If you have been in a relationship that involves domestic violence, it is important to learn about signs of domestic violence as well as how to overcome the problem. There are ways of how to deal with domestic violence, keep yourself safe, and cope with the situation.
Signs of domestic violence
The first step of how to deal with domestic violence is to recognize the signs.
A partner checks your phone messages or emails without you knowing.
Partner controls what you eat, how you dress, and how you spend your money.
Your significant other stops you from going to work or spending time with friends or family.
Your partner may destroy your belongings.
Your significant other threatens to hurt you or your children.
You are blamed for violent behavior.
Your partner threatens self-harm when upset with you.
Your significant other purposely humiliates you in front of other people.
Your partner hits, kicks, beats, pushes or punches you.
As these experts have pointed out, domestic violence is not merely physical or sexual abuse. It can also involve emotional and psychological abuse.
Another aspect that is key to dealing with domestic violence is understanding the fact that it is cyclical in nature.
This means that domestic violence begins with a threat of violence from the abuser, followed by a violent attack. After this, the abuser will apologize profusely and promise never to abuse again, but the cycle will soon repeat itself.
Effects of Domestic Violence
Given the numerous types of domestic violence, there are also a variety of negative effects associated with being a victim of domestic violence. These include:
Losing a sense of individuality
Negative effects on children, such as the inability to express empathy
One of the steps of how to deal with domestic violence is to keep y6ourself safe. According to experts, domestic violence typically does not improve. This means that keeping yourself safe is essential.
Some methods of coping with domestic violence and how to deal with domestic violence include:
Making a safety plan to leave the situation, including where you will go and what you will take with you if you need to leave immediately.
You can also cope with a domestic violence situation by reaching out to a trusted friend or family member for emotional support.
Contact a hotline, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline. A hotline staff member can connect you to local domestic violence resources and shelters and even help you to create a safety plan to leave the domestic violence situation.
Help with domestic violence is available as a solution to how to deal with domestic violence. Some options for how to deal with domestic violence and keep yourself safe include the following:
Call 911 if you are in immediate danger.
File a restraining order once you leave the domestic violence situation.
Get immediate medical care if you have been injured or sexually assaulted.
Seek out local places where you can get help with domestic violence.
Developing a Safety Plan to Leave
If you are in a domestic violence situation, it is critical that you have a safety plan in place during a crisis or episode of violence. This safety plan for how to deal with domestic violence includes what you will do in an emergency situation that requires you to leave in a hurry.
You should work out the details of the safety plan, including where you will go and how you will be able to leave quickly.
This may involve keeping your wallet or keys in an easily accessible location or having someone you can call to come and get you in case of an emergency.
If you have children, it may be necessary to include them in the safety plan of how to deal with domestic violence, including teaching them how to call 911. You may also have a code word you can use to communicate to your children that they need to call the police.
It can also be helpful to notify other people, such as neighbors, of the domestic violence situation and ask that they call 911 if they suspect there is a crisis.
Your safety plan for how to deal with domestic violence may also include ways to stop domestic violence or reduce the risk of injury during a crisis.
For example, as a solution to how to deal with domestic violence, you may avoid having potentially upsetting discussions in rooms that are from an exit of the home.
If you notice that your partner is showing signs of becoming upset, your safety plan may include ways to stop the argument or discussion to prevent it from escalating to a violent attack.
A safety plan for how to deal with domestic violence can include how you will stay safe during a crisis, as well as how you will stay safe when you prepare to leave the domestic violence situation permanently.
Recovering From The Emotional Trauma: Don’t Take The Blame
While it is important to make a safety plan for overcoming domestic violence, it is also necessary that you recover from the emotional trauma of being in a domestic violence situation.
One of the first steps for how to deal with domestic violence and the trauma that occurs afterward is understanding that you are not to blame for the abuse.
Your abuser may try to convince you that verbal insults, physical attacks, and emotional manipulation were your fault or that you somehow deserved them for failing to make the abuser happy.
