When love isn’t love anymore

Written by guest blogger Amanda Watts

You may not be being hit, punched, pushed or restrained for it to be domestic violence. What looks like jealous behaviour or protectiveness, might reveal an attitude around ownership and lack of respect. A partner can go from charming, to possessive, tense, angry and explosive, and to apologies and promises and back again. A pattern of emotionally abusive behaviour can escalate into physical violence to the point where often the victim wonders – how did I end up here?

Abusive relationships can have you feeling exhausted, increasingly bad about yourself, walking on eggshells, fearing aggressive reactions, losing trust in yourself and others, becoming isolated from friends and silencing your own viewpoints.

Domestic violence is a pattern of abuse of power and control within a personal relationship and can include: physical assaults, sexual assaults, psychological abuse (verbal put-downs, mind games, controlling behaviour), social abuse (isolating their partner from friends and supports) and economic abuse (controlling access to money). Most victims are women, by a male partner, and children. In relatively fewer situations men experience abuse within a relationship, though the abuse is usually less violent and less persistent. In situations where women use violence in a relationship it is often in self-defence or after a long period of suffering abuse from a male partner, and where they have experienced fear for their own safety. Incidences where women use control and violence as a pattern in relationship are relatively few. Domestic violence also occurs in some same sex relationships.

The effects of Domestic Violence can include homelessness, broken relationships, fear, trouble sleeping, depression, financial losses, physical injuries and death. More broadly there are significant costs to the community in health, housing, policing resources for example.

The White Ribbon Australia Campaign annually invites men and women to take action to eradicate violence against women in a 16 day campaign from 25th November through to Human Rights Day (December 10). This includes raising awareness and not tolerating violence and attitudes which support it.

 Healthy relationships are ones in which you are respected, can have your own opinions, and where violence is not accepted or tolerated.

It is possible to leave violence behind. If you want practical help or to check out more:

The Domestic Violence Hotline can put you in touch with services or talk through your situation with you – 1800 65 6463

The Resource Centre, located in Newcastle CBD, can be a first port of call for advice and information and linking to local supports including refuges 49278529

Victims Services NSW – Information, access to counselling and financial help 1800 633 063

VOCAL (Victims of Crime Assistance League) – support and help dealing with the legal systems 49614755

Police – ask for a Domestic Violence liaison officer (specialist)



Amanda Watts is a Counsellor in the Student Counselling Service, and an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker in private practice


Skype Drop-In hours

Congratulations on the end of semester 2, 2015.  Most of you are probably relaxing by a beach right now….or still sleeping. For those of you who are still studying for the year or those who might want to still want to reach out this year the Skype Drop-ins are going to operate as follows:

23 November – 18th December

  • Thursday 2:30-3:30pm and 8-9pm
  • Friday 9-10 am

We will be closed from then until the 11th January when we will operate reduced hours until 1st February as follows:


  • Thursday 2:30-3:30pm and 8-9pm
  • Friday 10- 11 am

From the 1st February we will resume the normal operating hours. We will also be adding a couple of additional times in 2016, so stay tuned for announcements early next year.


Touched by loss

Sometimes there are few words that make sense. These are the times I find myself thinking of loss. The loss of life, loss of function, loss of love or loss of self. Loss rarely makes sense and is rarely welcomed by any. The combination of all these losses along with a loss of freedom is where we suffer the most. Where words fail to provide the comfort that we seek. The loss suffered in Paris these last few days is such a loss.

You do not have to have lost someone you knew or to have been there to be touched by this loss. For some it may trigger the memory of a previous loss and re-open the pain that they felt at this time. For others it may be felt in the fear they have for future loss. Or for some is may be the actual loss they suffered in the last few days from these senseless attacks in Paris. Regardless of how this loss is felt if you would like to talk with someone about it then please contact either the Online Counsellor or Counselling Service at UON for an appointment. You can also access support during the Skype Drop-in times or you can contact Lifeline either via phone or online for support.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Does anyone else ever catch their reflection in a mirror or a glass shop front and think “Is that really what I look like?” or find themselves wondering why the clothes never look as good on them as they do the models who advertise them? I do and yes before you ask I often feel like I should make more of an effort with my physical appearance because I don’t conform to the norm I see on TV. But truth be told I’m happy with how I look (well mostly anyway).

