When we think about domestic violence, we immediately think about physical abuse. Keep in mind though, there are varying variables and degrees of domestic violence all of which are impactful. The Department of Justice defines domestic violence as “physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.” The abuse can be overt and obvious. At the same time, it can be subtle and slowly happen over time. Domestic violence does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone, it happened to me and it can happen to you. The key warning sign to look out for in an abusive relationship is the need for power and control. Abusers share in common this characteristic trait.
If you told me years before that I would find myself in an abusive relationship, I would have scoffed at you. I was a smart, strong, independent woman. I would never allow myself to be with a someone who was abusive to me. Like many, since the abuse wasn’t blatantly physical in nature, I didn’t realize I was in a abusive relationship. However I soon realized that financial (economic) abuse is a form of domestic violence! In my situation, the financial abuse was gradual. It was not as immediate or direct like a physical assault but it did have devastating consequences which resulted in losing our family home to foreclosure, filing for bankruptcy protection and destroying my credit. With that said, the abuse not only affected me but also my children. Although I suffered financially, I am glad I made the decision to get out.
If you are ready to receive help but do not have anyone to call, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-SAFE (7233). Breaking the cycle and taking a stand starts with just one phone call.