I provide domestic abuse survivors hypnotherapy for people who have been in violent and coercive relationships. It’s not if you can get help but are you ready to accept help?
With hypnotherapy (AHA) and psychotherapy (PACFA) you can be helped quickly. As a naturopath (ANPA) I also help you recover physically and you may even get health fund rebates.
You’re not alone. As someone who grew up with two abusive parents, I understand the toll being involved in such relations can have on you. That doesn’t mean you have to suffer forever; you can recover and change with the right help.
Some of my clients even get funding from agencies or charities to get help.
How do you know it was an abusive relationship?
Step back and think about what you’ve been experiencing.
- Is someone trying to control every element of your life: where you go, what you wear, who you speak to, every cent you spend?
- Do they shout at you and tell you that you are worthless, and wouldn’t survive without them?
- Are you unable to leave the home alone?
- Are they demeaning you in front of other people?
- Are they monitoring your phone calls or do they have a tracker on your phone?
- Do they threaten you or your family if you don’t do what they say?
- Are they violent?
- Are you living in fear and afraid for your life or dare not tell anyone else in case of reprisals?
You don’t have to tick every box because abuse can be subtle, but if you’re terribly unhappy for any of these reasons, it may be abuse.
What domestic abuse is not
- If you’re an addict, gambler or compulsive shopper and your partner is controlling the money to help you stop the addiction.
- When you constantly overspend or get in debt and the arrangement is that your partner controls the money.
- When you also exhibit abusive behaviours and the relationship is co-abusive or co-dependent, then you are also part of the problem.
- Perhaps you have mental illness and hallucinate or make things up about what’s happening.
It’s important to get an outside perspective
Abuse can happen to women, men and children. Sometimes you may be too embarrassed to tell anyone else in case they think you’re weak, stupid or just making it up.
When you’re in the abusive relationship, however, you might not be able to judge what’s really happening.
This is why it’s so very important to talk to a healthcare professional to get their views on what’s happening. They are objective and can perhaps see things more clearly and advise you.
If you don’t think they believe you or are not helping you, go to another practitioner until someone helps you.
What the law says
It depends where you live in the world and what culture you come from. Some places have laws that protect you and some don’t.
In some places, even if there are laws protecting you, the government authorities might not want to use them.
Sometimes using the law and bringing charges alerts the abuser that you’ve sought help, and it may put you in greater danger from them.
This is why it’s so important to seek third-party help. A third party can help you manoeuvre the situation in the safest way possible.
Leaving the relationship
If you don’t have anywhere to go, money or skills to earn a living, you can feel you’re locked in your situation: a prisoner.
You may have family and animals you don’t want to leave behind because you think they’ll be in danger.
Sometimes, however, leaving is the only option to keep you and others safe. It can at times be a difficult decision and only you can make it, because only you know your circumstances.
But sometimes leaving is your only option to keep yourself safe and try and find some happiness.
What’s the alternative to leaving?
You must find allies – that is, people who have the power to help you. This may include a healthcare professional, lawyer, social worker, priest, Iman, rabbi or family member.
They may be able to negotiate between you and the abuser, so your family gets help to change the situation. You may also need to go into family therapy.
You and the abuser may need help with mental health professionally.
Whatever you do, don’t corner the abuser or make them feel threatened. Abusers who feel threatened often become more abusive and dangerous.
Try and frame help as an opportunity for everyone to be happier.
Help for yourself
This depends on your culture. In some cultures, there are no mental health services and in some you can access them free.
You need help. If you have been abused, it changes you and you have a lower quality of life. It changes your brain and how you think and feel.
As healthcare professionals we’re trained to help you and we’re here to help. We don’t judge. Domestic abuse can happen to any one of us under the wrong circumstances.
Supportive help can really make a huge difference and help you get a sense of security and self-worth. We also help you set clear boundaries of what’s acceptable from others and what isn’t.
If you have children
You might think your children don’t see and hear what’s happening, but they do. Even when you think they don’t understand, they still remember when they’re older.
Being a child in an abusive home where there’s domestic violence can be extremely traumatising. It can affect that person later in life and the way they have relationships.
It’s important for the children to get help as well from healthcare professionals who can help them process what happened.
Immediate things to do
- Get help from a safe and trusted third party
- Get legal advice
- You can phone domestic violence helpline
- You can phone a helpline for mental health issues
- If you’re feeling suicidal, call a suicide helpline
- If there is not help in your country, get help via the internet from another country
- Be prepared to make big changes
- If you’re going to leave, make sure you have a plan that can’t be found by the abuser
How therapy helps you
In helping people in abusive relationships, my first job is to help you gain clarity on what’s been happening. This empowers you about what you need to do next.
The next stage is to look at what your options are for the future. You may have far more options than you thought you had.
Then I’ll help you make the decision about how to go forward that’s right for you. There’s no one path, because your journey is specific for you, and you only.
We look at how you can make that decision happen. What are the strategies you need to put in place, actions you need to take, and when.
You can work it out with support and help. Resolving the situation is far easier when you have the right help, at the right time.
How hypnotherapy can help
When you’ve been abused it really damages your self-esteem and confidence. You can end up feeling it’s your fault.
With hypnotherapy I help build your confidence, enabling you to feel better about yourself and stronger.
Also, hypno-psychotherapy can help you be motivated to make change happen.
It’s completely confidential and no one else needs to know you’re having help. Your privacy is totally and legally protected.
Hypnotherapy also helps you feel much calmer so you can make better decisions about your future.
Dr Tracie O’Keefe DCH, BHSc, ND is one of Australia’s most qualified therapists, published author, clinical naturopath, psychotherapist, hypnotherapist and PACFA registered mental health professional. She has helped tens of thousands of patients and is a couples and family therapist. You can consult her in the office or by Zoom from anywhere in the world.