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THE BATTERED WOMAN: Signs and Symptoms of Intimate Partner Violence


Healthcare professionals are in a unique position to recognize these symptoms that abuse may be occurring.

Common Types of Injuries

  • Bruises, scrapes, minor cuts, fractures or sprains, particularly to body torso.
  • Injuries to the head (particularly the back where hair will cover the injury), chest, neck, breasts and abdomen.
  • Strangulation - common in domestic violence.
  • Injuries during pregnancy.
  • Repeated injuries or multiple injuries.
  • Evidence of prior or similar injuries.

Faces of Violence


The Stress Of Living With Ongoing Abuse May Cause:

  • Imagined pain or pain due to widely distributed trauma without physical evidence.
  • Gynecologic problems, frequent vaginal or urinary tract infections, pelvic pain.
  • Frequent use of prescribed or over-the-counter tranquilizers or pain medications.
  • Physical symptoms related to stress, chronic post-traumatic stress disorder, other anxiety disorders, or depression including: Fatigue, decreased concentration, chronic headaches, abdominal and gastrointestinal complaints,chest pain, palpitations, dizziness, numbness or tingling of extremities and difficulty breathing.

Behavioral Signs Of Domestic Violence:

  1. Denial or minimization of violence by partner or victim.
  2. Victim is overly apologetic for taking your time.
  3. Exaggerated sense of personal responsibility for relationship, including self-blame for partner’s violence.
  4. Reluctance of victim to speak in front of partner.
  5. Intense irrational jealousy expressed by partner or reported by victim.
  6. Partner accompanies victim, insists on staying close, or answers questions for her.

Psychological Symptoms Of Domestic Violence

  • Feelings of isolation and inability to cope.
  • Suicide attempts or gestures.
  • Panic attacks and other anxiety symptoms.
  • Alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Post-traumatic stress reactions or disorder.

An Abuser’s Use Of Control Within A Relationship May Result In:

  • Lack of transportation, access to finances, or ability to communicate by telephone.
  • Limited access to routine or emergency medical care.
  • Noncompliance with treatment regimens.
  • Not being allowed to obtain or take prescribed medication.


Johne11 on October 05, 2014:

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Thomas on May 08, 2012:

Why don they just sand up and walk out of the situation and seek help at a women's shelters that will help them out instead of acting as if nothing is wrong???????

Sharon on April 26, 2011:


Please know that God loves you and that all the bad things that has happened to you are not from Him at all. You said you feel you have to work for love. If this is true, Abeer, then it is not love. I want to encourage you by letting you know that the love that you seek is found in Jesus. The Bible says that even we were not perfect, he still chose to die for us. he knew we could not be perfect, so He is not expecting perfection from you. There is no way any of us can ever become "perfect", but what we can do is accept God's love for us inspite of who we are or what we've done. He is the only one that is perfect and righteous and when we accept Him, we put on His righteousness. The Bible says, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest" It truly is that simple. In fact, its so simple we feel there must be something more that we must do, but there isn't. When you think about, what more could you do? We don't have the power to make ourselves "good", and any good works that we do are no value, so what can we add to what Jesus has already done. Nothing. The moment you start trusting in God and believing that He loves you, that He sees you, and that He has a good plan for your life, and that He wants to know you, your burden will lift Abeer. I want to encourage you to read a book called, Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges, its on ebay right now on sale for $4. I think once you read the inside cover of the book, you will find that he is describing you. Its a book about people who thinks there works will make them perfect and he shows you how they never will. Only Jesus can make of us what we truly want to be. When I met Him I had no idea that people could know God in such a real way. He'll talk to you and encourage you and give you love in your heart like you've never had it before. Please ask Him Abeer, please ask Jesus to come into your heart and be your Lord. You'll never regret it.Pick up a Bible to learn more about God's great love for you. He does not love us because we're perfect, but because He is.

Badariah on November 10, 2010:

Abeer, it is perfectly normal for a victim of physical and or psychological abuse to be withdrawn and depressed. However, please be strong and know that there is a silver lining in every cloud. God tests those whom He truly loves. The more He loves someone, the more He would put the person into difficult trials in life. However, He would never challenge or test you at a greater degree than what you would be able to cope or handle with. Please be patient, talk to a confidant or counselor and I am positive that you could resolve your issues in the very near future. It would not be an overnight cure, but in time, you would feel much better. Trust me, everyone in the world has problems of some sort but with perseverance, the issues would be resolved or lessened. With every hardship, there will be ease, God Willing.

