Domestic Violence is More Than Bruises: What to Watch for and How to Get Help


When you walk into my home, you’ll hear my son laughing and music playing. You’ll probably smell the pumpkin spice candle I have burning, and you’ll see toys everywhere. It’s cozy and full of yellow in each room. You’ll step into a loving, comfortable home.

But it wasn’t always that way. 

You see, there’s a cabinet door in my kitchen that’s broken. You can tell that something has busted the front part of it. But I’ll make up a story of how it happened and laugh.

That broken cabinet door? What really happened was an argument, and it was punched. Words were said that still echo in my mind… “You’re garbage, you’re nothing without me. Everything you have is because of me. You are worthless.”

My son was in the middle of it; he heard all of it. He was screaming. I was screaming. I asked him to leave, his dad. He wouldn’t leave.

The police were called out for domestic violence.

For many women (and men), their home is a place of love, acceptance, and comfort. It’s a place where many come home, take off their shoes, and find support. But for others, it’s the exact opposite.

When I think of domestic violence, I automatically think of hitting and bruises. I don’t think of putting someone down or withholding money. But in fact, those are all examples of domestic violence. And that’s exactly what my husband did.

Here are a few subtle ways to know if you’re in an abusive relationship that you need to get out of:

  • Your partner puts you down. They degrade you. They attack every aspect of you. Your looks, your mental health, and what you can and cannot do. They blame you for everything that goes wrong; they blame you for their outbursts.
  • They convince you that you’re responsible for their behavior; everything is your fault.
  • They make fun of you when you’re upset.
  • They call you names.
  • Your partner tells you that you are nothing without them; that you will never amount to anything if you leave.
  • Your partner is possessive of you-always checking to see where you are and whom you are with. It isn’t the casual checking in.
  • Your partner is extremely controlling over finances.
  • Your partner controls who you hang out with and what people you call your friends. They may begin to restrict how much time you spend outside the house or try to convince you that your friends aren’t good for you.

Domestic violence isn’t just about bruises. It’s emotional abuse; it’s keeping you from friends and family. It’s keeping you so isolated that you can’t tell anyone what’s going on. It’s staying because you believe that is all you’re worth.

Mama, if you’re reading this and it begins to hit home, reach out. Get to a safe place, get to counseling, begin rebuilding a life.

Please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for referrals and support: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY: 1-800-787-3224.


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