In a perfect world, we could count on our family to be there for us, to protect us, and to always have our best interests at heart. Unfortunately, our world is far from perfect. Family members aren’t always there for us the way we need them to be. Sometimes, they are even the primary sources of our biggest traumas.
Domestic violence is undoubtedly one of the most heart-breaking crimes in the world. Many people think of sexual violence as something that takes place between strangers or perhaps acquaintances, but the truth is that most victims are closely related to their attackers. It happens far, far more frequently than any of us would like to admit – in the United States alone, an average of 20 people are physically abused every minute (Source: NCADV.org).
Domestic Violence in the United States
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a month designed to raise awareness of the horrendous crimes taking place in our society every day, a month to join forces in an attempt to put an end to domestic violence in the States and across the world. Last October, I wrote a blog revealing ten shocking statistics about domestic violence. This year, I am working to break the silence by discussing some common warning signs of an abusive relationship.
All relationships are unique, and every dynamic is a little bit different. However, most abusive relationships share certain patterns, and if you know what to look for, it is often possible to recognize relationships where abuse is (or could soon be) taking place. It is important to remember that abuse is not always physical – psychological and emotional abuse can also leave lasting scars. Emotional abusers may also be more likely to be physically abusive later on (though this is not always the case).
My hope is that by familiarizing yourself with these warning signs, you can avoid falling victim to domestic violence personally and help any friends or family members who may be at risk.
Before discussing the warning signs, I want to address an important fact: anyone can be an abuser in a relationship, and anyone can be a victim. The roles are not limited to male abusers and female victims. Because male abusers are much more common, however, I am going to discuss the warning signs from that perspective. Please understand that I am simply addressing the majority; I am in no way assuming that men are always to blame.
Here are fifteen common warning signs that a partner is already being abusive (or could likely become abusive in the future).
In my experience as a licensed online counselor, I have worked with several individuals who have been victims of domestic violence. Together, we have worked to overcome the emotional and psychological scars caused by the abuse. In time, they have developed the strength and confidence needed to overcome their challenges. If you know someone else who may benefit from online therapy sessions, I would be honored to serve them.
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