31-year-old Jennifer* came to the Domestic Violence Support Center (DVSC) for help in dealing with conflict with her husband and her concerns about how this impacted her small children. It didn’t take long for Jennifer to see that she was married to a highly verbally abusive partner, and had become depressed and increasingly isolated from others outside of her immediate family. Like many clients, Jennifer felt embarrassed about her own behavior, blamed herself for any conflict in the home with her partner, and had trouble talking about it. Addressing this shame head-on in counseling had the effect of liberating Jennifer from its toxic effects.
After about a month into working with her DVSC counselor, Jennifer reported it was as though a one-hundred pound weight had been lifted off her shoulders. Once she began to believe that her experiences were common and that her responses to them were understandable and not “crazy,” Jennifer felt less depressed and less isolated. She began socializing more with others outside of her family, and she also felt a greater capacity to explore her marital conflict and consider all her options for changing her situation.
*Name has been changed.