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Domestic Violence

Identifying Symptoms of Domestic Violence

08/18/2006

Question:

My husband of 2 months used to belittle me with jokes, it stopped when I said I wouldn`t tolerate it. I have caught him in several lies or minimization of things, lately his sarcasm directed at me hits me like a kick in the stomach. I also fear when he hits his dog. Am I overexagerating things? I fear him walking in the door (and I am a survivor of a previous marriage) I didn`t want to start out my marriage like this. Are these symptoms of domestic emotional violence or am I making too much of all of it?

Answer:

This response is based on very limited information about the current situation. If you are a survivor of an abusive relationship or have experienced emotional abuse in the past, perhaps you are sensitive to the behavior of your current partner – especially if he is demonstrating the same types of behavior that was hurtful in the past.

Criticism, belittling, and put-downs are all forms of emotional abuse. I surmise that if a person has experienced this type of behavior previously, she tends to have an adverse reaction to the same type of behavior in her current relationship. When an individual begins to downplay or minimize the impact of her partner’s behavior, it tends to limit or reduce constructive feedback opportunities and tends to adversely affect the target’s level of emotional functioning. Individual and/or couples counseling are likely to be effective forms of intervention.

For more information:

Go to the Domestic Violence health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Cathy   McDaniels-Wilson, PhD Cathy McDaniels-Wilson, PhD
Adjunct Professor
Department of Sociology
The Ohio State University