Let me say it clearly from the very outset: I strongly condemn all violence and I will never ever seek any excuses for whoever is violent. Violence, be it verbal, emotional or physical, is where I draw the line that is not to be crossed. Ever!
Why is that important? Well, because I've been approached by several women lately who wanted to do therapy. Not in order to change a life pattern that was troubling them, but because they wanted to change their behaviour so that their partners would be less violent towards them. And, of course, so that they would better cope with violence. Hm, excuse me? You want me to help you become more tolerant of and more resilient with respect to violence? Basically, you want me to collude with the violent person. No, no and no! Never!
It is always painful to see someone hurting and we get a lot of that in therapy. When there is violence involved, the situation is even more difficult. It doesn't mean that therapy is not indicated or suitable for someone who is experiencing violence. Quite the contrary. Therapy can help you understand why you have tolerated violence for so long and give you strength to get out of the toxic situation.
It is impossible to do therapy while you're in a toxic environment as people around you don't support you in your work to become a better version of yourself. It's the opposite really. They don't want you to change so that they can perpetuate their toxic behaviour towards you.
Therefore, if you're in a situation where people are being violent to you, I can support you in getting out of that situation. If, however, you want me to help you change your behaviour so that it will hurt less when other people abuse you, well, then this is not therapy but collusion with the abuser. In which case I suggest you find a different therapist who would be willing to see you every week while you report on the abuse. I don't think there are many who would want to do that.
Therapy can help you get stronger, more self-confident and determined to make a change. It can empower you. But first you need to chart a path out of the toxic situation and stop looking for excuses for the violent person.
“If we want to change the world, we need to talk about the elephant in the room. That is why I love real people who say what they mean and mean what they say. No fluff, no lies and no pretence.”