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Impact of Abusive Relationships

Most people would agree that experiencing violence has an impact on a person beyond the physical wounds.  What many fail to recognize, including victims themselves, is the emotional impact long after the abuse has ended, both to the victim and the children who witness it.

Over the past 10 years or so there has been a significant amount of research done to identify the impact on children who live in a home where there is domestic violence.  Acknowledging the tremendous impact on children is difficult.  But it is necessary.  We, as a society, need to stop telling ourselves this is a family issue, or it’s not my place to get involved.  These children become friends of your children, maybe even a husband or wife to your child.  The impact goes far beyond the immediate family that is experiencing domestic violence.

The following is a list of symptoms that are attributed to experiencing and/or witnessing domestic violence.  There is hope.  With appropriate help/resources, both children and adults can work through the impact of domestic violence.

Impact on victim:
-depression
-low self-esteem
-anxiety
-post-traumatic stress disorder
-hopelessness
-continuation of unhealthy relationships
-substance abuse
-poverty/homelessness
-physical complaints:  gastrointestinal, muscle aches, headaches, gynecological problems

Impact on children who witness (seeing or hearing) abuse:
-impairment of brain development in infants and small children
-problems with language development
-problems with toilet training
-irritability
-sleep problems
-emotional distress
-fear of being alone
-depression
-anxiety
-feeling powerless
-feeling guilty/responsible
-inability to concentrate/focus
-problems with school work
-poor impulse control
-difficulty resolving conflict
-psychosomatic illnesses (stomach aches, headaches)
-indiscriminate, quickly formed attachments to unfamiliar adults
-confusion regarding parental loyalties
-more likely to become involved in violent relationship

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2 comments on “Impact of Abusive Relationships”

  1. Well said...I am so tired of so many people...even professionals saying that its "a family issue" or " it isn't their business". Even judges who turn their back on issues brought up in court that are clear safety issues for the children but choose to ignore the facts that are presented. I am so confused as to why this is continuing to happen when those who are clearly mandated by law are choosing to turn their back on children. From my own experience I can say that I have experienced too many of the repercussions of the abuse and my children as well. I hope that someday I can help others find a new path out of the abuse.....to find their new journey. It is very troubling to see that although there has been some change in society with abuse.....we still have a very long road ahead of us.

    1. Thank you Tracy for commenting. I would certainly agree...there is a long way to go. It can be very disheartening when you, either as an individual or professional, try to do the right thing and it seems those in a position to do something drop the ball. Though sometimes it's a matter of the way the laws are written.

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All the information I share on this site is for informational and educational purposes only. Your participation on the site does not constitute a therapeutic relationship. If you are struggling and need immediate support, please contact RAINN @ https://rainn.org/ or call your local emergency services.
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