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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is there any form of support for an emotional abuser?

    I was wondering what support their is for people who emotionally abuse their partners. Last week I hit my partner for the first time. I know I will never do that again - I didn't realise how awful it would feel to have hurt someone you love like that, or even how much it would hurt *them* - but it helped me to realise that I have been emotionally abusive towards my partner for several months following a period of several months where my partner was emotionally abusive towards me (they have not been for the majority of the time I have been towards them). My partner is now very afraid of me and I don't know how to recognise when I am abusing them, how to stop, how to help them not be afraid of me (or leave; they still can't accept that they have been abused by me), and how to deal with the guilt. Does anyone know whether there are support groups or other resources I could use to help? I don't want to hurt anyone anymore.
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    Shelley Murphy

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist

    I work with Solution Focused Therapies with particular success with clients who have been controlled by their anxiety, phobias, depression, relationship, communication and self worth … View Profile

    Firstly let me congratulate you on seeking help and secondly please feel reassured as there is a great deal of support and resources available to you. As you identified domestic violence include emotional abuse and has the potential to escalate into acts of violence. You did not state if there are children living in the home so I will include the help numbers as well just in case.

    The contact numbers for the support services are as follows :_

    Domestic Violence Crisis Service  Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm  1300 782 200

    Domestic Violence Help Line 24 hours metropolitan and country  1800 800 098

    Crisis Care - Weekends and Public Holidays 24 hours - Week days 4pm - 9am  13 16 11

    Domestic Violence Crisis Service  Monday - Friday 9am to 5pm  1300 782 200

    Mens Information Support Centre   (08) 8212 0331

    Parenting SA -

    Womens Health Statewide -

    Migrant Women's Emergency Support Service (-8) 8346 9417

    Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearing House

    MensLine Australia      1300 78 99 78

    Reach Out Australia   1800 200 526

    Love: The good, the bad, the ugly

    Relationships Australia    1300 364 277

    As you can see there is a great deal of support out there and the key message that comes from all of these supports is that it is important to seek help as soon as possible. These services are confidential and provide access to skilled Psychologists and Counsellors. 

    You have identified emotional abuse as the trigger for the physical abuse which are signs that your relationship is in need of attention. The likelihood is that unless you seek help you may find yourself in the same situation again. 

    I commend you for your courage, it is difficult to own up to behaviours that we don't understand or are not proud of. You have made an important first step. I encourage to take the next step and ring any of the numbers above so you and your partner can rebuild your relationship and create a healthier future for you both.


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