When we’re born, we come into the world relying on our parents to care for us so that we can survive. Being infants, we’re naturally trusting of those who care for us, and this trust then is transferred to other people that come into our lives as children.
But, then the fairy tale ends. As we grow older, we learn the unfortunate fact that not all people can be trusted, and sadly, this even becomes true with close friends, family members, those we look to for advice and support, and our significant others.
It’s not that we shouldn’t trust others, but we do owe it to ourselves to learn the signs of abuse in any situation and in any relationship that we’re involved in.
Here, we’ll identify key traits that will help you to recognize the signs of abuse in any relationship.
Our elders are our community leaders. These are the individuals who teach our children, preach our sermons, coach our kids, and even those who we go to for advice such as with support groups. Believe it or not, this is a common area where abuse is present.
Even in some church groups there are people who have been abused by spiritual leaders, and many are ashamed and won’t speak of it throughout the rest of their lives out of shame and sometimes guilt.
Signs of abuse from community elders can be easily recognized. Often, a victim will suddenly stop going to church, to school, to practice, or to support meetings. Other signs can be where one withdraws completely from all outside activities.
Chronic substance abuse and other self-medication methods may be used as well. But above all, a person who suffers from abuse by their community elders genuinely shows signs of social withdrawal altogether.
The last thing anyone wants to admit is that they have a spouse or significant other that abuses them. When this type of abuse happens, it often results in shame, and a person might be reluctant to go out and seek help.
The signs of relationship abuse are more readily visible in most cases. This can include visible bruises on the face, particularly around the mouth and eyes. This is often the result of being repeatedly slapped in the face or struck with a closed fist.
Other signs are less noticeable but do include withdrawing from meeting up with friends or from visiting family in many cases. In fact, in a lot of domestic abuse situations, the victim is otherwise restricted from reaching out to friends and family. This is typically done out of fear that the victim might seek help, or leave the relationship entirely.
Domestic abuse can also result in serious mental health issues over time, some of which may be severe.
Abuse by Relatives
One of the less-discussed forms of abuse is abuse by relatives. These are the hardest cases of abuse for anyone to go through, though they don’t diminish the injury caused in the other previously mentioned cases of abuse.
This type of abuse is sadly associated most with children. A parent or close relative might develop a lustful engagement with a child, and this can manifest into full-on sexual abuse that could last for several years.
Signs of this abuse can be very hard to discern, especially with young children. But, some signs are easily recognizable. A child may begin by drawing strange sexual images or develop an interest in sexuality at a young age. Additionally, there may be physical signs such as bruising near the genitals or bleeding.
Abuse by relatives can also come in many forms, from verbal to physical, and may not only be directed at children. Some adults even suffer from abuse from relatives even in middle-age.
Though the signs will vary, it’s imperative that you learn the signs of abuse in any relationship in order to help those who need it the most.