How Does Domestic Violence Affect You?


Whether or not domestic violence affects you personally, someone you know may be dealing with it.  Some domestic violence situations are blatantly obvious, but that is not always the case.  You may know someone who is living with domestic violence and you are not even aware of it.  Some people are very good at disguising a situation in which some sort of abuse is occurring.  It is important to be aware of what may be going on with others because you quite possibly could save someone's life.  I am not condoning or promoting being a busybody, but there are signs you can look out for that may indicate that abuse is taking place.

Can Domestic Violence Be Non-Physical?

Abuse comes in many forms.  Often it is physical but not always.  Many abusers would never physically cause harm to another person.  However, they may act in a way that causes mental or emotional distress.  Statements may be made about the victim's appearance, speech, or behavior that are intended to demean or devalue the victim.  One way I experienced this is because I like to go barefoot, my abuser would tell me I was an oakie.  I was also once told that I did not know how to use a hammer as I was walking through the house with a hammer in my hand.

walking path bordered by trees with pink flowers

These may seem like little issues that are no big deal.  But abuse often starts with subtle little jabs such as this.  Now, I'm not saying that every little thing is to be a red flag for abuse.  Sometimes, people thoughtlessly make comments that they later regret when it is brought to their attention.  But when these types of things are consistently made out of malice and progressively increase in intensity it is not okay.  In such cases, this is an attack on the victim's mental and/or emotional health and it can be devastating.

How Does Domestic Violence Start?

Some may wonder why victims get into abusive relationships in the first place.  Those who are being abused did not go out in search of a person who would treat them bad.  Nor do abusers initiate a relationship in an abusive manner.  Quite often, abusers act in a way that is quite charming when they are in seek of prey.  They compliment the intended victim.  They buy the target nice gifts.  They go out of their way to make the unsuspecting individual feel special.  Then, gradually, over time subtle changes occur in the abusers behavior and before the innocent party realizes it he or she is caught in a tumultuous situation.

How Does Domestic Violence Affect the Victim?

Domestic violence can cause a variety of problems for the one being abused.  Stress is one of the most common side effects of being abused.  Other issues that can stem from abuse are headaches or other types of pain, anxiety, panic attacks, loss of sleep, depression, confusion, and detachment from those they are close to.  These are just some of the effects abuse can have on a person.  

Why Don't the Victims Just Leave?

It is important not to put the blame on the victim.  Asking a victim of abuse why he or she does not leave is doing just that.  Sometimes, an individual who is being abused does not feel they can leave.  They may be afraid to leave because the abuser threatened to hurt them in some way if they leave.  They might feel that they are not able to make it on their own financially, emotionally, or physically.  Or the abuser may have damaged the victim's self-esteem and confidence, causing the victim to feel that they are not able to manage their life on their own.  

blue sky, clouds, and trees

Something else to keep in mind is the victim may not even realize he or she is in an abusive situation and, therefore, does not see the need to escape.  This is what happened to me.  I spent 17 years in an abusive marriage before I realized the monster had slowly turned my brain to mush.  Had the abuse been physical, I would have made a drastic change much sooner.  However, years of gradual, subtle comments, sideways looks, and intimidating action eroded away my ability to reason effectively and make good decisions.  It is crucial to take into consideration that the victim does not even realize there is a huge problem that needs to be fixed.

How Can Domestic Violence Be Prevented?

Each of us needs to be alert to how others are treating us.  We engage in many healthy, fulfilling relationships every day.  But we must keep on the lookout for inappropriate behavior designed to cause harm, even in subtle ways.  It is just as important to watch out for others.  Ultimately, each person has to make his or her own decision about who to have a relationship with, but friends and loved ones can help.  We all need to stay aware and kindly mention any type of behavior that may not be in the best interest of the affected individual.  

purple flower

It would not be okay to try to make a decision for another person or to push someone else to make any specific decision.  However, if there are indications that something is awry it would be prudent to help the potential victim look at the situation honestly.  This needs to be done in a manner that lets the individual know that you care about them and want what is best for them.  Otherwise, it might cause the person to rush right into the relationship out of spite or to prove you wrong.  These situations must be handled with great care.

Will There Ever Be An End To Abuse?

There are a lot of organizations out there working to help those who are being abused.  There are websites, phone numbers, functions that are scheduled, and centers all over the country designed to help victims cope with their situations.  Hard-working people spend countless hours trying to help victims and their abusers get counseling and other treatment every day.  Still, it seems the problem only keeps getting worse and many wonder whether the dilemma will ever be conquered.  There is a solution and there will be an end to abuse.  You can learn more about how that will happen here.  For more information, send me a private message here or on my Facebook page.  

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