Many people may hear the term domestic violence and automatically think of physical abuse, but there can be several types of domestic violence, including emotional, psychological, digital, financial, and sexual violence. These types of domestic violence can be just as damaging to the survivor as physical abuse. For this reason, it may help to understand the various types of violence and seek help if you need it. Below, we'll talk about the signs of domestic violence and how it affects survivors.
Signs Of Domestic Violence: Physical
Some signs of physical abuse appear as a result hitting, kicking, shoving, slapping, or using weapons to inflict harm. However, there are other types of physical violence.
For example, physical domestic violence may include someone controlling what and when you can eat or sleep, forcing you to use drugs or alcohol, or keeping you from seeking treatment when you need it, whether from the police, medical professionals, or anyone else.
Signs Of Domestic Violence: Emotional
In addition, they may act jealous or possessive, withhold affection as a punishment or lie to you. They may also intentionally cheat to inflict pain or to serve as a type of punishment. These actions can affect how you feel about yourself and cause you to feel even more dependent on them, even though they make you feel worse.
Signs Of Domestic Violence: Psychological
Psychological abuse is sometimes confused with emotional abuse, but it can be quite different. For example, psychological abuse can cause you to question your version of reality and your sanity, which is often called gaslighting.
With psychological abuse, the abuser might also threaten to hurt you or those you care about (including other individuals in the family, children, or pets). They may dictate what you can do and with whom or control what you wear.
They may also blame you for the abuse, making you feel like if you did better, you would be able to stop them from “having to” do it in the first place. They may also steal or damage your belongings.
Signs Of Domestic Violence: Sexual And Reproductive
An abuser may force you to perform different sexual acts that you don't want to or simply when you don't want to. In addition, they may demand sex or harm you during sex through physical means, such as hitting or choking.
An abuser may also force you to watch pornography or insult you in sexual ways or regarding sexual aspects. This can also carry over into reproductive abuse, where the abuser may refuse to allow you the use of birth control or refuse to use birth control themselves. They may sabotage your efforts not to get pregnant or force you to get pregnant. They may also try to force you to get (or not get) an abortion.
Signs Of Domestic Violence: Financial
Someone who is abusive may tell you what you can and can't buy or watch how you spend your money. Additionally, they may spend your money and charge purchases to your credit cards, which can affect your credit score, your available credit, and your ability to obtain loans.
Signs Of Domestic Violence: Digital
A person who commits digital abuse may send you threats via digital means, such as text messages, emails, or social media. They may also track you through these means.
They may punishing you for not answering their calls or texts and require you to constantly be available via your phone. Any method that uses digital technology to keep track of you or to control you may be considered digital domestic violence.
Signs Of Domestic Violence: Stalking
Someone who follows you or spies on you, whether physically or via social media or other means, may be stalking you. For example, they may send you packages, letters, or text messages you don't want, even if you have requested them not to send them.
They may continue to call you at home or even at your place of work even after you have told them not to do so. They might continue to follow and monitor your every move, no matter where you go.
What You Should Know About Domestic Violence
These types of domestic violence can occur in any combination, and they may not be exclusively to a romantic partner. “Intimate partner violence” refers to violence that is inflicted by a person with whom you have or have had an intimate relationship, but “domestic violence” could happen in any type of relationship in the home, including relationships with siblings, uncles, aunts, and parents.
Getting help when you believe you are experiencing domestic violence may help you not only end the abuse but also heal emotionally.
The trauma of experiencing domestic violence can continue to affect you, even after you think you've overcome it. Symptoms can occur long after the event is over and could make it difficult for you to enter into any relationship or trust another person. However, there is help available through professional counseling.
Help Is Available For Domestic Violence
If for some reason you don’t feel comfortable visiting a therapist’s office, you might consider online therapy, which research has shown to be as effective as in-office therapy. With online therapy, you can connect with a licensed counselor from home or anywhere you feel safe via phone or video chat. For example, if you don’t feel safe at home, you can talk to a therapist from a friend’s house or from anywhere with an internet connection.
With BetterHelp, you can be matched with a licensed counselor who has experience helping people navigate domestic violence situations. Take the first step to getting support for domestic violence and contact BetterHelp today.
Which are the 3 main warning signs that someone may be an abuser?
