Domestic Violence and 5 Ways to Help With Recovery

Domestic violence is physical, sexual, psychological or financial violence that takes place within an intimate or family type relationship and forms a pattern of controlling behaviour.  Sometimes psychological domestic violence is referred to as abuse too.

Domestic violence is any behaviour that is threatening or violent. There are many signs of domestic violence to look for:

  • Verbal abuse-anything that is shouting, naming calling or threatening
  • Pressure tactics- sulking, disconnecting the phone, with holding your money, taking the car away or faulting statements about you.
  • Disrespect- putting you down in front of other people, not listening and responding to you when you talk, refusing to help with childcare and housework.
  • Isolation-preventing you from seeing your friends and family
  • Breaking trust-lying to you, withholding information from you, breaking shared agreements.
  • Harassment- following you, checking up on you, embarrassing you in public or opening your mail.
  • Threats- shouting at you, intimidating you, make violent threats, raising their voice against you.
  • Sexual violence-  using force to perform sexual acts etc
  • Physical violence- slapping, hitting, biting, pushing or shoving

Domestic violence can lead to stress disorders or common reactions such as:

  • Fear and anxiety- This can become a permanent emotional state. Memories of the events can trigger very strong raw difficult emotions.
  • Nightmares and flashback-The mind cannot stop itself going through unwanted, shocking and intrusive thoughts as the experience is so intense. Nightmares can become common.
  • Guilt, shame and blame- Survivors often blame themselves for letting the abuse take place. The survivor starts to create a negative self-image and a negative view of the world. They often loose trust in themselves and others.
  • Grief and depression- Feelings of loss, sadness, and hopelessness are signs of depression. Crying spells, social withdrawal and suicidal thoughts are common when grieving over a loss of a disappointing and disastrous relationship.

To recover from domestic violence  we recommend

  • Stopping the self-blaming – Take responsibility for the current decisions and future decisions
  • Stop isolating themselves-Build a support network and reconnect with people
  • Stop minimising and dismissing their feelings-Seek to understand your feelings and thoughts on the situation by talking to a friend or a professional.
  • Stop identifying self as a victim- Join a support group, and start taking control of your life and make choices that benefit you.
  • Stop the cycle of abuse-Get help, and learn healthy ways to function in the world.

When you are a survivor of domestic violence it is important to recognise what you have been through and then deal with your feelings before you move on. Neglecting and not talking about the experience can make the recovery harder and longer. At the same time, ensure that you don’t over talk about the experience and do not stay stuck with a repeating cycle of unhelpful thoughts and feelings. Whatever approach, you take, be willing to let the experience go.

Nila Sabar

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These suggestions have a track record of working for people in this situation. We recommend that you try these tips and see which ones are suitable for you. You may find that other approaches work for you too. Depending on your circumstances, a consultation with your GP may be advised.


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