How to Spot the Signs of Domestic Abuse

How to Spot the Signs of Domestic Abuse

July 10, 2020

Domestic abuse can take many shapes and forms, and it’s not always easy to identify. If your friend shows up to happy hour with a black eye, that’s pretty obvious, but many types of domestic abuse are far more insidious than blatant physical harm. Many people are shocked to find out that their loved ones have been victims of emotional, verbal, financial and other types of abuse after the fact. They wish they could have protected them, or somehow could have known that things were going badly.

Here’s how to spot the signs of domestic violence in Lubbock, TX.

Physical signs

Naturally, physical abuse is the easiest to spot. Black eyes, facial lacerations (including split lips) and bruises on the neck and arms are very common. Sprained wrists can happen from warding off blows. These marks are often humiliating for the victim, and they may be forced by their abuser to cover them up. Look for excessive makeup in those sensitive areas, or wearing seasonally inappropriate clothing, like long sleeves and pants in the summer, or sunglasses indoors—your loved one could be trying to avoid uncomfortable questions and scrutiny.

Emotional signs

Domestic abuse comes in many forms, but it almost always has a severe emotional effect on the victim. Many victims report feelings of helplessness and despair, including suicidal ideation. They tend to be hypervigilant, may develop substance abuse problems and often “walk on eggshells” to avoid upsetting or angering others. Your friend might have incredibly low self-esteem and lose interest in their daily activities.

Emotional signs tend to be far more subtle than physical signs, which makes it easy to brush off as losing interest in the friendship or family relationship. You might also think that they’re simply going through a rough patch. Listen to your loved one—both what they say and do not say—and if you notice a pervasive sense of hopelessness or feeling trapped, reach out to see if you can help.

Behavioral change signs

Abuse victims are often isolated from their friends and family—their abuser knows that if other people learn about their behavior, they’ll help the victim escape. If your loved one starts becoming distant, cancels plans suddenly, refuses to talk about their relationship or suddenly stops doing the things they’ve always enjoyed, they may be in an abusive relationship. Again, these are often very subtle signs that happen gradually over time.

Signs in the abuser

You may also be able to spot abuse by focusing on the behavior of the abuser. They are often very controlling, like not giving their partner access to marital funds, constantly calling or tracking the victim and acting jealous or possessive. If you notice these signs along with your loved one seeming excessively nervous or distant, they may be in an abusive relationship. Seek out resources for helping an abuse victim and offer your support to them.

If you’re experiencing or have spotted the signs of domestic violence or abuse and need legal help in Lubbock, TX, call the Law Office of Rob Biggers today.

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