This is for anyone who has suffered from Domestic abuse, whether they are in denial or openly admit the abuse exists…
The following information can be read in it’s entirety at this site. And many, many other sources. Find one, read it, get help.
What is Abuse? – A Warning List
Many people who are being abused do not see themselves as victims. Also, abusers do not see themselves as being abusive. People often think of domestic violence as physical violence, such as hitting. However, domestic violence takes other forms, such as psychological, emotional, or sexual abuse.
Domestic violence is about one person in a relationship using a pattern of behaviors to control the other person. It can happen to people who are married or not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated, or dating.
If your partner repeatedly uses one or more of the following to control you;
- pushing, hitting, slapping, choking, kicking, or biting
- threatening you, your children, other family members or pets
- threatening suicide to get you to do something
- using or threatening to use a weapon against you
- keeping or taking your paycheck
- puts you down or makes you feel bad
- forcing you to have sex or to do sexual acts you do not want or like
- keeping you from seeing your friends, family or from going to work
Cycle of Violence:
- Any type of abuse occurs (physical/sexual/emotional)
- Abuser starts to get angry
- Abuse may begin
- There is a breakdown of communication
- Victim feels the need to keep the abuser calm
- Tension becomes too much
- Victim feels like they are ‘walking on egg shells’
- Abuser may apologize for abuse
- Abuser may promise it will never happen again
- Abuser may blame the victim for causing the abuse
- Abuser may deny abuse took place or say it was not as bad as the victim claims
- Abuser acts like the abuse never happened
- Physical abuse may not be taking place
- Promises made during ‘making-up’ may be met
- Victim may hope that the abuse is over
- Abuser may give gifts to victim
The cycle can happen hundreds of times in an abusive relationship. Each stage lasts a different amount of time in a relationship. The total cycle can take anywhere from a few hours to a year or more to complete.
It is important to remember that not all domestic violence relationships fit the cycle. Often, as time goes on, the ‘making-up’ and ‘calm’ stages disappear.
Effects on Children
Children who witness resentment, anger, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, or physical violence walk on eggshells. The usual symptoms are:
- Depression (looks like chronic boredom with little interest in things that usually interest kids)
- Anxiety (worry, especially about things kids don’t usually worry about)
- School problems
- Hyperactivity (can’t sit still)
- Low self-esteem (don’t feel as good as other kids)
- Over emotionality (anger, excitability or crying) that sometimes comes out of nowhere
- No emotions at all
- Powerless, inadequate, or unlovable
- Like burdens to their parents
Living in a household where they walk on eggshells makes a child 10 times more likely to become either an abuser or a victim of abuse. As adults, they are at increased risk of:
- Drug abuse
- Mental health problems
Witnessing a parent victimized is usually more psychologically damaging to children than injuries from direct child abuse. Seeing a parent abused is child abuse.
Signs of Stress in Children under 5 years old:
Similar to school-age children and adolescents, infants and toddlers can also be impacted by trauma and stress. Although they may not understand everything they see and hear, they may nonetheless be affected by what is happening around them.
Very young children are affected by the mood and emotions of the significant people in their lives, whom they depend on for love, safety and security. Different children may have very different reactions, even within the same family. After a trauma, children may need different amounts of time to cope and adjust. Behaviors that you might see in very young children that could be signs of stress may include the following:
- Increased clinginess or whining
- Greater fear of being separated from parent or caregiver
- Increased general fearfulness (i.e. more afraid of being alone, of going to the bathroom)
- More anxious, jumpy or scared
- Increased aggressive behaviors
- More withdrawn, harder to engage
- More crying
- More tantrums or screaming
- Difficulty comforting self
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep, or having nightmares
- Changes in eating habits (i.e. refusing to eat, loss of appetite)
- More easily frustrated
- Appearing to be less responsive, or showing little emotion
- Possible acting out the trauma/abuse in their play
- Afraid to explore their environment
- Returning to earlier behaviors, such as:
- Thumb sucking
- Increased bedwetting
- Frequent awakening at night
- Fear of the dark or strangers
If you’re in denial, WAKE UP. If you’re in a violent relationship, GET HELP. Help for you, and especially help for your children…Verbal abuse is just as damaging as physical, it’s just easier to deny and hide.
No one deserves to live with abuse be it verbal or physical, and no one has to. You’re not alone.