Not everyone finds themselves as happy with their spouse after they move in with each other. Your spouse’s personality may suddenly change. You may find them more physically aggressive or controlling now that you’re around them more often.
If you feel like your relationship has changed because of their actions then you may be a victim of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse victims may not immediately realize they are in an abusive relationship before it’s too late.
Watching for signs of domestic abuse can save you from serious depression or worse. Here’s what you should look for:
Cuts, bruises, broken bones, black eyes or bruised lips suffered by a spouse are all immediate signs of physical abuse. However, many people may not realize that being forced into having a tattoo, a piercing or an abortion can also be considered physical abuse. Spouses may even cause unwanted pregnancies by slipping off condoms or replacing birth control as a form of physical abuse.
A spouse might use physical abuse to gain some sort of control over the victim. They may also have experienced trauma in the past that causes them to lash out. There are many ways and reasons a person may be physically abusive — but that doesn’t excuse their behavior.
There are many subtle ways a spouse can be mentally abusive that may only be obvious in hindsight: Lying, cheating, and stealing are just a few. Abusive spouses can make their victims second guess themselves by “gaslighting,” or using psychological games to make them feel uncertain about reality.
Spouses may use verbal abuse as a way of sneaking in small jabs at a person’s self-esteem. Mental abuse can lead people to beat themselves up physically or mentally. People with a lowered self-esteem, constant fear or depression may have experienced mental abuse in the past. These people are more likely to find themselves in abusive relationships again later in life.
Abuse is a serious topic that many don’t realize they’ve experienced before it’s too late. You may need to consider your next steps if you believe you are a victim of domestic abuse. A protective order can help you regain control over your own life and future.