Domestic abuse is defined by types of behaviour that happen between married couples, cohabiting partners and/or family members whereby one is aiming to control the other violently either by bullying, abusing, threatening, blackmailing or degrading.
Domestic violence also known as domestic abuse always consists of an abuser whose regular pattern of behaviours include trying to oppress the victim’s emotions, feelings, behaviours and personality. Domestic abuse can affect anyone regardless of gender or sexual identity. Victims of domestic abuse may be a spouse, partner, child, parents and even elderly family members. Research suggests that women are most likely to suffer from domestic abuse than their male counterparts.
The wide range of domestic abuse can occur in many forms including physical, verbal, emotional and psychological, sexual and financial abuse, as well as threat and intimidation. Aggressive behaviours such as matrimonial rape, female genital mutilation, forced marriage and physical or online stalking are all considered a form of domestic abuse. Why domestic abuse happens and recognising it can somewhat elude the victim because of the inability to spot the signs and signals of the abuse and the perpetrator is often an intimate partner that they love and trust.
However, there are signs to look out for which could help a victim to understand if and when they are going through this type of abuse. You will notice all or some of these signs and changes when going through domestic abuse.
This includes broken limbs or black eyes, choking, kicking, biting, slapping and burning. It can also include throwing things to purposely cause injury to any part of the body. If a partner or the abuser has done any or all of these, then this suggests physical domestic violence against the victim.
Verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse:
These types of domestic abuse are interrelated; verbal abuse occurs when a partner or the perpetrator aggressively insult and condemns the victim. This form of behaviour usually has fundamental elements of rage and resentment towards the victim which in turn will lead to destruction of self-image. Verbal abuse is a damaging form of communication and will only yield adverse feelings of emotions which lead to emotional abuse and may cause the victim psychological issues such as depression and anxiety which suggests psychological abuse has taken place.
In order to recognise verbal, emotional and psychological abuse, victims should watch out for these signs and events; abusers insult their victims public or in private, abusers prevent their victims from seeing friends and family, abusers blame the victim for arguments, abusers blame their victims for cheating, flirting or having affairs without any evidence, abusers forbid from going to work, college or university or place of worship, abusers discounting and deny any challenges made regarding the abuse, trivialising, undermining the victims opinion or suggestions or disguising the verbal abuse as a joke
This can happen to anyone irrespective of their gender. Domestic sexual abuse can include feeling frightened of your partner, anxiety derived from the thought of your partner having sex with you because of previous bad experience with him or her, if your partner is forcing you to have sex, if a partner has sex with you without your consent this could be classified as rape, if yours partner is asking you to have unprotected sex especially when he or she is a carrier of sexually transmitted diseases, if your partner forces you to dress in a sexual way, if he or she touches you in a way you do not condone, if your partner wants you to have sex in front of a camera or stream your sexual activities online without your consensus, if your partner is insisting on you to invite his or her friends to join you during your sexual activities without your consent.
If you have noticed any of these about yourself either currently or in the past, you might have been involved in a sexual domestic violent situation.
This type of domestic abuse can also happen to anyone and you can understand if you are being abused domestically if your partner is in control of your money and refuse to give you any of it, or if they only give you whenever he/she wants and controls the amount regardless of it being enough for you to buy all your necessities or not. If your partner uses finances that belong to you both as an influence on power control over you in your relationship, if your partner uses your money, cards or cheques to purchase goods or services without your permission, if you have to give detailed accounts of where every penny of the money has gone to.
Financial abuse can also be described as economy abuse, if your partner takes out a loan, credit or other advances in your name without telling you or if your partner coerce’s you into obtaining a loan in your name for his own benefits, if he or she forces you to be included in a will or testament. Any other activities that you notice your partner or the abuser is undertaking that bullies you into depending on him or her for all financial responsibilities are economic or financial abuse and that propose you are in a financial domestic violent relationship. Financial abuse can also occur to the elder members of the family, if other family members intimidate or use deceit because of a lower level of cognition of the older member to steal money such as pensions, benefits or change their will for his or her own financial gain.
Threat and intimidation abuse:
You will notice if you are experiencing threat and intimidation if you have started walking on eggshells around your partner to avoid him or her getting irate, if your partner intimidates you by rage to submit to his or her demands, if your partner intends to stab, hurt or kill you, your children, the pet or themselves, if your partner destroy your belongings intentionally by fury, if your partner threatens to burn the house down while you and the children are asleep, if he or she uses violent language constantly towards you.
All of these are signs of domestic abuse and if you have suffered any of these, you may have experienced domestic abuse and should ask for help discreetly in order to be sure and seek the appropriate support.
The reason why domestic abuse happens may be traced back to psychological issues of the perpetrator. Domestic abuse may commence with a trivial shove, kick or smack but if the violence accelerates, it can be hazardous. The perpetrators of domestic abuse will often have traits of narcissist behaviour when they initiate such acts. Narcissists always possess extreme awareness and appreciation of themselves; they hardly take responsibility for their own actions and always a master of manipulation who lacks empathy.
The two emotional characteristics that contribute to occurrences of domestic abuse are ‘critical inner voice’ which is a destructive reasoning towards the perpetrators as well as their partner. Thinking your partner is making a fool out of you, or you need to control her to be a man or you need to be firm with him, so he will be well trained, and do as you say. The other characteristic is a fantasy bond, which contains damaging misconceptions of connections between couples. The perpetrator trusts that their partner can make them whole and their happiness is their sole responsibly but when this proves to be false, they turn to violence and they have an intellectual ability to justify their actions and blame that their partner is at fault as they have fallen short of their duties as a lover.
Therefore, if you have experienced any of these signs of domestic abuse or if you notice that your partner has traits of narcissism which might then lead to domestic violence at which you or your children may be at risk, if your partner thinks that the world revolves around them, if you found yourself to be apologising all the time for everything whether it’s your fault or not, if you are in denial that your partner is not an abuser or find excuses for them all the time, you should pause, have a think and seek help immediately.
Conversations can be held with a trusted friend or colleague to ensure you are not alone, feel supported and signposted to the right agencies for help and assistance.