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, three signs that a person may be an abuser could include:
- Abusers may blame their behavior on external sources, such as their substance use, stress at work or school, or their partner and other loved ones. In addition, abusers may minimize the severity of their abuse or claim that it isn’t occurring at all, which may be referred to as ‘gaslighting.’
- Abusers may maintain a pleasant and charming demeanor between instances of violence. In some cases, a person may be known as a kind person to friends and other loved ones, which could make it more difficult for a survivor to get assistance.
- Abusers may be possessive and treat other individuals as though they were objects. This behavior may be a way to justify their verbal and physical abuse, as they may see others as less important or of lower value than themselves. These types of mindsets can be rooted in a sense of worthlessness and low self-esteem, two traits that abusers typically possess.
What are the 7 signs of emotional abuse?
There are a variety of signs one can look for if they believe they are experiencing emotional abuse, including:
- Isolation From Others: Abusers may isolate you from friends and other loved ones in order to have more control over you.
- Verbal Abuse: Emotional abuse can often take the form of insults meant to belittle you or lower your confidence.
- Possessiveness: Possessive behavior can often manifest as controlling where someone goes, who they see, and treating a partner like an object. Emotional abusers may display possessive traits for multiple reasons, including a fear of abandonment or rejection.
- Anger Episodes: Episodes involving angry outbursts are a common feature of emotional abuse. These outbursts may involve yelling, threatening body language, and, in some cases, physical violence.
- Disrespect of Boundaries: Abusers will often disrespect boundaries set by loved ones or deny that the boundary ever existed.
- Weaponizing Sensitive Info: Information that you tell an abuser may be used against you in order to maintain control.
- Gaslighting: Gaslighting is a form of abuse that typically involves manipulation and lying meant to make a person question their reality. By confusing a person and making them doubt themselves, an abuser may be able to convince them their behavior is acceptable.
What are 5 facts about domestic violence?
Here are five facts about domestic violence provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- In the United States, 10 million people are physically abused by an intimate partner each year, an average of 20 people per minute.
- There are an average of 20,000 phone daily phone calls to domestic violence hotlines throughout the United States.
- 1 in 7 men and 1 in 4 women will experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their life.
- 19% of domestic violence involves the use of a weapon; in addition, the presence of a gun increases the risk of homicide by 500%.
- Only 34% of individuals who have an injury from intimate partner violence will seek medical treatment.
Which of the following are signs and symptoms of abuse?
The signs of abuse may vary depending on what type of abuse is occurring and who is experiencing it. For example, in situations involving domestic abuse, signs to look for may include:
- Injuries like cuts, bruises, and sprained or broken bones. In some cases, the individual experiencing the abuse may not be able to explain why they are injured, which may indicate they are hiding what an abuser’s behavior is.
- High levels of anxiety, emotional instability, and persistent feelings of sadness
- Strong reactions to fast movements, such as flinching when someone moves quickly
- Withdrawal from social groups or avoidance of loved ones
- Struggling to sleep
- An inability to get finances (often due to an abuser controlling one’s bank accounts and credit cards.) Financial abuse may be exacerbated when partners have disparate economic levels
What are signs of narcissistic abuse?
Each abuse situation can be different, and some abusive relationships may be more difficult to identify than others. Here are a few warning signs of abuse one may see in a person with narcissistic traits.
- Projection: Individuals with narcissistic tendencies may project their own behavior onto a partner in order to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. For example, if an abuser breaks a table during an angry outburst, they may claim that their partner broke it instead.
- Threats: Common signs of domestic abuse may also include threats of physical violence. These threats may take numerous forms, including curling up one's hand into a fist and gesturing as though they will hit someone, telling a person that they will “kill them” or “hurt them,” or giving threatening looks to a partner’s loved ones.
- Insults: Insults are often used by abusers with narcissistic traits in order to undermine a partner’s confidence. This is designed to devalue a person and make them question their own behavior. In addition, devaluing can allow an abuser to better control an individual, as they may begin to experience lower self-esteem or question their identity outside of a relationship.
What are four signs of emotional abuse?
While there can be many ways to recognize emotional abuse, four red flags could include the following.
