Domestic abuse or violence affects all communities, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, religion, socioeconomic status, education level, or sexual orientation. Domestic violence is not just physical assault: it’s any pattern of behavior that is used to frighten, intimidate, harm, manipulate, or gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner, whether through physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological means. It can be incredibly challenging to recognize abuse and confront the reality that someone we love—and who can be caring, loving, and attentive—is perpetuating abusive behavior. It can also be frustrating when we witness people we care about in abusive relationships not acting in a way that seems logical from an outside perspective. Abuse is never the victim’s fault, and there are many constructive ways to help ourselves and others when we encounter abusive experiences that can have tremendous impact on our sense of self-worth, trust in our own judgment, and trust in others.
If you or someone you know is in immediate need of support, please seek professional help. If you are in crisis, here are some immediate free resources.
When you are showered with attention, it can feel incredibly romantic and can blind you to hints of problems ahead. But what happens when attentiveness becomes domination? In some relationships, the desire to control leads to jealousy, gaslighting, threats, micromanaging—even physical violence.
Trauma and Recovery is revered as the seminal text on understanding trauma survivors. By placing individual experience in a broader political frame, Harvard psychiatrist Judith Herman argues that psychological trauma is inseparable from its social and political context.