Domestic violence is alarmingly common in the U.S. In fact, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, approximately 10 million people are victims of it every single year. This translates to about 20 Americans every minute.
If you are in an abusive relationship, you certainly should take steps to protect yourself. You might not realize, though, that domestic violence can cause long-term damage to the emotional well-being of your children. This is true even if they only witness the abuse you suffer.
It is not uncommon for children who see domestic violence to have increased anxiety. This is likely because of the state of chaos that violence often causes. If your children have heightened levels of anxiety, they might also have to deal with headaches, stomach pains and other anxiety-associated physical ailments.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
PTSD is more serious than elevated anxiety. Still, it is possible for children to develop PTSD after witnessing even a single violent event. If your kids regularly see domestic violence in your home, though, they are likely to be at even greater risk.
Children, especially teenagers, can respond to domestic violence by becoming aggressive. If your kids see violence at home, they might become bullies, fight at school or experiment with drugs and alcohol.
Even if your partner has directed his or her violence exclusively toward you, you cannot predict the future. Put simply, many domestic abusers eventually target their own children.
Ultimately, because domestic violence can cause both immediate and long-term harm to the young ones in your family, it is probably time to explore all your legal options.