Common signs of Domestic Abuse
Verbal Abuse – a perpetrator of this type of abuse will belittle, criticise and disrespect their partner, using derogatory comments such as, “you’re useless”, “you’re off your head”, “you’re just that way out” or “you’re mental”. The abuser will also shout, make accusations, use offensive language, and make threats, name-call and mock. If your partner resorts to name-calling during a normal argument, this could be a sign of a pattern of abuse which could get worse if not kept in check. This is not likely to get better and it is advisable to seek assistance and support.
Physical and emotional control – these abusers stop their partners from enjoying their lives as they wish, by preventing them from having the same freedom and independence any other person would normally have. They do this by controlling their partner through extreme jealousy and possessiveness, threats and coercion. You may have wanted to join a club or go out somewhere with friends but your partner becomes angry that you didn’t consult them. You may be accused of not considering their wishes or of being selfish. You may get ready to go out with your friends for an evening only to be questioned incessantly about what you’re wearing and what your motives are; eventually it becomes “easier” and less stressful not to go out at all. Clearly, these are just a couple of scenarios amongst so many that could happen when an abuser exerts such extreme control over another person.
Lack of respect – abusers often belittle or ignore the opinions of their victims. In public, abusers may ignore the victim’s contribution to conversations or make fun of what they have to say. Many abusers are very careful to cover up their abusive behaviour by coming across as protective, humorous, or showing a small level of affection. In private, however, the abuser openly and purposefully shows a lack of respect for their partner’s opinions, desires and needs. The abuser may make decisions which affect both people in the relationship without any consultation or consideration for the other person’s thoughts or feelings in the matter, as if they don’t count and are not worthy of consultation.
Fear and Anxiety – victims often live in fear of their partner. Although they may tell family and friends that they are alright, they may appear overly nervous or anxious when their partner is around, or after receiving a telephone call from the abuser. They may show physical signs of fear and anxiety, such as appearing jumpy and unsettled or trembling and shaking.