Drinking alcohol and other forms of substance use often play a role in domestic violence and other types of abuse. An individual may tend to get more violent and lash out at their partner while they are under the influence. They may then apologize when they are sober and promise that it won't happen again, only for this process to repeat itself over and over again. Unfortunately, this can also lead to the partner that is being abused also turning to substance misuse. For many women, the root cause of their addiction is the fact that someone in their life abused them, and in many cases, that person is their own partner. It is important that these individuals know that they don't have to continue to live this way and that there are resources that can help them live a safer, healthier, and more fulfilling life.
What Are the Different Types of Abuse?
Not every woman immediately recognizes the signs that they are being abused. Others know that they are but make excuses for their partner or cling on to the relationship in hopes that it will somehow get better over time. Some people also don't realize that abuse can come in different forms and doesn't always look the same. Some of the most common forms of abuse include verbal, sexual, mental/emotional, and mental/psychological.
#1. Physical abuse: Physical abuse involves hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, or any violent assault against another person. It could also involve putting their partner in a dangerous situation by intentionally engaging in reckless driving with them in the car or doing something that could put them in harm's way.
#2. Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse involves making unwanted sexual advances upon one's partner, forcing them to do something sexual, or raping them. It may also involve violent sex acts that end up with someone getting hurt and using sex as a weapon. Examples include only agreeing to have sex with a partner when they act as the individual wants them to or withholding sex as a form of punishment.
#3. Verbal/emotional abuse: Verbal/emotional abuse involves using words as weapons to tear someone down and cause them to feel bad about themselves. It may involve name-calling, insulting, harassment, and even threats.
#4. Mental/psychological abuse: Mental/psychological abuse involves using words to cause a partner to perceive a false sense of reality. For example, they may convince their partner that they are the reason that they are having relationship problems. They may also gaslight and manipulate them, even isolating them from their friends and family.
While these are some of the most common types of abuse, they are not the only ones. Some other forms of abuse include financial, social, and spiritual abuse. It's also important to note that while abuse may start out as mental, verbal, or emotional, it can lead to physical abuse later on.
Why Do People Who Are Being Abused Turn To Substance Use?
In many cases, being abused is very traumatic. It can lead to mental and emotional pain as well as mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. When people who are being abused turn to substance use, they are often doing so to cope or self-medicate. They may have accepted this as their reality and come to believe that there is nothing they can do about it, so they may as well attempt to take the edge off the pain. They may also believe that substance use will make the abuse more tolerable in some way or make it easier for them to get along with their partner. In reality, this can just make the situation worse and increase the level of danger that they are in.
How Do I Get Help?
If you are in a situation where you are getting abused, the best-case scenario is that you end the relationship and cut ties with your partner immediately. You can then begin to seek treatment for substance misuse.
However, for some people, their situation may be more complicated. They may have children with their abuser or depend upon them financially. They might not have another place to live. If this is your situation, you should reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233. They can help you devise a plan to leave your current situation safely and find other housing.
There are many women's shelters around the country where you can reside without having to worry about your partner trying to locate you or attempting to seek revenge upon you for leaving. Once you are safe, you can then begin treatment for your substance use disorder (SUD) and begin living a happier and more fulfilling life.
Addiction and abuse are often connected. Not only does addiction often cause a person to be more abusive, but it can make someone who is being abused more likely to turn to substance use as a way to cope. Abuse comes in many different forms. Some common ones include verbal, sexual, mental/emotional, and mental/psychological. It is important for those that are suffering from abuse to recognize not only that abuse is occurring but that there is a way out and substance use is not the answer. In fact, it can end up making the situation worse. By reaching out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, they can get access to important resources as well as assistance in getting out of their current situation. They can then focus on recovery. If you are a woman struggling with SUD, our team at The Ho Tai Way can help. Call (714) 581-3974 today.