Experiencing abuse can affect how we feel and how we respond to other people and the world around us. Our responses to abuse help us to survive and cope with the abuse and its traumatic effects, but these same responses can sometimes create obstacles to our safety, well-being, and life goals.

If someone is abusing you, you might feel scared, hurt, sad, confused, angry, embarrassed, or hopeless. Many people have feelings like these when they are being abused or after leaving an abusive relationship.

Your abuser may tell you that something is wrong with you, that you are “crazy,” or that no one will believe you because of your mental health condition.

Your abuser may force you to use alcohol or other drugs or control your access to alcohol or other drugs. You might use alcohol or other drugs to survive and cope with the abuse.

You are not alone.

To learn more about how abuse might affect your mental health and how abusers may use mental health or substance abuse as part of abuse and control, click on the links below.

For more information about supporting a friend or family member who is in an abusive relationship, see When Someone You Know is Being Abused.

For a list of national, state, and Chicago-based organizations that may be able to provide you with additional resources on domestic violence and/or mental health, visit the Resources section of this site.

The National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health provides training and technical assistance to advocates and service providers who are working with survivors and their children. We do not provide counseling or direct services. If you or someone you know needs help locating local resources (including counseling services) for survivors of domestic violence or their children, call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (P) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

  • Get Help Now

    National Domestic Violence Hotline
    1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

    National Sexual Assault Hotline
    1-800-656-HOPE (4673) (online hotline)

    National Sexual Violence Resource Center

    Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network

    For resources on teen dating violence visit: