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Mind Your Head
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Mind Your Head
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Learn More

If you believe that you or someone you know may be suffering from depression or have suicidal thoughts, you can learn more by clicking on the links below.

Getting Help

Mind Your Head is your link to help and a happier life. A qualified counsellor can talk to you about issues you may be experiencing and help you implement strategies to be happy and healthy again.

You can find a qualified Counsellor in your vicinity here: Counsellor Search

If you are experiencing overwhelming feelings of grief, pain, loss, anxiety or having thoughts of ending your life, please call the Lifeline Crisis Line immediately.

Lifeline Crisis Support

13 11 14

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An abusive relationship

If you have been physically hit or assaulted, you are a victim of domestic violence. But even if there has not been physical violence, you could be a victim of domestic abuse, also called spousal abuse. It occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate or control the other person. Domestic abuse is used for the sole purpose of gaining and maintaining total control over the victim: you. If your partner is doing any of the things mentioned on the previous screen, he or she is using fear, guilt, intimidation, threats, isolation, denial, blame, and/or shame to try to convince you that you are worthless and that you need him or her. The reality is the other way around; the abuser needs you in order to have someone to dominate, and you are not safe; you will not be safe until you are out of that situation. The police have the power and authority to protect you from physical attack. However, there are many forms of abuse in addition to physical violence.

There is emotional abuse, in which you are frequently criticised, called insulting or demeaning names, and subjected to treatment which undermines your feelings of self-worth and capacity for independence. Abusers often throw in threats of physical violence if you don’t do what they want. Some victims believe that this is not as bad as actual physical violence, but the scars from emotional abuse run deep, and can be a very long time in healing. The effects of emotional abuse must not be minimised, because if you are caught up in this, you may believe that there is no way out, or that without your partner you will have nothing.

There is economic or financial abuse, which is a subtle form of emotional abuse. In this one, the abuser – in pursuit of the goal of controlling you – may rigidly control your finances, withhold money or credit cards, make you account for every penny spent, restrict you to an allowance, or prevent you from working at your job or career, even sabotaging them (say, by calling frequently).

Then there is sexual abuse (a form of physical abuse) in which you are forced to participate in undesired, degrading, or unsafe sexual activity. Even by partners or spouses, forced sex is an act of aggression and violence. People experiencing this are at a higher risk of being killed.

Make no mistake about it; it is still abuse when there has not been physical violence, but:

  1. The incidents seem trivial, say, compared to others;
  2. It has only occurred once. It will occur again if it has already happened;
  3. You stopped the assaults by becoming passive. You are being abused if you must give up your right to express, talk, and dress as you wish simply in order to avoid being hit or hurt.

A healthy, non-violent relationship is based on equality. There is negotiation, fairness, and willingness to compromise. There is mutual respect, valuing, and emotional affirmation. The relationship has honesty and accountability, in which people admit when they are wrong and communicate openly and truthfully. There is mutual trust and support, and shared responsibility: a fair distribution of work. A healthy relationship is an economic partnership, in which money decisions are made together (Smith & Segal, 2013; The Lindsay Ann Burke Memorial Fund, 2013).

Mind Your Head
Australian Counselling Association

ACA - Australian Counselling Association

Mind Your Head is an initiative of the Australian Counselling Association, a national professional association for qualified Counsellors.