Episode 73: Recognizing and Recovering From Abusive Relationships with Heather Kent

Today’s guest is two-time bestselling author, registered psychotherapist and trauma recovery expert Heather Kent. We’re excited to have her here with us to discuss the difficult process of recognizing and recovering from an abusive relationship.

Heather learned about abusive relationships through painful firsthand experience, and she’ll share some of the details of her own harrowing journey in and out of an abusive, toxic relationship that lasted for eight years. Her story is gut-wrenching. For some listeners, it will sound unfortunately familiar.

The Myth of “That Could Never Happen to Me”

If you’ve never been in an abusive relationship, it can be difficult to imagine how you could end up with someone that made you fear for your safety. It’s common for men and women both to say, “That could never happen to me. I wouldn’t tolerate someone treating me like that.”

If abusive relationships began with physical or emotional violence or other controlling, degrading behavior, no one would put up with it. However, abusers are often charismatic, fun and exciting to be around at first.

Because abusers are experts when it comes to manipulation and gaslighting, it can be difficult to recognize when the abuse starts. Survivors often blame themselves or feel guilty. They believe that if they were better people, then maybe their partners would treat them well. If you’ve been in an abusive relationship, the way you were treated wasn’t your fault.

Different Types of Abuse

When most people think about domestic abuse, it’s often physical violence that comes to mind. Often, however, physical violence isn’t present in an abusive relationship. It doesn’t have to be in order for the relationship to be classified as abusive. When physical violence is present, there’s almost always other types of abuse present as well.

Other types of abuse include:

  • Emotional abuse.
  • Sexual abuse.
  • Sexual coercion.
  • Reproductive coercion.
  • Financial abuse.
  • Digital abuse.
  • Stalking.

If anything Heather has said today resonates with you, know that you’re not alone. For immediate help, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s website now. If you’re worried your partner is monitoring your internet usage, you can call the hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or text “START” to 88788.

If you have escaped from an abusive relationship and would like to book a consultation with Heather or access some of the resources she has to offer, check out her website today. Right now, both of her phenomenal, best-selling books are available online for free.