What if I’m Actually in an Abusive Relationship?

Think your relationship might be abusive? Not sure what kinds of behaviors constitute abuse? Here are some signs that your relationship dynamic isn’t as healthy as you might have thought:

  • Unreasonable jealousy

  • Constant put downs or name calling

  • Extreme moodiness

  • Ignoring or excluding you, or refusing to communicate with you

  • Frequent criticism of you, your family or your friends

  • Needing to know where you are and what you’re doing constantly

  • Limiting who you see, where you go, what you do

  • Pressuring you for sex, making you feel bad for your sexual decisions or needs

  • Humiliating you

  • Threatening to leave you or cheat on you

  • Making derogatory comments about how you dress or what you’re wearing

  • Threatening to hurt you

  • Threatening to commit suicide

  • Using money to control you

  • Using threatening looks to get you to do what they want you to

  • Destroying property, furniture, personal items

  • Playing mind games or making you feel crazy

  • Constantly checking your phone or social media; invading your privacy

  • Denying or minimizing their own responsibility, or blaming you for their own behavior

  • Making sure to have the final say in most of the decisions

If you can identify with any of the items on this list and think you might want a safe space to explore your feelings about your relationship, don’t hesitate to contact a therapist trained in intimate partner abuse. While family and friends can make up a powerful support network, seeing a professional in a confidential setting can be invaluable as you make sense of what you’re dealing with and are trying to sort through your options. If you find yourself in crisis and without financial means to access paid therapy, there are several programs throughout the city that offer free to low-cost therapy and concrete case management services for people struggling within, and in the aftermath of, abusive relationships.

Safe Horizon, in particular, is a comprehensive resource for people struggling within or in the aftermath abusive relationships. Not only do they provide counseling and case management services, they also have a 24-hour hotline (1-800-621-4673) which anyone can access for in-the-moment crisis counseling as well as referrals to any number of resources from emergency housing to getting an order of protection, from legal aid to getting your locks changed.

CONNECT is another program that is high on the list of recommended resources to keep in mind. In additional to offering classes and workshops, free yoga to the community and conscientious dialogues on gender and violence, their Legal Advocacy Helpline is available to call during business hours at 1-212-683-0605.

Finally, each borough in New York City has a Family Justice Center, where you can access free legal, counseling and supportive services for people impacted by domestic violence. They are set up as a walk-in multipurpose service center and are open Monday through Friday, 9am - 5pm. Childcare is available on site.

Maryam Sajed, LCSW, works in private practice as a therapist in Manhattan, NY. To reach her or find out more information about trauma therapy, you can email MaryamSajedLCSW@gmail.com, call or text 646-926-3406, or explore her website: MaryamSajedLCSW.com.

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