Effects of Domestic Violence on Adults

Each individual is unique; responses to trauma vary. Some effects you may recognize or experience are listed below.


  • Depression – feeling hopeless and helpless or emotionally numb
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Low self esteem
  • Grief for family and personal losses
  • Shame, guilt or self-blame
  • Fear of the abuser or living without the abuser
  • Confusion and trouble concentrating
  • Anger


  • Withdrawal
  • Flashbacks and/or nightmares
  • Avoidance of situations reminding the individual of the abuse
  • Mood swings and difficulty controlling emotions
  • Difficulty in obtaining, maintaining and adjusting to employment
  • Jumpiness or agitation
  • Self-medication – attempts to cope with or numb feelings with drugs or alcohol


  • Isolation from friends or relatives
  • Difficulty in trusting others
  • Stormy relationships
  • Breakup of the family unit
  • Court disagreements regarding separation, divorce or custody of children
  • Seeking out new relationships to deal with overwhelming feelings of loneliness


  • Sleep deprivation
  • Somatic, or stomach, complaints, headaches
  • Nervousness/Anxiety
  • Chronic health problems
  • Related problems to substance misuse
  • Injuries or death resulting from physical abuse