Emotional Wellness after Domestic Violence

by Ashley Guidry, Communications Associate

Emotional Wellness is defined as properly coping with life and developing healthy relationships. October is recognized as the month to monitor your emotional health and check on your loved ones. The pandemic has emotionally changed us in ways most of us may never recover from. To social injustices then food shortages, there’s no denying that times are hard.

Our time in quarantine has stirred painful emotions leading to overwhelming thoughts that has negatively impacted how we function in day-to-day life. Not managing your emotional well-being can influence changes in your work life, your physical health, and create challenges in relationships. A healthy environment also plays a role in a healthy mind. Unfortunately, when living with others, it is a struggle to manage your own emotional health when the other isn’t playing their part. Even before the pandemic, Domestic Violence has always been a major issue in American society.

Domestic Violence became more of a public issue during the 1970s and early 80s. Many were quick to learn that violence doesn’t just happen among strangers, it happens between people who know each other deeply. This is what makes it hard for people in those situations to break away from them, for who could they go to? But soon, the rampant abuse could no longer go ignored. Programs and facilities were established to supply victims with the help they needed.

In 1975, New York starts the Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis. In 1983, over 700 shelters open up nationally helping victims annually. Family Violence Prevention & Services Act wasn’t passed until the next year. In 1994, the Violence Against Women Act was formed which officially recognizes domestic violence and sexual assault as crimes. A year later, the GLBT National Health Center was created.

The pandemic has left victims between a rock and a hard place as quarantine left an almost immeasurable effect on our psyches. As of 2021, it is reported that domestic violence is widespread in the United States. Now, nearly one in four women and one in ten men will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. No one expects domestic violence to happen to them, but it doesn’t limit itself to race, gender, or economic status. It can happen to anyone.

Domestic violence isn’t a physical ailment, it can take many forms from emotional, digital, to financial. In general, there are multiple tactics in abuse with the goal of controlling and manipulating their victim. However, often it doesn’t begin outright, there’s a gradual build to abuse. Domestic violence can start off as passive-aggressive insults, strange accusations, telling you what to do, and belittling everything you do. From there the foundation has been set and it can grow worse in different ways from there. In fact, an alternative form of abuse that victims experience is their healthcare treatment. 53% of respondents reported that an abusive partner had also controlled and/or restricted access to healthcare. Children have a 45 to 60% chance of experiencing child abuse if their parent is assaulted.

Pay attention to those you care for. Victims make constant excuses for injuries, have shifts in their personalities, or skipping out on events they enjoy. If someone you know is showing these signs, it may be best to step in and ask them if anything is wrong.

In a sense, domestic violence is an avoidable issue. Advocating to promote healthy relationships can make domestic violence preventable. However, it’s easier said than done. What is good to stay aware is that it’s not the victim’s fault. What’s important is their safety and mental state. Domestic violence can have lasting impacts on an individual’s long-term health. It can increase the chances of stroke, lead to chronic pain, heart disease, and even cancer. Along with depression, increased substance use, and decreased access to health care services. Domestic violence can affect day-to-day life. So, what can they do to get their life back in order?

Seeking help from those you care about is one foot in the right direction on preserving your emotional wellness. Feel free to check out our previous blogs for more information about domestic violence. Learn more about intimate partner violence at HRSA and their efforts to address violence at the community level. If you or a loved one is in need, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.799.7233. Here are a few more resources listed below:

If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to schedule an appointment with us, please visit us online or call (832) 548-5000.