In most relationships one person may be dominant or more forceful. But when the needs of one partner cannot be considered the relationship may become abusive.

Abusive relationships can develop gradually and can usually be identified by patterns of behaviour featuring control and lack of respect for the other person. These may surface slowly and be excused as jealousy or insecurity at first. Often they arise from an intense need for love and affection and can initially seem to enforce the victim’s worth.

An abusive relationship is one where one or more of the following may be present:

  • There may be threats of physical violence including suicide threats
  • Someone controls your behaviour and restricts your freedom
  • Criticism and put-downs are constant
  • One person’s needs cannot be considered

Abusive relationships are usually progressive as the needs of one partner escalate and those of the other decrease.

Abusers are usually needy and controlling and often act out deep-seated feelings of shame and inadequacy and pull the partner down to their level. Abusers often see themselves as the powerless victims of others’ behaviour and find it difficult to take responsibility for their actions.

Abuse can be a family dysfunction and is often a familiar pattern that both partners hook into. Cycles of abuse are often based on an intense need for love and affection, a terror of being abandoned, low self-esteem, isolation and drug or alcohol abuse.

Uncontrollable anger, jealousy, the need for power and inability to respect other people’s boundaries are all common traits of abusers.

Low self-esteem, a background of being abused, difficulty expressing anger and inappropriate loyalty are all common traits of their partners.

What issues can counselling address?

  • Couple counselling may help assess whether a relationship is abusive or just unbalanced.
  • Entrenched abuse is not a suitable subject for working on as a couple.
  • Individual counselling may be useful to the abused person, who may have difficulty detaching themselves from the partner’s behaviour.
  • Counselling may help restore self-esteem and re-examine healthy ways of relating.
  • Specialist agencies can offer support to perpetrators to examine their behaviour – counselling is not always appropriate for abusers.

There are often problems with taking responsibility for abusive behaviour; often the victim assuming blame and the abuser adopting a “poor me” stance.

Types of Abuse:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse 
  • Sexual Abuse

Domestic Violence:

According to the Home Office, domestic violence covers any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults who are, or have been, in a relationship. It also covers family members whatever their gender or sexuality.

Abuse may be psychological, sexual, emotional or financial. It maintains power and control of one person over another. Most victims are women, but men suffer, too. People in same-sex relationships also suffer. Over 100 women each year and 30 men die as a result of domestic violence in UK. It is not restricted to the poor or unemployed but exists right across society.

Relationship or Individual Counselling may help you assess what to do about a violent relationship, but it is advisable to attend alone for safety reasons. Specialist agencies and Professionals are also available for help and support. Domestic violence can include:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Constant degrading and insults
  • Continuously finding faults in a partner
  • Threats
  • Bullying
  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Punching, kicking
  • Suffocating
  • Homicide

Child Abuse:

Statistics show that every year thousands of children are abused physically by a parent or someone they know. Child abuse is characterised by any actions of a carer that could potentially harm a child’s mental or physical health. Research shows that many aggressors were abused themselves as children. The main areas of child abuse are shown below:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Child labour/exploitation
  • Neglect
  • Abandonment

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse often face problems in their relationships, and much help and support is available. Individual or Couple Counselling can help to address issues of trust and anger that may resurface in later life which may threaten an otherwise good relationship and may help address sexual problems relating to earlier abuse.

For Support & Counselling

Contact: Francis  – Email careers1@eircom.net or Phone 0861074445

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