Vicki Morgan                   972.267.1111
                           [email protected]



Psychotherapist Offers Tips for Women in Abusive Relationships

This Fourth of July can be a show-stopping fireworks display in the sky, or for some women, a show of independence from the reality of crippling personal fireworks of hurtful emotion and abuse. Dallas psychotherapist and founder of Lifeworks Counseling Associates, Melanie Wells, believes in the importance of educating women and adolescent girls about the signs and dangers of abusive relationships.

“Women should remember that not all abuse is physical,” said Wells. “Abuse is often hard to spot and includes a wide spectrum of behaviors.”

Wells offers four warning signs to women who believe they could be involved in an abusive relationship. “Confusion is often the first sign,” says Wells. “If you’re frequently confused by your partner’s behavior and find yourself saying, ‘It’s like he’s two different people,’ then pay attention to how you feel when you’re with this man.”

According to Wells, abusive relationships are regularly characterized by feelings of fear, guilt and shame. “Abused women are always trying to ‘fix’ themselves rather than paying attention to how they’re being treated. Eventually, they become overwhelmed with self-doubt.”

Another sign is that unhealthy behaviors often go unnoticed because they have become normal to those involved. “The tension is such a constant in abusive marriages that women in these situations often don’t notice the fear they feel. Emotions in these households are contagious. If Dad is mad, everyone else in the family feels tense and afraid.”

Wells also points to “loss of self” as a marker of abusive relationships. She states that when women spend more time trying to figure out how he feels, what he’s done and why – rather than asking themselves, ‘How is this affecting me and what am I going to do about it on my own behalf?,” they’ve lost who they are.

Finally, Wells contends that the most difficult sign to spot is when women blur the lines between acceptable vs. abusive behavior. When this happens they have become abuse-able and are actually participating in the abuse by tolerating it or lying to themselves about it.

“If your daughter were in a relationship that looked like yours, what would you tell her?” says Wells. “If you’d tell her to ‘get out now,’ then that should be your response, too. While July 4th is a reminder, don’t wait until a benchmark holiday to address abuse in your relationship. Declare your independence now.”

For additional information regarding handling abuse and other relational difficulties, visit Lifeworks’ Web site at Along with being a licensed therapist, Wells also is author of a series of fictional psychological thrillers, “When the Day of Evil Comes,” “The Soul Hunter,” and “My Soul to Keep.” All books incorporate her experience as a psychotherapist and are available at bookstores and online retailers. Visit for information.

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NOTE TO EDITORS: For more information about Melanie Wells, please visit To arrange an interview with Wells please contact Vicki Morgan at 972.267.1111 or via e-mail at [email protected].


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