Domestic Violence (DV) is an issue that affects men, women, and children.
More likely, women tend to be victims of DV, yet no one is immune to surrounding themselves in an abusive relationship. DV encompasses more than just physical abuse, it involves any form of attack against one’s wellbeing.
Abuse can manifest in verbal, psychological, sexual, physical or financial form. Statistical data shows an alarming increase in DV over the years, yet there is hope.
Possible warning signs
Below is a list of some possible warning signs of an abusive personality. (This list does not mean that a person is an abuser if they possess one or more of these personality traits.)
- Have intuitive feelings of being at risk.
- At a relationship’s inception, there is an accelerated pace of the relationship, commitments, moving in together too soon, and elaborate talks about your future.
- Become easily angered and often throw things or damage property.
- Resolve conflict with verbal abuse, intimidation, and bullying. At times, they may manipulate the victim into thinking it was their fault to begin with.
- Use the relationship as a weapon of control.
- Threaten and use intimidation as a way of bullying.
- Admit to having other abusive relationships, but paint themself as the victim and not the abuser.
- Minimize the intensity of their outbursts, whether they be verbal attacks or aggressive actions.
- Enlist the aid of family and friends to help keep the relationship together.
- Project extreme emotions onto the person, both verbally and physically, such as saying ‘I love you’ or touching a lot in the early stages of the relationship.
- Believe that the victim is being defensive.
- Suspect cheating or unfaithfulness. At times, the abuser may be the one who is cheating or being unfaithful.
- Act overtly tough, or convince the victim they have been a member of a gang or have special training as a type of intimidation.
- Tend to suffer from constant mood swings and anger control issues, and have episodes of depression.
- Come from an an abusive family or grew up around abuse, often becoming a victim of abuse during their own childhood.
- Pass the blame and suggest that it is the victim’s fault.
Many times, abusers have narcissistic personalities and display very controlling behaviors. Examples of control include finances, the way a person dresses, who they socialize with, even what the person does and when they can do it.
How DV affects victims
A victim of DV can feel trapped and alone, like they are in a relationship, but feel empty inside.
Victims who break away from an abusive relationship will likely have to recover from multiple traumas. These traumas can have lifelong impacts, such as damaged credit, psychological issues that require therapy, post-traumatic stress disorder, relocating, or starting over completely.
A parent who has been abused faces even more stress, because their child is also a victim of DV and will require extra consideration for recovery.
Unfortunately, victims of DV often return to their abusers because they have been drawn into a condition called Stockholm syndrome. But victims that go back are not only choosing to be abused, they are risking their lives.
Where to get help
If you find that you are in a DV relationship, you can get out.
No matter what situation you find yourself in, there are lots of resources out there that will help. City and state agencies, as well as non-profit organizations, are available throughout Utah to provide assistance. These advocates are trained to help victims feel safe and free of any abuse, in both the present moment and future.
Below are some links for any student who finds themselves in a DV situation: