**Content Warning: This article discusses the various forms of domestic violence. If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).**
Domestic violence is a terrifying yet pervasive problem in society. Millions of people experience domestic violence each year, often without help, support, or guidance from loved ones. One reason for this is that many people automatically associate domestic violence with physical abuse and don’t realize that it often constitutes so much more. If they don’t see bruises or injuries on their loved one, then they may not believe that the person is struggling with abuse.
Domestic violence is not always physical, nor does it always leave obvious signs. Any of your friends, family members, coworkers, and clients could be living with domestic violence without you knowing it. To better educate you on what domestic violence looks like, read on to learn about its many forms and the lesser-known signs.
The Many Forms Of Domestic Violence
One of the most pervasive and damaging myths about domestic violence is that it is purely physical abuse that will leave obvious injuries and marks.
However, this is not the case. Domestic violence is any behavior that is used to control someone or keep power over them. Though this often does lead to physical abuse, domestic violence can also include threats, sexual assault, manipulation, and other behaviors that don’t leave physical marks and injuries.
Because there are so many ways that someone can abuse and control others, psychologists have identified many categories of behavior that constitute domestic violence. Some of these categories include:
- Physical violence
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual assault and violence
- Financial control
- Psychological abuse and manipulation
- Verbal abuse
If you wish to learn more about domestic violence in general or its various forms, you can find more resources here. Now, let’s move on to the subtle and lesser-known signs that someone is experiencing domestic violence.
Lesser-Known Signs Someone Is Involved In Domestic Violence
Determining if your loved one is in an abusive situation is not always easy. Since domestic violence isn’t always physical, you need to keep an eye out for other controlling behaviors that could constitute as domestic violence. These behaviors work to control and demean the person so that they always depend on the abuser and no one else. Below are a few lesser-known signs that someone is experiencing domestic violence.
Your Loved One Checks In With Their Abuser Often
Abusers will aim to control their targets every moment of every day. One way they may do this is by requiring frequent check-ins and updates. While spending time with you, your loved one may need to contact the abuser to give them updates frequently. They may text them often or even need to call to reassure the abuser.
The Abuser Calls And Checks In Constantly
If your loved one isn’t frequently giving their abuser updates, the opposite may happen. Because the abuser needs to remain in control, they will frequently text or call your loved one to learn their whereabouts and monitor every action and interaction they have. This often starts at the beginning of the relationship and can easily be disguised as the abuser just being interested in their partner’s day and habits. However, it can spiral into a toxic pattern of always needing to know where their partner is and who they are conversing with.
Your Loved One Has Financial Restrictions
In order to fully gain control, an abuser may restrict your loved one from having access to money. This ensures your loved one isn’t spending money on items that are not approved by the abuser or that they have any financial means to leave the relationship. Someone experiencing financial abuse will rarely have any cash or credit cards on hand or may need their abuser’s permission to buy something.
The Abuser Accompanies Your Loved One Everywhere
An abuser often does not trust their partner nor allows them to have independence. As a result, they may take extreme methods to assert control over their partner’s life. This may include accompanying them everywhere so they can monitor their partner’s every move. An abuser who does this will always show up to social gatherings with your loved one (whether invited or not) and may even follow them to work.
Your Loved One Is Isolated From Friends And Family
Conversely, an abuser who is less eager to follow their partner everywhere will instead attempt to isolate them. They will find ways to keep the person from contacting their friends or family and limit any other interactions with the outside world. They may use manipulation and threats to convince your loved one to stop contacting you or remove all communication methods, such as taking away their cell phone or deleting their social media accounts.
The Abuser Love Bombs Your Loved One
One sign that may make you think your loved one is truly cared for by their abuser is love bombing. The term “love bombing” refers to patterns of behavior that shower a person with extreme shows of affection, love, and attention. In abusive relationships, this is common at the beginning of the relationship or after a dispute. These behaviors are often utilized to regain control of the target and make them think they are truly loved so they won’t leave the relationship. However, once your loved one feels cared for and safe again, the abuser will go back to their toxic behavior.
Your Loved One Is Anxious To Please Their Abuser
Someone who is being abused will do anything that they can to please their abuser and prevent further harm. Therefore, they may alter their plans, behavior, opinions, and even personality to appease their abuser. If this occurs, you may notice that your loved one needs permission from the abuser before making plans. They may never seem to speak their mind or share their opinions around the abuser.
Domestic violence is a horrendous situation that no one should ever experience. Unfortunately, many people do. And their loved ones don’t always realize what is happening because they are unfamiliar with the more subtle signs of abuse. Hopefully, this article educated you on the lesser-known signs of domestic violence, so you know how to identify it. If you or a loved one is experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for more help and resources.
The article is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.
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