Love, Heartbreak

3 Ways To Spot Domestic Violence In Relationships (Either Yours Or Someone You Love)

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What Is Domestic Violence? Warning Signs Of Emotional Abuse, Verbal Abuse, & Psychological Abuse In Relationships

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone. Regardless of age or gender, the people around you could be enduring various types of domestic abuse. Many people believe that domestic violence and abuse only occur when people physically harm one another.

This isn’t true. In fact, there's various types of domestic violence, including psychological abuse, emotional abuse, and physical abuse. And, there are various relationship red flags that indicate this type of abuse. 

So, what is domestic violence?

According to The Center Of Family Justice, the definition of domestic violence is: "Domestic abuse is a pattern of coercive, controlling behavior that is a pervasive life-threatening crime affecting people in all our communities regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, social standing and immigration status."


RELATED: I Was In An Abusive Marriage For 6 Years — And Had No Idea

Domestic abuse happens whenever someone in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to use power to control the other person. Most abusers want to wear down the other person, using tactics that include guilt, fear, shame, and intimidation.

Victims of domestic violence often have low self-esteem and confidence, anxiety, problems trusting others, and much more. It is a serious situation that can have a lifelong impact on those who survive it. And while many agree that domestic abuse is a big issue, many people don’t know how to identify signs of abusive relationships.

If you're wondering how to spot warning signs of domestic violence, here's what to do:

1. Do a self assessment

The following is a list of questions that you or your loved one can ask yourselves in order to determine if you're suffering from domestic violence:

Do you:

  • Feel afraid around your partner?
  • Wonder if you’re the one who is crazy in the relationship?
  • Purposely avoid topics or issues in fear or upsetting your partner?
  • Feel hopeless and numb when it comes to your relationship?

Does your partner:

  • Yell at and humiliate you?
  • Treat you in a way that you don’t want to be seen by your family? 
  • Invalidate your opinion or accomplishments?
  • See you as property instead of a person?
  • Hurt you or threaten to hurt you?

These are only a few questions that may show you whether or not you are in an abusive relationship. If some of these questions resonated with you, do not be afraid to ask for help. Everyone deserves to be in a loving and caring relationship. If you're noticing signs of domestic abuse, there is help available. 

RELATED: 15 Undeniable Warning Signs That Your Relationship Is Abusive

2. Physical wounds

Physical abuse is the form of domestic violence that most people are aware of. Physical abuse is using physical force against a person in a way that is meant to injure or hurt them. This is a crime, regardless of whether it occurs inside or outside of a family.

It is not uncommon for abusers to physically abuse their significant others. If you see bruises, open wounds, or other injuries on a loved one, they may be signs of domestic abuse. Note that most people try to avoid hitting others in the face or other apparent areas. If you suspect that your friend is getting mistreated, be cognizant of their arms, legs, and back. Injuries in these areas specifically can be indicators of an abusive relationship. 

You should also be aware of what your loved one is wearing. Have they started to cover up their body more? Are they insisting on wearing long sleeves in hot weather? Is this paired with changing behaviors and periods of isolation? If you begin to notice a pattern, find a time to ask them about it privately.

RELATED: 11 Horrifying Myths (And Eye-Opening Facts) About Domestic Violence

3. Signs of isolation & psychological abuse

Another sign of domestic violence is distance and isolation. Is your friend and loved one becoming more and more distant? Are they turning down get-togethers that they would normally frequent? Do they suddenly seem depressed or anxious? Did their personality change and make a 180? These could be a signs of emotional abuse.

Emotional abuse is often just as destructive as physical abuse. Victims of emotional abuse often have low self-esteem, operate in fear, and feel guilty about doing things that their partner wouldn't want them to.

An emotionally abusive relationship often causes them to feel as if they need to do everything their partner says and are manipulated to believe that if they lose their significant other, they will lose everything.

If you are noticing signs of abuse in a loved one, don’t be afraid to speak up. While you may think that it is none of your business, expressing concern and care could potentially save their life. Speak to them in private and let them know that you are worried.

If they aren’t willing to talk about it right away, reassure them that you will always be around to listen. Offer support and be ready when they reach out.

RELATED: 8 Brutal Truths Domestic Violence Victims Wish They Could Tell You