Even if you did things that made your abuser upset, domestic violence is never the victim’s fault. No one has a right to abuse you or take advantage of you.
Unfortunately, women may take the blame for domestic violence, when it is actually the fault of the abuser. The victim may believe that the abuse is a result of punishment for mistakes or bad behavior.
This can lead the victim to change her behavior, but over time, it becomes evident that the abuse will persist, regardless of what the victim does.
In a domestic violence situation, the abuser simply wants total control and domination over the victim. This is entirely the fault of the abuser, and there truly is no escape, especially if the victim takes the blame.
Recognizing that the situation was not your fault is one of the best pieces of advice for what to do after domestic violence.
Accepting this fact and turning to supportive friends and relatives is all you need for overcoming domestic violence.
Some people may need additional help for coping with domestic violence and the trauma it brings.
If you find that you need help with domestic violence, you may benefit from contacting your local domestic violence shelter or a mental health clinic in your community to see if they offer domestic violence survivor support groups.
If you are having trouble locating these resources, the National Domestic Violence hotline can help.
It is also helpful to understand that domestic violence is damaging to mental and emotional health.
Physical and sexual violence, as well as verbal assaults, can weaken your self-esteem and create fear and distress. Given the seriousness of domestic violence, it is not uncommon for people to experience mental health symptoms after leaving a domestic violence situation.
In fact, a 2016 study in Global Health Action found that depression and anxiety were common among women who were survivors of domestic violence.
Furthermore, a majority of women had symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder.
The more severe the abuse was, the more mental health symptoms the women experienced. This means that if you have been struggling with coping with domestic violence, there is no shame in reaching out for therapy or counseling.
In fact, it is entirely normal to require professional psychological intervention.
In this popular Tedx video, Emma Murphy discusses her repeated domestic battery and how she found the power of her voice. She is now a Domestic Violence Advocate.
Watch This Video
10 Ways to Deal With Domestic Violence
Knowing what to do about domestic violence can help you cope with a domestic violence situation and keep yourself safe. The following 10 tips can be useful for how to deal with domestic violence:
Create a safety plan, so you will know what to do if you need to immediately leave your home for your own and your children’s safety.
Create a list of support people you can contact in case of emergency or if you simply need emotional support.
Contact a domestic violence hotline if you need help making a plan.
Reach out to local resources, such as support groups or domestic violence shelters.
Seek mental health treatment if you are experiencing feelings of anxiety or depression or difficulty coping with domestic violence.
Do not try to fix the relationship or cure the abuser; a domestic violence situation typically does not improve.
Call 911 if you are in immediate danger and cannot leave the situation.
Where to Seek Help
The aforementioned advice provides you with concrete steps for what to do about domestic violence, as well as who to turn to. In a snapshot, the following are places where you can go for help with domestic violence:
The hospital, for treatment of injuries from violence
The local police department
The local family or domestic relations court for a restraining order
A mental health clinic for treatment of emotional trauma
A domestic violence shelter in your area
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
Trusted friends, neighbors, or family members
Domestic violence involves a variety of types of abuse, including physical assaults, verbal attacks, and emotional manipulation. If you are in a domestic violence situation, you may wonder about ways to stop domestic violence, but the reality is that relationships with domestic violence rarely improve.
Once you have left a domestic violence situation and are deciding what to do after domestic violence, you may need to seek help from a local domestic violence shelter or attend support group meetings.
It is also entirely acceptable to turn to a mental health provider if you find that you are struggling to cope with side effects like trauma, anxiety, or depression.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Jenni Jacobsen is a licensed social worker with a master's degree in social work from The Ohio State University, and she is in the process of completing her dissertation for a Doctorate of Philosophy in Psychology. She has worked in the social work field for 8 years and is currently a professor at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. She writes website content about mental health, addiction, and fitness.
Licensed as both a social worker through Ohio Board of Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage/Family Therapists and school social worker through Ohio Department of Education as well as a personal trainer through American Council on Exercise.