Disclamer: This article is for educational purpose only. This article in no way is supporting forcing someone to leave a bad situation or giving anyone permission to get angry because a friend or family member won't leave. All I am trying to do is give "outsiders" an "insight" in order to help them possibly broach the subject with their friend or family member that they might suspect is a victim. Leaving is a very sensitive issue and needs to be handled with care. I am in no way encouraging others to stick their nose in other people's business. Victims need friends, someone to trust, and listen to what they have to say.
It is very difficult to accurately tell if someone you know is a victim of domestic violence unless they have told you. There is no typical profile for a domestic abuse victim. It can affect anyone. However, there are some warning signs that will help in spotting problems.
Do they have injuries? Or make excuses for the bruising or injury you notice?
You may see bruises on the victim. They may give you a story about how clumsy they are. Or how they were innocently wrestling with their partner and the bruises occurred. Or if the injury or bruise is too noticeable, like a black eye, the victim may call in sick so they don’t have to explain anything.
Are they often absent from work or school?
When there has been a severe beating or other kind of trauma the victim is often likely to take time off. Or they may repeatedly be late for work or school.
Have they exhibited low self-esteem?
Not all victims will have a low self-esteem. They may be full of confidence, or appear to be, when it comes to work, their parents, their children, etc. Yet, they are more likely to have low self-esteem within their relationship. They may feel that they couldn’t make it on their own.
Has their personality changed?
The victim may change their personality; someone who was once outgoing may become shy and reserved when their abuser is around. They have been taught to act a certain way in order to prevent problems.
Do they suddenly have a fear of conflict?
The victim as a result of constant battering from the abuser can begin to feel powerless in other relationships. They may feel a great deal of anxiety about conflict of any kind.
Have you noticed them showing signs of passive-aggressive behavior?
The are instances in which a victim has been battered to the point in which they can no longer identify feelings and wants or express them which can result in passive-aggressive behavior.
Do they continually blame themselves for anything that goes wrong?
The victim may share a story of something that happened at home, yet take all the blame. When this happens often, over and over, it could be a sign of emotional abuse. This is the lie they are being fed by their abuser, that THEY (the victim) are to blame.
Have they become isolated by the alleged abuser? Or has the alleged abuser gained control over the victim?
Often in physical abuse cases the abuser will isolate the victim and verbally degrade them as well. This is an attempt to gain complete control. If the victim is no longer able to meet with you or talk to you, or has suddenly moved away from all family and friends, this could be a sign of abuse. Another way an abuser can isolate and gain control over the victim is to tightly hold the purse strings. You may hear that the victim is on an allowance or has to ask the abuser for permission to spend any money.
Do you notice the victim display any stress related problems?
Some major signs of stress related problems are poor sleep, sleeping at odd times, chronic headaches, or stomach problems. These are signs that the person is under a great deal of stress and is probably in depression.
Have they began or increased their drug or alcohol intake?
Sometimes in order to escape from the pain and become numb victims will increase their alcohol intake or drug use or begin if they had not already. This is definitely a sign that something is wrong.