Along with several others, October is domestic violence awareness month. Domestic violence can be an extremely difficult issue to deal with, as many people have trouble coming to terms with the idea that their relationships may be unhealthy. Although it can be unpleasant, there are important questions you should ask: Does my partner ever…
- Put me down and make me feel bad about myself?
- Intimidate me, or make me afraid?
- Call me names that I don’t like?
- Blame me when things go wrong?
- Tell me what to do, what to wear, who I can and cannot see?
- Make me feel like I can’t do anything right?
- Control me or pressure me to do things I don’t want to do?
- Control my access to money and/or keep me from getting or keeping a job?
- Push, hit, hurt, or threaten me?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, you may be in an unhealthy or unsafe relationship.
Besides the visible injuries from physical abuse, the ongoing stress of having a controlling or violent partner can affect other areas of your physical and emotional health. Ask yourself…
- Do I have frequent headaches, back or abdominal pain?
- Am I depressed and/or anxious?
- Am I over-eating and gaining weight? Under-eating and losing weight?
- Do I drink, smoke, or use drugs to cope?
- Do I ever feel forced into unhealthy or unwanted sexual activities?
- Have I been pressured about whether or when to have children?
- Does my partner make it harder for me to deal with my illness or disability?
People experiencing partner abuse are two times more likely to be in poor health. You can take steps to improve your own health, and the health of your children.
If your are in an abusive or controlling relationship, the health and well-being of your children can also be affected. Studies show that children growing up in abusive homes experience more learning disabilities, behavioral problems, drug and alcohol abuse, and other health problems. You can help your kids by…
- Letting them know the abuse is not their fault
- Listening when they want to talk about their feelings and experiences
- Talking to your pediatrician if your child shows behaviors or symptoms that concern you.
If you need more help or information, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.