How Do I Get Help If I Am Being Abusive?

By Silvia Echevarria-Doan, PH.D. LMFT, LCSW
Founder & Therapist, The Alma Therapy Institute, LLC in Gainesville, FL
Associate Professor, Emeritus, Counselor Education, University of Florida

Questioning or beginning to acknowledge that you might be abusive in your relationship is a brave first step. Whether you have noticed this yourself or others have brought it to your attention, checking out this page is a move in the right direction. It is never too late to seek help.

No matter what situation you’re faced with, the resources below offer you many options, including hotlines that can connect you with helpful, fair advocates trained to treat you with respect as you learn to control your abusive tendencies.

These resources can help you:

  1. Identify unhealthy behaviors in your relationship.
  2. Come up with healthier alternatives and better strategies to calm down when conflicts occur.
  3. Take more responsibility for your own actions.

You can learn to have a healthier, happier, non-abusive relationship. You have a choice about whether or not to change. But the only person you have control over is you.

Some Initial Steps to Consider

  • Get clear on what abuse is.
  • Accept the fact that it is a problem that you need to address.
  • Stop making excuses, justifying your behavior, or blaming your partner.
  • Take responsibility and begin working on changing your behavior, following these guidelines:
    • Contact 24 hour hotlines available to abusers for guidance and direction.
    • Get sober and/or clean if you are dealing with substance abuse.
    • Seek professional help to deal with your own personal issues (like substance abuse, violent behaviors, the need to control others, anger or impulse control problems, etc.).

Where to Get Help

Help for Abusive Partners  - From The National Domestic Violence Hotline
This very comprehensive website has loads of information about intimate partner abuse. This particular page provides information about referral sources, hotline numbers and online chat options, along with what it is like to speak with advocates at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Can I Stop Being Abusive?  - From Love is Respect
This site also offers a great deal of information about abusive relationships, including information about healthy relationship, quizzes, and downloadable materials for both perpetrators and victims. Hotline, texting, and online chatting options are also available 24/7 in English and in Spanish.

References

Love is Respect. (n.d.). Get help for yourself: Can I stop being abusive? Retrieved from here.

National Domestic Violence Hotline. (n.d.). Help for abusive partners. Retrieved from here.

Courtesy of University of Florida UF/IFAS Extension.  For more relationship articles, visit www.smartcouples.org.