Abeer on February 02, 2010:

The first time I ever experienced domestic violence, or at least was aware of it was at 4 years old. My parents verbally argued and I tried to stop my dad verbally, but he completely ignored me. That was the first time I felt truly impactless.. weightless, like I have no viable role in life and my role was easily replaced.

The feeling is that of a crumbeled piece of paper. If you don't feel its 100% you can crumble it and throw it away, they are cheap, there are other ones, and it won't be the biggest loss.

I still feel that way sometimes in the world.

I am now 26 and my parents ONLY split up 3 years ago. The abuse, verbal and emotional, even physical continued well into my late teens.

I would be the one in the middle preventing him from hurting her. Coming in the middle of the night and holding her so she doesn't cry and provoke him further.

I also grew violent and began to take it out on my younger brother and mom. I would act exactly like my dad, and almost imitate his style, words, to the letter.

I was aggressiv and brutal.

I wanted to start a band, act, etc.. in school but I never did, I felt locked in a metal box. I had no skills to do these things and no confidence. I always felt vulnerable and scared. This made me angry because Iexpect myself to break through and be courageous. So I assumed I was lazy, I still feel this way. i always feel judged and just want to draw a curtain and hide away. I should have courage to face the judgement and challenge it, but it's just too hard. I again get angry at this because I feel it's laziness and taking the easy route out.

I think I may be too hard on myself.

Till this day, no one has ever said that i am being too hard on myself. ACtually my mom would agree.

I am a really hard worker and tried to get perfect grades, be the "perfect child" but it only made me more miserable.

I graduated high school with all the hope thngs would be different and I would be happy, but I choose a program I hated (my father's undergrad) and I fell into a depression (while living with my parents) and it was just the most horrible time to try and heal and go through your own emotions, while the bad atmosphere still lingers.

Needless to say, I blame myself for choosing this undergrad program and putting myself through such a damaging experience, but I had never known what it's like to be happy, and to have peace and confidence to pursue things. Again I felt like I wanted to draw a curtain and keep to myself in the name of money.

My mom encouraged me to try a different program but I was too afraid I would fail, I would be chartering unknown waters, I wasn't talented or creative enough. Deep down inside i knew better, that I was avery capable. It just hurt so much to try things and fail and have things go no where no change. So I withdrew. Again I think this is being lazy and my mom pointed it out.

BUT don't you think withdrawl and laziness are awefully close , and it's not fair to call a depressed person/withdraw person lazy?

Anyways, I just discovered the love of my life, design, and I am angry at myself for not trusting my instincts earlier. I realize, even if I did recognize it, I would still have the noise of my parents in the background to make me unhappy. sometimes I think I am using this as an excuse to be lazy, but I this it's crazy to think a person can normally function and open up in that kind of environment, absolutly insane.

I still get angry thinking about those horrible 4 college years and how I put myself through my father's major and did what I said never to do.

I feel like I gave myself a problem, and I knoew this, but I didn't know how to get out. Again fear of unknown and trying new things.

I am afraid of that degree defining me. It's my deepest fear and locking me in a metal box mentally.

I get angry and cry in my car on the way to work (which I hate) and really talk to God and ask him why he let this happen. I felt very bullied by life in gneral, like my purpose for existance is to be bullied and for bullying tactics to be tried.

I don't know how to accept God's love and realize that my degree does not define me, it was just an experience even though I SIGNED UP FOR IT WHICH I AM HAVINGA HARD TIME FORGIVING MYSELF FOR.

I can't reconcile the point of all of it. i am now unhappy and depressed. I feel like I have to work extra hard to justify to the world and God why Ishould exist. Like it's not my right to exist. i feel very guilty all the time, like I have committed a haneous crime (probably of abusing my younger brother). I just feel very wrong, burdened and guilty. I just feel like I have no right to exist and I am only alive out of god's mercy so I better watch my back or this "living" will be taken away.

I don't think I should have to accept a second rate life. I feel very "by the waste side" of families. I wasn't given attention and I feel very hurt and damaged. I can't love anyone becaseu I have so much going on, and I just feel worse about it.

