Abuse Hides in the Dark. Turn on Your Light.

Depression Symptoms Show the Effects of Domestic Abuse

A man with depression symptoms that show the effects of verbal abuse

Depression symptoms and the effects of domestic abuse are eerily similar. Domestic abuse causes unhealthy thinking habits. Then the thinking habits become depression symptoms. Let’s explore several symptoms of depression followed by thoughts on how domestic abuse influences or causes those depression symptoms.

It’s important to talk to your doctor about depression if any of the following observations seem familiar. More importantly, talk to your doctor if the symptoms of depression and domestic abuse interrupt your daily life. There is help for depression, and the sooner you seek it, the better.

Depression Symptoms vs. Effects of Abuse

Bold font indicates depression symptoms.

Cognitive Depression Symptoms

Difficulty concentrating could arise from the abuser’s use of repeated interruptions. Interruptions cause you to lose your place, perhaps forget what you were saying or doing, and you must pick up where you left off. These interruptions occur

  • during arguments
  • when the victim tries to do something for anyone other than the controller
  • when you’re engaged in something interesting or of value to only you

Difficulty remembering details shows evidence of the abuser’s habit of remaking of history. Abusers vehemently insist that the victim’s memories are wrong (even when they’re not). This causes a person to doubt that they can remember details.

Difficulty making decisions arises out of habit. Abusers criticize most of their victims decisions. Abuse victims come to believe that nothing they decide will be the correct choice. After that, decision-making becomes tough and anxiety provoking.

Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable can come about after the abuser’s incessant badgering and need to detach the victim from what makes him or her happy and strong. Besides that, the demanding nature of living with an abusive partner sucks the life out of a person. This makes any pleasurable activity a luxury the victim can’t afford to spend energy doing.

Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts also plague many victims of domestic abuse. The victims become increasingly hopeless that there is a way to ever feel good again. Also, although looking hard for a solution to their relationship problems, they aren’t able to find any. Besides that, the abuser might say “We’d be better off without you. You’re a terrible mother!” or similar statements.

Emotional Depression Symptoms

Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness result from what an abuser says and does to the victim of abuse. Helpless people often have low self-worth and feel guilty for simply being who they are. Victims are much easier to control when they feel this way.

Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism result from feeling guilty, worthless, and helpless. Similarly, those feelings can result from the abuser’s attitude transferring to the victim.

Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings are hallmark signs that a victim feels “with no reason.” First of all, the abusive partner tells the victim they shouldn’t feel bad — ever — because the abuser provides them with more than enough reasons to stay happy. Secondly, especially before a victim realizes he or she suffers under abuse, those feelings are warnings from the subconscious that something isn’t right.

Physical Depression Symptoms

Insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, and decreased energy highlight the result of unending stress caused by abuse. The act of living becomes extremely stressful. Additionally, some abusers purposefully disrupt a victim’s sleep, which can cause the symptoms, too.

Irritability and restlessness can evolve after sleep disruption, anxiety, and other symptoms of domestic abuse.

Overeating along with substance abuse can become coping mechanisms for domestic abuse victims. In the case of appetite loss, it could happen due to the stress of abuse. Alternatively, losing weight or gaining it could be a sign of an eating disorder. Many people with eating disorders develop them out of a need to control ‘something’ in their lives. Abusers don’t want victims to control anything.

Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease with treatment are also side effects of stress caused by abusive relationships.

I believe the abuse I suffered at home triggered — probably created — my depression. The domestic abuse would have happened because of who I married. But maybe the depression didn’t have to happen.

The effects of abuse relate directly to depression symptoms. If you want to know how abusers create these effects, you can learn about their techniques from Examples of Verbal Abuse.

See also: Verbal Abuse Symptoms In Long-Term Relationships

Featured photo by Christopher Lemercier