WHEN I posted on Facebook the other day that I wasn't in the best of moods I got some funny feedback.
Lots of friends sent me virtual hugs, which was nice, but another Facebook friend suggested I hit one of our mutual male friends as "it would make me feel better and he wouldn't really notice".
Jokingly, I replied that I do this all the time, with a frying pan, and said it is great stress relief.
Of course I wasn't serious.
I'm quite mellow and I don't hit anyone. I may have been known to be a bit of a scrapper in my teenage years, but I can truthfully say that I have that well under control since leaving high school.
While having a laugh about it on Facebook, it made me a little sad all the same.
It's actually not at all funny if you consider that more than 50 domestic violence reports were made to Western Bay police each week in 2012.
Violence can be physical, sexual, psychological or financial. Survivors say psychological abuse attacks their spirit and self-esteem and its effects last the longest.
A story we published late last year about the subject said that New Zealand has a shameful domestic violence record with thousands of women suffering abuse at the hands of their partners.
Over the years, I have met plenty of others who were dealing with an abusive, aggressive, manipulative, and narcissistic partner. I have also seen the effects it has on children.
Just to set things straight, domestic violence and partner abuse does not only have women and children as victims. Men can be at the receiving end just as easily. Did you know that the most noticeable signs for future abuse in a new relationship can actually easily be mistaken for caring, attentive, and romantic behaviour?
If you Google domestic violence on the internet these are some of the warning signs you may find:
Abusers often come on very strong, and are extremely charming at first.
Someone wants to get very serious with you very quickly - saying "I love you" early in the relationship, wanting to move in together or get engaged after only a few months, or pressuring you for a serious commitment - should set the alarm bells off.
It's likely they will insist that you spend all or most of your time together, slowly but surely trying to alienate you from your friends and family. Abusers are often very jealous and may accuse you of flirting with others or being unfaithful to them for no apparent reason. They will often criticise you or your friends.
They will constantly ask you where you are going, who you are with, and they will screen the messages on your phone, look at your emails, and check up on you in other ways.
Abusers usually come across as overly sensitive and act hurt when they don't get what they want. They will take offence when others disagree with them, and get upset over nothing.
If you are worried about your safety, please do talk to someone and get out of the situation before it's too late. It can take time, and it takes courage, but you can do it.
You have to!
There is help available.
Don't hesitate to reach out to a friend, even though you may not have been in touch with that person for a long time. They will understand.
You can look online for information if you don't know where to start, for yourself or if you worry about someone you care about. Two useful links are areyouok.co.nz and 2shine.org.nz and you can also call the Family Violence information line on 0800 456 450 or the Shine Helpline on 05 08 744 633.
Whatever it is you do, please do something.
You are not alone.