Domestic abuse is often about power and control. It rarely happens as a one-off. There is usually a pattern, or cycle where the victim is mistreated, then made to feel loved until the abuse begins again.
There are lots of types of behaviours that can be abuse, one or several may be experienced.
Physical violence in domestic abuse is well understood – hitting, punching, harming in some physical way. This includes sexual violence or manipulation too.
Emotional or psychological abuse is far less well known as a form of domestic abuse. So is verbal abuse and threatening comments, playing mind games to manipulate and control, putting restrictions on someone – about when they can go out, who they can see, what they can wear. Financial control might mean taking control of bank accounts, keeping track of every penny the other person spends, or demanding money.
Forced marriage is also a form of domestic abuse.
Abusive situations at home are often complicated, traumatic and destructive. Sometimes domestic abuse is about one person inflicting the abuse on another but often the abuse can be mutual and due to both partners finding it difficult to manage stress and conflict. People who have had difficult upbringings are particularly at risk of being part of an abusive situation in the home, though domestic abuse affects any age, any race, any class and any gender. Its traumatising effects can last for years, on everyone involved, including children.
Domestic abuse can involve a partner or another family member. For people who are suffering domestic abuse, their mental health is likely to be affected, and their self-esteem, making it difficult to talk about. Making them feel trapped and alone, keeping them in the place where their abuser wants them to be.
However, people can and do escape domestic abuse and fully recover, going on to enjoy healthy relationships.