When we think about domestic violence, we often focus on the physical symptoms: a black eye, a broken wrist, bruised ribs. We think about the need for medical care and the healing times. We consider just how serious these injuries can be.
And they are serious. You should never overlook that. They deserve attention.
At the same time, though, they’re not the only symptoms of domestic violence. It also has a massive emotional and mental impact on the victim. This type of trauma does not always heal as quickly or at all. A person may carry these “scars” with them for the rest of their life.
That deserves more attention, and so it’s time to get a bit deeper.
The potential symptoms
Every case is different, depending on the type of abuse that happened and the mental and emotional temperament of the victim. That said, some common potential symptoms include:
- The onset of anxiety, as the person feels nervous and apprehensive all the time.
- A general state of agitation, even when the abuser is not around.
- Trouble relaxing at all, even in a safe environment.
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
- Issues with nightmares, flashbacks or other situations where the person is reminded of the violence that occurred.
- Changes in self-esteem and blame. For instance, the person may constantly blame themselves and honestly think that they did something to deserve it, even when they did not.
- A general state of living in fear. The person constantly worries that they’ll suffer harm or fail to protect a loved one, such as a child.
In some cases, domestic violence can lead to serious conditions like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Why is this important?
There are a few reasons why it’s important to consider this side of domestic violence. For one thing, it often traps the person in the abusive relationship. They get almost paralyzed by their own worry and fear, they have trouble making positive decisions for themselves and they may even feel like they have no options in life.
On top of that, these issues are nothing to take lightly from a medical perspective. Someone who suffers physical abuse may need medical care for those physical issues, but they may also need treatment or even medication to help with the mental and emotional complications. You have to see the whole picture to really help people better their lives and move forward.
Victims do have options. These may include things like divorce to get out of the situation and protective orders to keep the abuser at a distance. It is important for them to know what steps to take.