- Emotional Instability: A person who has experienced emotional abuse may have difficulty regulating their emotions, which could lead to uncontrollable feelings of sadness, overwhelming anger, and high levels of anxiety.
- Struggles with Self-Esteem: Survivors of abuse may have been subjected to insults and multiple devaluation attempts; as a result, they may have a difficult time maintaining healthy self-esteem and self-image.
- Lack of Interest in Previous Passions: A person who has been emotionally abused may have a difficult time enjoying previous interests and passions. In some cases, an abuser may specifically target these passions in order to inflict more harm on their partner.
- Difficulty Maintaining Relationships: Due to the traumatic harm that an abusive relationship can cause, it may be difficult for a survivor to maintain healthy relationships in the future.
What is an example of narcissistic abuse?
One common element of abuse can be a manipulation tactic known as gaslighting. This form of manipulation involves making another person doubt their experiences or recollections of an event in order to gain control in a relationship. One example of gaslighting can be seen with instances of infidelity. An abusive partner may be caught cheating, only to claim that any evidence proving their infidelity was fabricated or that their partner is “just jealous and crazy.” As a result, the individual being gaslit may question whether their partner was cheating at all, helping the abuser to avoid consequences while lowering their partner's confidence in their own memory.
What are the 5 cycles of emotional abuse?
The 5 cycles of emotional abuse, as referred to in Sarakay Smullens’s Five Cycles of Emotional Abuse: Codification and Treatment of an Invisible Malignancy, are enmeshment, extreme overprotection, and overindulgence, complete neglect, rage, and abandonment/rejection. In a romantic partnership, these five cycles may play out in the following way.
- Enmeshment: The abuser will combine their life with their partners, often refusing to allow them to have a separate identity. This may be done under the guise of getting close to someone while actually being for the purposes of control.
- Overprotection and Overindulgence: Abusers will then become exceedingly protective of their partners, restricting where they can go and who they can see. This phase may also involve frequent gifts and praise from an abuser in a manipulation tactic known as “love bombing.”
- Complete Neglect: The abuser will begin to neglect their partner, avoiding their calls, refusing to help them, and ignoring them when they are around.
- Rage: Informing an abuser of their neglect or other behavior may cause them to become rageful, which can involve verbal abuse, threats, and even instances of physical violence.
- Abandonment/Rejection: After some time, an abuser may abandon a relationship in order to find new individuals who aren’t aware of their abusive behavior. In many cases, an abuser may return to an old relationship in order to begin the cycle again.
What are 6 behaviors that indicate emotional abuse?
Six behaviors that indicate a person may be an emotional abuser could include the following.
- Controlling Behavior: Abusers may display many controlling behaviors that may range from restricting what a person can wear, how they get their own money, and what decisions they make.
- Humiliation: Abusers may also humiliate a person in order to lower their self-esteem, often by using information they have in order to shame them. These individuals may also frequently insult their partners in subtle ways, like by casually pointing out insecurities, as a way to damage their self-esteem.
- Lying: Emotional abusers may frequently lie, especially if they have been caught in a compromising situation. This plays into a commonly used tactic known as ‘gaslighting,’ a method of manipulation that can cause an individual to question their own thoughts and perceptions of reality.
- Threats of Violence: Implied or implicit threats of violence are also a common hallmark of emotional abuse. These threats may be directed at a number of targets, including toward a partner or their family, friends, or pets.
- Destruction of Property: Emotional abusers may destroy property as a way to intimidate or control the actions of their partner. These displays may be a way for an abuser to show what they are physically capable of without specifically injuring another person.
- Extreme Jealousy: Abusers can be overprotective and excessively jealous in order to further control their partners. As a result, they may tell them where they can go and what they can do, which can cause further isolation from friends and family.
What is short domestic violence?
The phrase “short domestic violence” may refer to short domestic violence screening tools, such as HITS, a 4-part questionnaire that may be used as a method of domestic violence screening. The acronym HITS stands for Hurt, Insulted, Threatened, and Screamed. The HITS test is typically administered by a physician who will ask whether a partner has been physically violent to the point of causing injury, insulted someone, threatened a person with harm, or screamed at them. One study showed that the HITS scale showed “good internal consistency and concurrent validity with the CTS verbal and physical aggression items'', which may indicate it could be an effective screening tool for domestic violence.
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