I don’t find myself worrying about my shape or appearance frequently. I don’t day dream about or investigate how to alter parts of my body cosmetically, or through hard work at the gym. I don’t obsess about what I’m wearing before I leave the house each day (although I do for special occasions). I accept that there are aspects of my body I can’t change. For instance I am never going to be taller, and I won’t have high cheekbones and my thighs will always be more muscular than most females – I’ll thank my dad for that genetic gem!

But if you do find yourself wanting to change these impossibilities, spending wasted time worrying about your body image or missing out on fun things because of your obsession with your appearance you might want to talk to someone about it. Or alternatively check out some tips on how you can improve your perception of yourself:

  1. Start questioning the messages the media sends – don’t compare yourself to the models and celebrities who promote products.
  2. Give your body the praise it deserves and appreciate the functions it serves.
  3. Chose what media influence you allow in your life and how much of an influence it will be
  4. Find your own individual style rather than that you see in the media
  5. Treat others how you want to be treated and stop judging them by appearance
  6. Don’t over regulate your food through fad diets, listen to your body and eat what makes you feel energised and awake.

People often assume that it’s only females who have poor perceptions of their bodies but increasing numbers of men are also struggling with the media projected images of what attractive is. So male or female if you are wasting valuable study or socialising time worrying about what you look like it might be time to reach out and ask for some help.

Stop Worry Time

Is there a better time to talk about worry than now, exam time. Reach Out and CCI have developed an app called Worry Time which allows you to track and store your worries for later in the day and allow you to focus on the present moment.  To start with you will need to set up your worry time. I chose at the end of the day and allowed myself 5 minutes to spend at the end of each day worrying about the thoughts I had during the day.  You can store each worry you have and each time it enters your head you can track it by hitting the little cloud button. Then when worry time comes up you will get a reminder and you have the opportunity to sit and worry about each of these thoughts or situations. You can also plan an action to help reduce your worry at that time. When the time you set is up then you have to wait till the next day at that time to worry again.

Whilst the app doesn’t give you tips on how to stop the worries altogether it does help you limit the time you waste thinking about them and stop you losing the time you could be spending do something more enjoyable.

What’s good about it: it is really simple to use and you don’t need to set up a profile.

What’s not so good about it: It could be even better if it suggested a few tips for how to decrease your worry or how to challenge some of your negative thoughts. Maybe though it’s best left simple and maybe use something like Mindshift to do that?

All roads lead to success

Well it’s that time of the year when students start to panic about exams and end of year results. Well not all of you but definitely a fair few of you. You start calculating how many marks you need to pass the course and for others you have already given up hope of passing and you are already wondering how to squeeze 5 subjects into next semester or wondering if you have chosen the right degree? I can recall feeling this way most of my degree, the wondering if I got it right – my career path that is.

When I first started out at UON as a student I was enrolled in my Bachelor of Science (Psychology) degree, although this was a temporary plan as I really wanted to be a journalist. So I did some first year communications subjects in my first year as well as science and psychology. Turns out my love for journalism died with those subjects and my passion for science, well geography really started (Not chemistry though – I failed CHEM101). So I crammed all the geography subjects in I could and thought I’ll change to B.Sc and finish after 3 years. Then disaster struck, my favourite lecturer left and the subjects I wanted were no longer available, so back to Psychology it was. I loved third year Psychology and I have loved my career, even if it is a mile from where I thought I wanted to be.

So what’s my point you ask. You can fail a subject, change your mind about your degree and be unsure about each decision you make at any time, or all the time and still come out the other end successful. There is no one clear pathway to success and there are no right or wrong decisions, just choices. Some of our greatest successes come from failures and these failures are what make us more determined to achieve. They are not things to be ashamed of and our time is never wasted because from these comes growth.

So as you prepare for your exams and wind up this semester remember there are many pathways to success and the road doesn’t have to be smooth. You can change direction from time to time and still achieve your dream at the end.


The material or views expressed on this Blog are those of the author and do not represent those of the University.  Please report any offensive or improper use of this Blog to RPS@newcastle.edu.au.
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