When we hear the term ‘domestic violence,’ we often have preconceived notions of who the typical victims of abusers are.
Maybe based on race, socioeconomic status, personality traits, gender, etc.
But the truth is, domestic violence and intimate partner abuse can happen to anyone, anywhere.
If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner, or if your partner belittles, threatens, or tries to control you, you may be in an abusive relationship.
Abusive relationships can lead to low self-esteem, helplessness, worthlessness, and desperation.
Contrary to popular belief, domestic violence and abuse don’t have to involve physical violence.
Physical violence is only one aspect of the power and control that batterers exert over their partners.
Perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse may use intimidation, threats to harm pets or children, insults, or financial dependence to exert power and control over their partners to make them feel less-than.
In a loving partnership, both partners have equal say and power is not a factor.
Perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse, also known as batterers, can be any gender or size.
Many people may not realize it, but same-sex couples can experience domestic violence and women can perpetrate domestic violence against men.
It doesn’t matter if the batterer is physically smaller than their partner, they can still be capable of instilling fear and humiliation in their partners in order to control them.
SIGNS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND INTIMATE PARTNER ABUSE
Acknowledging the signs of an abusive relationship is the first step to stopping it.
The most telling sign of Domestic Violence and
Intimate Partner Abuse is being afraid of your partner.
People who are abused may:
- Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner
- Go along with everything their partner says and does
- Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they are doing
- Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner
- Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness
- Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”
- Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation
- Dress in full-length clothing to hide bruises or scars
- Be restricted from seeing family and friends
- Rarely go out in public without their partner
- Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car
- Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident
- Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)
- Experience depression, anxiety, self-harm, or suicidal thoughts
TYPES OF ABUSE
Once you are able to identify abusive behaviors, you can begin to take steps necessary to stop them from happening.
Types of abuse include:
- Verbal abuse is much more severe than a typical argument. In normal arguments, you or your partner might have an outburst, but end up working it out.
- With verbal abuse, however, the abusive partner often yells at you, makes you feel extremely guilty about things you might have done in the past, blames you for all of the arguments, or even demands credit for not hitting you during an argument.
PSYCHOLOGICAL (also known as Mental Abuse or Emotional Abuse)
- This can be the most damaging form of abuse even though it’s largely unseen because the “scars” are internal, rather than external.
- This can include anything from calling you names, to making you feel worthless, guilt-tripping you, or threatening you.
- Psychological abuse can also come in the form of “gaslighting,” which is when the abusive partner tries to make you question your reality and sanity.
- This is the most common, recognizable form of abuse. This can occur in various forms, such as hitting, kicking, punching, biting, slapping, or using any other forms of physical violence against the other partner.
- This type of abuse can include any type of sexual activity done to you without your consent. It can even come in the form of unwanted touching, rape, or withholding contraceptive methods such as hiding your birth control pills from you so that you are unable to take them.
- Sexual assault and rape can occur even in committed partnerships and marriages: no one is ever entitled to your body, not even your partner.
- This type of abuse can involve withholding finances from you or not providing you access to basic necessities such as food, healthcare, or water.
- This type of abuse can include any type of crime that is committed against you based on your ethnicity, religion, or any other personal characteristics.
We can help you heal and break free of the abusive cycles that are tearing you down and help restore your sense of peace and sanity.
No one should live in fear of the person they love.
If you recognize yourself or someone you know in an abusive relationship, please reach out.
Learn more about the cycle of violence and characteristics of batterers here.
OUR DV THERAPY METHODS
Therapy can successfully improve your life by helping you minimize the anxiety in your life, identify and change underlying thought and behavioral patterns that contribute to your struggles, and provide you with strategies to decrease discomfort while restoring an overall sense of peace.
To experience true and lasting joy in our life, we must face and conquer our pain by healing our underlying trauma and confronting our fears.
Our evidence-based, scientifically proven interventions are demonstrated by research to be effective in healing trauma that results from domestic violence and abuse.
WANT TO TALK? SPEAK WITH A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE EXPERT NOW
If you have any questions, contact one of our DV specialists for a free consultation any time.