Domestic violence: You are not alone
10/25/2021 by Randa Soubra, L.I.C.S.W., M.S.W.
Fear, shame, exhaustion and loneliness are just a few of the emotions that you may experience when you feel stuck in an abusive relationship. You may carry these burdens, despite success in your career and the fierce love you have for you family and loved ones.
This is the complexity of domestic violence.
There are moments when things seem OK. The insults, threats, intimidation and abuse may quiet down for a while. Then, without warning, the storm picks up again, and you're thrown back into survival mode.
And even when the storm is raging, you dig deep for resilience. You somehow move forward with the day to day, such as paying bills, going to work and throwing birthday parties. Unfortunately, through it all, you have a sense of walking on eggshells.
This chronic stress can add up, making it extraordinarily difficult to reach out for help. Your Mayo Clinic care team urges you not to wait to reach out for that help.
Whether you share your story with your health care provider, or a nurse, social worker or therapist, you have a safe and confidential place to land at Mayo Clinic. Even if you are not ready to leave your relationship, your care team can help you on your path to safety. Often this includes working with community resources to find safe housing or financial support. Maybe it's getting help to call a trusted loved one, friend or co-worker.
You also have a larger community network, on-hand 24/7. You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-SAFE (7233). Locally, you can reach out to the Women's Shelter or Victim's Services. If there is an immediate threat to your safety, call 911. Always try to keep a fully charged cellphone with you for this purpose.
Randa Soubra, L.I.C.S.W., M.S.W., is an Integrated Behavioral Health therapist based at the Baldwin Clinic. In her work as a therapist — and previously as a crisis line worker and transitional housing program manager — she has years of experience working with people who have experienced domestic violence.