Domestic violence can be physical or psychological, and it can affect anyone of any age, gender, race, or sexual orientation. It may include behaviors meant to scare, physically harm, or control a partner. And while every relationship is different, domestic violence typically involves an unequal power dynamic in which one partner tries to assert control over the other in a variety of ways.
Insults, threats, emotional abuse, and sexual coercion all constitute domestic violence. Some perpetrators may use children, pets, or other family members as emotional leverage to get their victim to do what they want. Victims of domestic violence experience diminished self-worth, anxiety, depression, and a general sense of helplessness that can take time and often professional help to overcome.
A clinician who works with victims of domestic violence may be able to help an individual extract her or himself from the situation, as well as offer psychological support. Find a therapist who can help here.