Every relationship is unique in its own way. While we can’t define a ‘normal’ relationship, there is a clear difference between what’s healthy and what’s unhealthy in a relationship. If you notice some change in behavior with your partner or someone you care about and start suspecting domestic abuse, here are some negative signs to pay attention to that can save lives.
Emotional signs of domestic abuse
There are various types of domestic abuse, emotional one being the most common and the hardest to recognize. Abuse of any kind takes a serious emotional toll on the victim, making them feel helpless, hopeless and desperate.
Most common emotional signs of domestic abuse are:
- Anxiety and agitation
- Change in sleep habits
- Developing drinking habits or drug abuse
- Extreme apologetic behaviors
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activates
- Low self-esteem
- Talking about or attempting suicide
Victims also often show signs of constant alertness to the point of being completely unable to relax. All of these symptoms could be signs of other environmental factors, but they are also typically seen in victims of domestic abuse who are unable to escape an abusive partner.
Physical signs of domestic abuse
The most obvious sign of domestic abuse is physical abuse. Someone who’s being physically abused might have frequent bruises or other physical injuries caused by punching, choking or being knocked down on the ground. Watch out for their explanation for these injuries and see whether their report is weak or inconsistent.
Some of the most common signs of physical abuse are:
- Black eye
- Arm bruises
- Cut lips
- Purple or red marks on the neck
- Sprain wrists or shoulders
Victims of physical abuse often try their best to cover up the signs with clothing or makeup. You might notice that someone is wearing long sleeves or scarves even in the summer when it’s hot outside. Wearing more makeup than usual or having dark sunglasses inside is also a way to cover up the signs of abuse.
One of the best things you can do in this life-threatening situation is to report abuse and help the victim with finding a good lawyer. If you’re lucky to live in a country with a developed legal system like Australia, it won’t be hard to find someone with experience. Victims can rely on experienced criminal lawyers in Sydney who can take their case and help with any legal issues. Best law firms even offer affordable representation programs for victims of abuse with a limited budget. To help the lawyer and make the case stronger, it’s best to provide notes of specific incidents, take photos, dates and any important info that can be used down the road.
Controlling signs of abuse
Oftentimes, domestic abuse is not about any type of violence, but about control. If you notice your partner is controlling or being extremely manipulative, it could be a major red flag that can lead to other types of abuse.
Some examples of controlling behavior are:
- Having to ask permission to go places, see people and do stuff
- Receiving constant calls and text, being tracked by your partner and having to give reports on where you are and what you’re doing and with whom, being gaslighted
- Having minimal funds available to them, no access to credit card, or having to answer for every dollar spent
- No access to a vehicle
- Being referred to by their partner as “jealous” or always accusing them of being unfaithful
Signs of fear
Abused people often show signs of anxiety and nervousness when away from their domestic partner, or they seem too eager to please them. If the children are in the picture, they might seem timid, shy or extremely well-behaved when the abuser is around. Even though victims tend to avoid the subject of abuse, they might often use words like “moody” or “temperamental” when talking about their partner, especially when the partner is drinking alcohol.
In some cases, the fear is so intense that the victim feels paralyzed when it comes to making decisions or protecting themselves of the children. When this happens, they might even choose to turn down help offers from friends and family, so it’s important to treat them with kindness, understanding and patience if you want to help.
Recognizing signs of domestic abuse is a skill that can save lives and come in handy in many situations, especially for women. So, study this text and don’t be scared to speak up—help is always here!