Domestic Abuse: Warning Signs of Domestic Violence
Signs of Domestic Abuse
If you’re afraid of your partner, that’s a big red flag. You may be scared to say what you think, to bring up certain topics, or to say no to sex. No matter the reason, fear has no place in a healthy relationship.
If you feel like you’re being abused, there’s a good chance you may be, and it’s worth getting help. Keep that in mind as you think about these signs:
Top Warning Signs of Domestic Abuse
Some of the signs of domestic abuse, such as physical marks, may be easy to identify. Others may be things you can easily explain away or overlook say, chalking up a friend’s skipping out on an activity you once enjoyed together as being due to a simple loss of interest.
Domestic abuse affects each person differently, but it impacts everyone both physically and psychologically. It’s often an aggregate of related signs of domestic abuse that tip someone off that a person is at risk.
Domestic abuse can happen to anyone regardless of their social, educational, or financial status . While red flags aren’t always proof that someone is being mistreated in this way, they are worth knowing. Many who are abused may try to cover up what is happening to them for a variety of reasons, and it goes without saying that these individuals could benefit from help.
Physical Signs of Domestic Abuse
If someone is being physically abused, they will likely have frequent bruises or physical injuries consistent with being punched, choked, or knocked down and they’ll likely have a weak or inconsistent explanation for these injuries.
Some signs of physical abuse include:
- Black eyes
- Bruises on the arms
- Busted lips
- Red or purple marks on the neck
- Sprained wrists
It’s also common for someone to try to cover up the physical signs with clothing. For example, you may notice that someone you care about is wearing long sleeves or scarves in the hot summer. Wearing heavier than normal makeup or donning sunglasses inside are also common signs of domestic abuse.
Abuse occurs when one person in a relationship attempts to dominate and control the other person. Usually, the control begins with psychological or emotional abuse , then escalates to physical abuse. When domestic abuse includes physical violence, it’s termed domestic violence
Emotional Signs of Domestic Abuse
Domestic abuse, of course, can take a serious emotional toll, creating a sense of helplessness, hopelessness, or despair. Domestic abuse can cause people to believe that they will never escape the control of the abuser. They may also exhibit a constant state of alertness to the point they never can completely relax.
Other emotional signs of abuse include:
- Agitation, anxiety, or constant apprehension.
- Changes in sleep habits (sleeping too much or not enough).
- Extremely apologetic or meek.
- Loss of interest in daily activities.
- Low self-esteem.
- Seeming fearful Symptoms of depression.
- Talking about or attempting suicide.
These symptoms, of course, could be due to many other conditions or factors, but they are typical of domestic abuse victims who feel they are trapped in an abusive relationship.
Recognize the signs of relationship abuse
Domestic violence comes in all sizes and shapes, because every relationship is different. Domestic violence warning signs likewise vary from one situation to another.
But all domestic violence includes some kind of willful harm against a partner , whether that’s physical or sexual assault, psychological manipulation, emotional abuse, financial restraint, or a combination of behaviors.
Ultimately the reason that domestic violence occurs is that one partner wants to control another , and they are willing to use aggression and manipulation to do so.
It’s not always easy to tell when a relationship has become abusive, especially because a partner’s violent or controlling tendencies often emerge slowly, escalating throughout the relationship. Victims may dismiss abusive behaviors as a normal part of their partner’s personality. A victim may also continually adapt to increasing levels of abuse. For this reason, it’s important to take domestic abuse warning signs very seriously and not second-guess yourself.
If you have a feeling that you or a loved one may be in an abusive relationship, here are some of the domestic violence warning signs to watch for. If you check off one or more of these red flags, you should consider seeking help
What to do if you are in an abusive relationship
Getting out of an abusive or violent relationship isn’t easy. Maybe you’re still hoping that things will change or you’re afraid of what your partner will do if they discover you’re trying to leave.
Whatever your reasons, you probably feel trapped, fearful, and helpless but support and resources are available. Call our confidential 24-hour hotline at and a counselor can assist you with developing a safety plan and connecting you to resources, including shelter, legal services, childcare, job training, and other services. Be safe always call 911 if you are in immediate danger.