Talking to your doctor about an abusive relationship – Harvard Health Blog

When Jayden called our clinic to talk about worsening migraines, a medication change was one potential outcome. But moments into our telehealth visit, it was clear that a cure for her problems couldn’t be found in a pill. “He’s out of control again,” she whispered, lips pressed to the phone speaker, “What can I do?”

Unfortunately, abusive relationships like Jayden’s are incredibly common. Intimate partner violence (IPV) harms one in four women and one in 10 men in the United States. People sometimes think that abusive relationships only happen between men and women. But this type of violence can occur between people of any gender and sexual orientation.

Experiencing abuse can be extremely isolating, and can make you feel hopeless. But it is possible to live a life free from violence. Support and resources are available to guide you toward safety — and your doctor or health professional may be able to help in ways described below.

What is intimate partner violence?

Intimate partner violence (IPV) isn’t just physical abuse like kicking or choking, though it can include physical harm. IPV is any emotional, psychological, sexual, or physical way your partner may hurt and/or control you. This can include sexual harassment, threats to harm you, stalking, or controlling behaviors such as restricting access to bank accounts, children, friends, or family.

If this sounds like your relationship, consider talking to your doctor or health care professional, or contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE.

What does a healthy relationship look like?

Media images show us uniformly blissful relationships, but perfect relationships are a myth. This culture can make it difficult for us to recognize unhealthy characteristics in our own relationships. Respect, trust, open communication, and shared decisions are part of a healthy relationship. You should be able to freely participate

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