Are You a Victim of Domestic Violence?

If one in every four women will be a victim of domestic violence at some point in their lifetime, it is safe to assume that we all know of someone who has been affected.  Statistics (based on studies) regarding domestic violence are staggering.

Domestic violence can rob the victim of his/her identity, freedom, and self-esteem (self-worth, self-image, self-respect) and can crush the spirit.  It not only has an impact on the victim, it affects the children and other loved ones in the victim’s life.  But, there can be a light at the end of the tunnel.  The good news is.……if one becomes aware of the signs and discovers soon enough that he/she is a victim of domestic violence, and takes necessary action, there is a way out, hope for the future and a way to begin a new life.   

Many people aren’t sure what constitutes ‘domestic violence’ so they don’t know if they are victims of it.  The first step to ending this devastating epidemic is to be cognizant of the warning signs and symptoms of domestic violence.  Awareness can turn into a solution.  The following are signs to help you determine whether or not you are a victim:


Warning Signs

  • A partner who puts their significant other down and says hurtful things
  • A partner who discourages one from having any close relationships with family or    friends
  • A partner who places blame and guilt  for their own mistakes
  • A partner who makes all the decisions in the relationship
  •  A partner who acts very jealous
  •  A partner who makes one feel worthless and helpless
  • A partner who throws objects
  • A partner who physically assaults, such as slapping, kicking, etc.
  • A partner who forbids independent activities such as work or school
  • A partner who physically abuses the pets or children when angry at other things
  • A partner who controls access to money, medication, or necessities
  •     A partner who demands sex or sexual activities that one does not feel comfortable with or agree to
  • A partner who sees one as an object
  • A partner who is constantly ‘checking up’

Symptoms

  • Physical signs such as bruises on the arms, wrist, or face
  • Attempting to cover up bruises with makeup or clothing
  • Being extremely apologetic or meek
  • Making up stories and excuses about clumsiness and being accident-prone, rather than telling the truth
  • Being very isolated from family and friends
  • Having very low self-esteem
  • Showing symptoms of depression
  • Having limited money, access to the phone or car, etc.
  • Problems with drugs or alcohol
  •  Exhibiting the warning signs of suicide


If you have been walking on eggshells, experiencing ongoing fear and abuse, identify yourself as a victim, are ready for a positive change, and interested in seeking counseling to help you get through this most difficult, fearful and lonely time of your life, I am here for you. You are not alone. Together, we can get through this and create a life of independence, healthy self-esteem, a sense of empowerment, and feeling safe, so you can move forward into the life you really want for yourself and your family.  I can help you transition from “victim” to “victor” status, and create the life you want.

If you or someone you know is or has been a victim of domestic abuse, please reach out for help immediately.  Colorado Crisis Line:  888-885-1222, National Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-7233.     

DO I HAVE PTSD?

Only a skilled and competent medical doctor specializing in psychiatry or a therapist trained in PTSD can definitively tell you if you suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

Any type of traumatic event can cause a person to suffer from symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress, although PTSD is prevalent among those who experience military combat. Rape, sexual molestation in childhood, a physical assault, witnessing a homicide or suicide, being a victim of a mass shooting or domestic violence, losing someone close to you and numerous other events can bring about PTSD. The symptoms are similar, no matter what incident caused the condition.

If, since returning from a combat deployment and sometimes many years after returning, you can answer yes to any of the following questions, you have some symptoms of PTSD:

  • Do you have prolonged memories of combat?
  • Do you dream about the country in which you saw combat?
  • Do you have nightmares or flashbacks?
  • Do you suffer from bouts of insomnia?
  • Do you ever seem to shut out the world?
  • Do you often feel drained of emotions or just numb?
  • Do you avoid things that remind you of combat experience?
  • Do you find that the anniversary dates of certain events in your combat experience make you feel uncomfortable?
  • Do you find it hard to make and keep friends?
  • Have you had multiple marriages?
  • Is your current marriage strained?
  • Have you abused alcohol or drugs to help you feel better?
  • Do you have no plans for the future or could you not care less about the future?
  • Are you irritable and prone to unexplained outbursts of anger?
  • Are you jumpy or over-reactive to things that fail to startle others?

Most people experience one or more of these symptoms in the normal course of life.  However, the more of these symptoms you have on a recurring basis, the more likely it is that you have PTSD. Wives of veterans can also suffer from PTSD if they have been a caregiver to their husbands who struggle with it. 

Preparing combatants psychologically for war is antithetical to helping them recover from its psychological trauma. To expect otherwise places an unreasonable expectation on our military. The military has made an extensive effort to help its personnel adjust to the stress of combat.  However, in the environment of a professional army, many active-duty personnel view psychiatric treatment as an admission of weakness or failure. 

Left untreated, PTSD only becomes more engrained and less responsive to treatment.  Failed relationships, career and employment problems, substance abuse, depression, suicide, homicide and other acts of violence can be the end result of untreated PTSD.