance, violent relationships often begin in a way that is too good to be true. They may start with romance and as the perfect relationship. But tension enters into the relationship and builds over time. At some point, the violent partner chooses to act upon the tension. The violence may be emotional, physical, and/or sexual. Regardless of what the violent partner may say, no one deserves any form of violence. The responsibility for behavior lies solely on the violent spouse. After the violence, the cycle returns to the honeymoon phase and is often accompanied by tearful apologies and empty promises that it will never happen again. In some cases of domestic violence, this cycle can take minutes. In others, it can take years.
Is This a Violent Relationship?
Just as domestic violence follows similar patterns of violence, there are similar warning signs that a relationship is not safe. Whether the relationship is new or long-term, these behaviors could be brushed off as odd or random, but they should not be. They are often warnings that a relationship is violent. The warning signs mostly circle around the concept of control: one person wants control over what the other person feels, does, thinks, wears, and more.
If you are in a relationship with someone who exhibits these behaviors, it may be time to seek help:
- Showing irritation when you spend time with family or friends
- Subtly belittling you or showing defensiveness about your talents/abilities
- Calling you demeaning names (even as a “joke”)
- Threatening you
- Harming you, your kids, or your pets
- Forcing you into sex or sexual acts where you feel uncomfortable or when you have said, “no”
- Dissuading you from working or going to school
- Taking away agency/trying to make decisions for you—such as what to wear, how to spend money, where to go, and more
- Blaming/criticizing you or others for their behavior (i.e., an unwillingness to take responsibility for their own behavior)
Therapy for Domestic Violence Victims
The counselors at Thriveworks Newport News grasp the dangers that victims of domestic violence face. They have offered guidance on avoiding pitfalls and escaping the harmful relationships to many clients, and they are ready to help you.
If you call Thriveworks Newport News, VA we want to see you receive the support you need. That’s why a person will answer your call and help you. That’s why many first-time clients see their therapist within 24 hours. That’s why we work with most major insurance plans. That’s why we offer convenient appointment hours.
Has your partner ever harmed you physically, emotionally, or sexually? If so, even one time, know that you are not to blame, and know that help is available. Call Thriveworks Newport News today.