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Domestic Violence: How To Find Counseling & Support

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All close relationships will have moments of conflict. But if you are living in fear because your spouse or partner is harming, controlling or threatening you, then you may be among the millions of people who suffer from domestic violence.

This form of abuse is extremely harmful to your health – and can even endanger your life. Though you may feel hopeful that you will find a solution on your own, the truth is that you will need professional treatment and support to break free from the vicious cycle at the center of your life.


If you are feeling isolated and alone, it may help you to know that more than 10 million people living in the U.S. are dealing with domestic abuse. Every minute of the day, an average of 20 people – both men and women – are abused by a spouse, partner or lover.

Experts define domestic violence as a situation in which one partner uses threats, intimidation and physical force to maintain power and control over the other partner. Another term for domestic violence is intimate partner violence.

In abusive relationships, the controlling partner will behave in ways that arouse fear or cause physical harm to the other partner. Abusers may restrict their partners’ freedom, keeping them from making choices about where they will go and how they will spend their time. They may also force their partners to do things they don’t want to do.

Domestic violence can take many forms. It may involve physical or sexual violence as well as threats, intimidation, emotional and even financial abuse.

Domestic violence does not discriminate by race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. Although 1 in 4 victims are women, 1 in 9 men also experience abuse at the hands of their partners. The pattern affects people of all education and economic backgrounds.


Hear from Dr. Kim Dennis, MD, CEDS, at SunCloud Health, on racialized trauma and the unequal access to care many persons of color face.


Many victims of domestic violence blame themselves for not knowing what they were getting into at the start of a relationship. If you are feeling this way, please know that you are NOT to blame. In most cases, the signs of potential abuse are hard to spot. Your spouse or partner may have seemed friendly and loving in the beginning – with the angry, controlling behaviors showing up later as your relationship developed.

Every situation is unique, but there are common signs of domestic violence that are a clear warning sign you should seek help.

You should be concerned if your spouse or partner …

  • Says you can never do anything right
  • Shows extreme jealousy of the other people in your life
  • Tries to control how you use your time
  • Stalks you when you’re away from him / her
  • Discourages you from seeing friends, family and neighbors
  • Insults, demeans and shames you with constant put-downs
  • Controls every penny spent in the household
  • Takes your money or refuses to give you money, even for necessary expenses
  • Physically hurts you – or threatens to hurt you
  • Looks at you in an intimidating way – or acts in ways that scare you
  • Actively prevents you from making your own decisions
  • Criticizes your parenting style and choices
  • Threatens to harm your children or take them away from you
  • Prevents you from working or attending school
  • Destroys your property or threatens to hurt or kill your pets
  • Intimidates you with guns, knives or other weapons
  • Pressures you to have sex when you don’t want to
  • Demands that you perform sexual acts that you aren’t comfortable with
  • Pressures you to use drugs or alcohol when you don’t want to

If you or someone you care about is dealing with one or more of these issues, don’t wait. Reach out to the professionals at SunCloud Health now for immediate help.


Help is one click or call away
(866) 729-1012 Or click here to send a secure message.


People who live with domestic violence can suffer tremendous harm, inside and out. Many fear for their lives, since an abusive partner will often threaten to kill them. Studies show that nearly 20% of domestic violence involves a weapon, and 1 in 10 women say they have been raped by an intimate partner.

What are some of the health effects seen when someone is experiencing domestic violence? If you or someone you love is being abused, there will be outward signs, such as:

  • Bruises anywhere on the body, often around the eyes
  • Red or purple marks on the neck
  • Sprained or broken wrists
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle tension
  • Involuntary shaking
  • Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Disruption of menstrual cycle and fertility issues in women

Domestic violence is extremely harmful to our mental health, too. Your partner’s abuse may cause you to experience:

  • Nightmares and flashbacks
  • Severe anxiety
  • Deep feelings of sadness that can turn into depression
  • Low energy and lack of motivation
  • A sense of hopelessness about the future
  • Low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD)
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

IMPORTANT: If you or someone you care about is suicidal right now, call the National Suicidal Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to the nearest emergency room.


Help is one click or call away
(866) 729-1012 Or click here to send a secure message.


If you are a parent, it’s important to know that domestic violence is harming your children, too. The effects on children and teens who witness violence in the home are profound and long-lasting.

Kids who see one partner harming the other face higher risks for anxiety and depression. They also tend to become aggressive themselves, engaging in fighting, bullying, lying and cheating. They may be more disobedient and more likely to struggle in school, often falling behind their classmates. This can affect their chances of attending college and finding good careers later in life.

Because kids who live in violent have no model for healthy relationships, they may also struggle in their own relationships – both now and in the future. When asked, many of these children and teens say they are willing to resort to violence as a means of handling conflict. This sets the stage for the abuse they witnessed to create pain and suffering in future generations.


Help is one click or call away
(866) 729-1012 Or click here to send a secure message.


At SunCloud Health, we realize that taking that first step requires great courage. You may feel overwhelming fear as you contemplate reaching out for help. We are ready to provide immediate and confidential support for you or someone you care about.

Our skilled, experienced therapists will meet with you to learn about your unique situation and needs. We will design a personal treatment plan to help you see the patterns of abuse more clearly and begin the journey back to yourself.

Don’t wait. Get the help you need today.

Additional Sources:
Joyful Heart Foundation AAFP


Help is one click or call away
(866) 729-1012 Or click here to send a secure message.


As an outpatient and residential treatment center, SunCloud Health is in an ideal position to support you for as long as you agree our services are useful to you. With multiple levels of outpatient care, you may decide to stay connected through one of our aftercare outpatient groups – or you may want to continue seeing one of our individual therapists.  We are here to provide continuous, caring support for your recovery journey.


Dr. Kim Dennis, MD, CEDS, explains how SunCloud Health treats co-occurring disorders.

Though we understand fully that you don’t want to spend your life in treatment, we also know from experience that a lifetime commitment to wellness is the foundation of your well-being over the long term. We will work with you to maintain a healthy outlook, which means achieving balance, honesty, and health — physical, emotional and spiritual. Our goal is to create a care plan that you can take with you forever, wherever you may go.


Dr. Marcia Nickow, Psy.D., CADC, CGP shares her thoughts on hope for recovery at SunCloud Health.

SunCloud’s reputation is one of the highest quality providers of integrated outpatient treatment in the country. They did not disappoint me and cared for me with compassion and forgiveness. The program is highly individualized, and I had plenty of time with my therapist. I was treated medically, psychologically and spiritually by a well-trained, well-educated and highly experienced care team. I received all that I could ask for and more.

~ SCH patient

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