Emotional Abuse

By Cara McMahon

Often when we think of domestic/family violence we think of physical abuse, but it is the emotional and psychological abuse that can be a lot more damaging and can go unrecognised for a long time. Constant criticism, put downs, being humiliated, feeling nothing you do is good enough or being blamed for everything that doesn’t go well, are common forms of emotional abuse. It can also extend to controlling behaviour and/or isolating you from family and friend, it often starts subtly when your partner expresses how he doesn’t want you to go out as he wants to spend time with you, or regular calls to you at home or work to see how you are, but then questioning when you are not where he thought you should be.

As we start out in a relationship we establish patterns of behaviour and often compromise with a partner to make the relationship work, but it is important to be mindful of the patterns of behaviours that we accept as they can quickly become the ‘norm’. It is only after years that you may realise that you are not comfortable with how you are being treated in the relationship. As there are no obvious scars (unlike physical abuse) you find yourself questioning behaviours but not being sure if they are real or not. Without wanting to ask others what they think, as often abusers are also ‘charmers’, you only have yourself to rationalise it/work it through. Depending on the extent of the emotional abuse, the impact on one’s sense of self (self-esteem and self- confidence) can be very negative. If you are constantly being given the message that you are not good enough, you can start to believe it, so your judgement how on you are being treated can become distorted.

As well as having a negative impact on your self-esteem and confidence, emotional abuse can leave you feeling depressed and anxious. If you feel this way or recognise some of these behaviours and would like to talk to someone or get support to cope with it, you can contact:

Women’s Health West: 03 9689 9588

Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre: 1800 015 188

If you are in immediate danger call the police on: 000

Speak to your GP or counsellor, to get more support for yourself and your family.

Cara McMahon is a counsellor with extensive experience working with clients affected by trauma, emotional abuse and family violence. You can book an appointment to see Cara by ringing Eleanor Clinic on: (03) 9318 4666

Building a home.

Eleanor Clinic has been open for not even a month now and we have been overwhelmed by the encouragement and positive feedback from the many familiar and new faces who have given us their trust. Thank you all!

So again: Welcome to your Medical Home in the West. Eleanor Clinic was founded by local medical mums. We have aimed to create a welcoming space for all of you and your families. A place filled with natural light and beautiful colours.

All of us have worked and lived in the West for a long time and we are excited to be able to provide you with the highest quality of care in a warm and welcoming environment.

Eleanor Clinic is located right next to the Western Hospital Emergency Department, nestled in Footscray’s medical precinct. Medical specialists, pathology and radiology services are right at the doorstep. This enables us to work closely with all specialist services. The benefit to you is that you and your family get fantastic medical care from one location.

If required, you can have an xray at Capital Radiology at Western Private hospital 50 metres down the road, and we can review the digital images together with you shortly after. Other specialists like the orthopaedic surgeon or physiotherapist are just down the road.

We opened this clinic because we wanted to create a workplace where people love to come to work, are well supported and therefore are able to provide you with the best care. You know that over-stretched image of the good old GPs where you are warmly welcome and truly looked after? Well – that is truly the idea. Whether it’s your own medical needs from preconception, pregnancy care to baby and toddler issues. Or the very distinct medical needs of teenagers and young adults. Your work/life balance as parents or grandparents, up to your doctor being there during times of severe illness or even a life limiting illness.

Eleanor Clinic has been a long time in the making, so our smallest children accompanied us to lots of meetings. You might imagine how this went better on some days than on others. Architects, builders, craftspeople, lawyers, accountants, furniture shops, IT consultants – everyone involved underwent the little children exposure test – multiple times. We can attest that everyone involved in our adventure has been truly tested and is now certified kids friendly.

In making Eleanor Clinic a reality we had enormous support from the Northside Clinic and the GLBTIQ community. We are committed to provide an environment that is safe and inclusive for all – regardless of sexual orientation, sex or gender identity. Naturally, we provide comprehensive testing for and treatment of sexually transmitted infections and HIV.

Our surroundings have a large role in bringing joy into our lives. We made use of recycled materials in renovating the clinic building and chose the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly options available. And while beautiful rooms are one thing, enjoying nature and the outdoors is something else completely. So we created an outdoor garden for our patients to enjoy.

So there you have it: Eleanor Clinic has well and truly come together through the help of so many people. And it keeps being shaped by those who come here together.