I just found out that today marks the start of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This will hopefully raise awareness about what has become in many ways a silent epidemic. There so many men (yes men!), women and children caught up in situations in which they are subject to repeated abuse and which they feel powerless to change. In my practice, I have had occasion to treat several women who were in relationships that were abusive. What strikes me each and every time is the denial of just how abusive the relationship was and how they felt powerless to change it. Extricating oneself from an abusive situation is not easy. The abuser often has many fine qualities. Often the victim is afraid of reprisals. Additionally, the attachment between abuser and victim is very deep (albeit toxic). Fear of being unable to survive financially is also an issue. Nevertheless, with encouragement, the availability of resources, a non-judgmental ear and the presentation of viable options, victims can and do leave abusive relationships. If you or anyone you know is in an abusive relationship, get help. Your (and their) life may depend upon it.