Presented by BetterHelp.
**Content Warning: This article discusses domestic violence and abuse. If you have or are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).**
Watching your loved one experience domestic violence is a terrifying ordeal. Naturally, you want to help them leave the situation, but it may not always be so easy or straightforward to do so. Abusers can be quite cunning in isolating their targets, complicating your attempts to help.
Therefore, helping loved ones through domestic violence is a delicate topic. However, there are a few things you can do to support them. Read on to learn more about domestic violence as well as how you can help your loved ones who are experiencing it.
The Many Types Of Domestic Violence
Before discussing ways to help your loved one, it is essential to understand what domestic violence is. Many people overlook the warning signs from their loved ones simply because they equate domestic violence only with physical abuse. They think that their loved one is safe because there are no physical injuries.
However, domestic violence constitutes more than just physical abuse. It is any form of abuse or violence that harms a member of the family or home. It can include any means used to control, manipulate, or emotionally harm the person.
Many people overlook the common signs of domestic violence because there aren’t visible bruises, scratches, or injuries. But most forms of domestic violence don’t leave physical marks. Abusers find many ways to hurt their partners or family members in ways no one will recognize. Therefore, you should trust your intuition if it tells you that your loved one is in an abusive situation, even if you don’t see any physical signs.
Domestic violence comes in many forms and, therefore, will manifest in a myriad of symptoms and signs. Some common forms of domestic violence include:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Verbal abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial abuse
- Digital abuse
How To Help Your Loved One
Helping a loved one who is in an abusive situation is tricky and challenging. You want to ensure they know of your support without crossing any boundaries or further isolating them. Supporting your loved one will depend on the situation and how receptive they are to getting help. Read on to learn of a few ways that you can support your loved one during this difficult time.
Recognize The Signs
As mentioned before, many people overlook the signs of domestic violence because they don’t understand that abuse doesn’t always leave physical marks. However, many emotional and mental scars are left from abuse. Some common signs your loved one is in an abusive situation include:
- Low self-esteem
- Personality changes
- Symptoms of depression or anxiety
- Isolating from friends, family, and peers
- Checking in with their partner frequently
- Never having money on hand
- Missing work, school, or social outings without good cause
There are many other signs that could be evidence that your loved one is in an abusive situation. Any significant mood, personality, and mental health changes combined with increased isolation could indicate an abusive situation. Just keep in mind that the signs may look different than those mentioned above.
Keep In Contact With Them
Abusers keep their targets isolated as a means to control them. Therefore, you may hear less often from your loved one or only see them in person occasionally. Even then, all contact may be under the supervision of the abuser.
Therefore, do what you can to keep in contact with your loved one, as long as you aren’t putting them in harm’s way. This can mean anything from frequent phone calls, video chats, or messaging on social media. Just check in with them often to see if they are okay and reaffirm your love and support.
Reassure Them That They Are Not At Fault
If your loved one discusses the situation with you, they may blame themselves for their abuser’s behavior. This often is caused by the successful emotional manipulation of the abuser. They often find ways to blame their target for their behavior instead of taking responsibility themselves.
Therefore, reassure them that they are not to blame for the situation. No matter what they did, there is nothing that justifies violence or abuse as retribution. Furthermore, abusers will find any reason to justify their behavior. In most cases, the survivor did not do anything wrong or out of the ordinary but was still convinced that they deserved the abuse.
It is also essential to know what resources are available that can help your loved one. For example, the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE (7233)) is a great resource that helps survivors and their loved ones. You can call them for more information and guidance on your loved one’s situation, or they can call the hotline themselves for help.
It is also essential to know about other resources in your local community. Research local shelters as well as some resources for food and other necessities. It may help your loved one when they try to leave their abusive situation.
Final Thoughts On Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is one of the most terrifying situations to live through. It can be isolating, draining, and leave permanent physical and emotional scars. Supporting your loved one is not always easy or straightforward. However, hopefully, this article gave you some starting pointers to help your loved one through this terrifying ordeal.
If you wish to learn more about domestic violence, you can find more information at the link below: