Intimate Partner Violence
by Raquel d’Escoto | September 2021
The phrase “intimate partner violence” can elicit various emotions or thoughts. Most people think of extreme physical violence, often what they see on tv or the news, which is true. However, it is only one form of intimate partner violence. A relationship might look healthy on the outside but behind closed doors, it may look very different.
Intimate partner violence looks and takes many forms. When we first enter a relationship, we might not notice the subtle forms of abuse. This can look like a partner trying to control who you spend time with, what you wear, or what you can or cannot do with your time. These types of abuse occur over time and you might not even realize it until you have lost many friends and family members.
Isolation and control are the main components an abuser will use to get their partner to do what they want. Another type of abuse that has been recently used a lot in social media platforms is gaslighting. Gaslighting is manipulation that occurs when a partner distorts reality so much that the other begins to doubt themself. In extreme circumstances of gaslighting, the victim can begin to believe that they have a form of mental illness.
Ignoring the early signs of subtle intimate partner violence may lead to a relationship that is abusive, isolating, and ultimately destructive. Moreover, intimate partner violence may impact the mental and physical safety of potential children or pets in the house.
If any of these experiences sound familiar, please seek help even if you are the person who is inflicting intimate partner violence on your partner. Your therapist can help you identify the abusive parts of your relationships and provide you with clinical interventions that will help you heal and grow. More importantly, they will provide you a safe space to be vulnerable and listen to you nonjudgmentally. They will not immediately assume that one partner must be an evil person or that the other partner must be meek. They will explore ways to help both you and your partner in developing a healthier relationship whether you attend individual or couples counseling.
Note: If you feel like you are in a relationship and experiencing intimate partner violence, please reach out to a trusted person or call the IL DV hotline: 877-863-6338.
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