I am at a point where I CAN'T and won't accept anything because I "have" to do or am "supposed" to do, i only want to do what i like/love and feel in my heart. I won't accept the circumstances given to me and I feel like I am rejecting God's plan, but if this is his plan all along, it's been a crappy one for me and it's made me very unhappy. I feel like I am rejecting the world's expectations and with that God's expectations of what I am "supposed' to do and going on with my own free will.

I wish I had done this earlier, I get angry that I didn't and that I recognized back then I wanted to do this but didn't. Again though, I shouldn't be called lazy for concentrating on feeling depressed and withdrawn.

I am now working with a therapist and feel like I want to go back to university to give them the degree back.

I find myself heavy hearted, crying a lot with myself and talking angrily to God who I feel's maybe's just been watching me, like I've been watching myself become this train wreck and not doing anything to stop it.

i feel guilty that I want to quit my job, my source of livelihood, but I don't want it, and if I am going to make a living, it's gonna have to be my way. Sorry but that's how it is. This makes me feel like I am rejecting God, but I should be able enjoy my life and have the life I envision. I won't settle for less. If that's inconvenient, I dont' care. I've been inconvenienced and denied enough, don't you think??

I just am angry with God and I don't know how to accept is love, or blessings. How can someone who's given me the life I've led also give so many blessings, it's too contradictory and unpredictable. I have a hard time trusting this.

I feel like I have to work for love, I have to always beon, and I just want a break, a small push of guidance. I have had good/great expereineces don't get me wrong. I just can't help the unhappiness I feel and the anger I feel when I see kids and other families happy and healthy and I just hate mine and want nothing to do with parenting.

i am now at a all or nothing poitn, if it's not real love, completely consuming love, then forget it, if I don't belive in my work,then forget it, if I don't like someone, then forget it, I just have no tolerance for anything that is not from within my being. I apologize if it seems like I am being blasmohpous, I just want an answer from God on why it had to be this hard for me? WHY?

Marliza Gunter on January 11, 2010:

You are one hundred percent accurate....only God can help with inner healing and the restoration of the victims emotional strength...He can also help the abuser...who was also a victim once...I would like to ad your link to one of my hubs if I may...

anisha on March 18, 2009:

Thanks Marina

My first shock was when he slapped me hard when i was sweetly asking him to wake up

Its a tragedy to get such a response from someone whom you love so much.I curse such bad heartless people.How can they hurt someone they love? It was hard for me to realise the truth.But the truth is nobody is higher than almighty.

Marina Rosa (author) from Southern California on March 17, 2009:

Anisha, Your story gives me hope that DV victims can and do escape and heal. I agree with you that the physical bruises are only one part of an abusive relation. As a survivor myself, I am thankful every day for the life I now have and that I got my young children away from witnessing the abuse and degradation I was subjected to. Because I left ( and got effective help to heal from the mental and emotional effects of my trauma and abuse) my children were able to heal too. Today they are both strong, healthy adults (and great parents) with the healthy coping skills they need to weather whatever comes their way.

Leaving (and staying gone) is very difficult - but you and I are great examples of what can happen when a battered woman finally has the courage to say "ENOUGH!" and begin to re-claim her power.

Thank you for your great comment, and good luck!

anisha on March 17, 2009:

All that is wriitten above is 100% true.I totally agree to it.

I am glad that I am out of domestic abuse.My husband used to beat me, bite me, yell at me,put me down, compare me, I was scared to talk, as my jokes were taken as an insult.He had big ego, he use to say I dont like when you say say"no", which was very annoying and frustrating for me, he laughed at my achievements, he didn't liked the way i dressed,he wanted me to wear short skirts ,deep neck shirts(I am an Indian girl).Today I am working as a Graphic Designer and when I remember what I had been through.I question myself why I stayed so long in this relationship.A person who has inferiority complex within himself how can he praise or appreciate others effort.I thank God and my family for being so supportive, who helped me to bring back my self esteem and self worth.

Love is Blind, but if there is no love its Abuse.

Marina Rosa (author) from Southern California on October 05, 2008:

KT - I agree that emotional/psycological abuse is often the most damaging of all! And also that it's not about "women" or "men". Bullies come in all genders, ages and situations unfortunately.

Congratulations for getting away!

KT pdx from Vancouver, WA, USA on October 05, 2008:

Glad you put in the psychological symptoms too. Many people miss those, but they are often able to be spotted faster than the physical ones (if there are even physical ones). Also, domestic abuse is not limited to spousal (or even man abusing woman). It can be parents to children, grown children to parents, roommates, etc.

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