Although it is often hidden behind closed doors, the impact of domestic violence on one’s self and children can wreak emotional and mental devastation that lasts a lifetime.
Domestic violence affects 10 million men and women every year. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one out of every four women and one in nine men experiences “severe physical abuse” from a partner. Often, acts like slapping and pushing are written off, particularly by male victims, as “not true violence,” but any act designed to inflict harm against a partner is an act of domestic violence.
While the immediate risks of physical injury are clear, there are other effects of domestic violence that persist even after the abuse has ended. Abuse victims are prone to develop depression and anxiety as well as struggle to be vulnerable and develop close relationships with others in the future.
Domestic violence is so much more than a bruise. It does far more than break down a relationship and hurt someone’s self-esteem. Domestic violence in a relationship destroys a person’s sense of self-worth and teaches them to view love through the lens of fear and shame. The long-term effects of domestic abuse are often undiscussed in society, and many victims wrestle with guilt, fear and secrecy their entire lives.
The Effect of Domestic Violence on a Relationship
No one enters a relationship expecting to be abused. Many victims are afraid that they will be shamed if they let others know about their abusive relationship as people are quick to say they should have noticed all the red flags and warning signs.
Domestic violence is never the fault of the victim, no matter how many signs may have been present in retrospect. Physical abuse is not the only sign of an abusive partner; the assertion of dominance and quest of control can range from constant questioning and accusations to spying, watching and implementing restraints on social contact and finances.
Counseling psychologist Carmel O’Brien has worked with women and children who are victims of domestic violence for over 20 years and says that all abusers have one thing in common: the desire to dominate another.
Intimate relationships become heavily one-sided in abusive scenarios; an abuser will often blame a partner for their actions, and even when they do not, a victim will look for reasons within themselves to justify the abuse.
Low self-esteem and poor self-image persist and pervade other aspects of life. A victim of abuse suffers everywhere, not just at home.
Impact of Domestic Violence on Children
Even if they are only witnesses, children who grow up around abuse are victims, too. One cannot underemphasize the tremendous damage that abuse has on a developing mind. Children who grow up abused view themselves as inferior and consider abuse normal. Even if they know it is “wrong” for someone to hurt them, they often grow up falling into unhealthy relationships seeking love and validation they did not have throughout childhood.
Children who grow up with domestic violence are more likely to develop mental illness, substance abuse and become victims of abuse in relationships later on.
Finding Help With a Raleigh Domestic Violence Lawyer
If you live in the Raleigh area, the offices of Daphne Edwards Divorce & Family Law have helped hundreds of families free themselves from the cycle of domestic abuse.
An experienced Raleigh domestic violence lawyer, Daphne Edwards can guide families through the process of divorce, custody, child support and property vision to help victims regain control over their lives and safely leave an abusive marriage.
To learn more, contact the office of Daphne Edwards Divorce & Family Law at 919-838-7160 or visit our site