Domestic Violence: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 7/28/2020

Domestic violence is any form of maltreatment that takes place in a heterosexual or homosexual romantic relationship between adults or adolescents. It is also referred to as intimate partner violence.

Signs and symptoms of domestic violence vary. These can include having a partner who

  • accuses you of having an affair,
  • criticizes you,
  • tells you what to wear and how you should look,
  • threatens to kill you or someone close to you,
  • throws things or punches walls when angry,
  • yells at you and makes you feel small,
  • keeps cash and credit cards from you,
  • won't let you have money for basic needs like food and clothes,
  • keeps close tabs on where you go and whom you go with,
  • embarrasses you in front of others,
  • attacks you with weapons,
  • keeps you from eating, sleeping, or getting medical care,
  • locks you in or out of your house,
  • punches, pushes, kicks, bites, or pulls hair, or
  • forces you to have sex or makes you feel like you owe them sex.

Cause of domestic violence

The exact cause of domestic violence is unknown, but social and psychological factors are likely to play a role in its development.

Other domestic violence symptoms and signs

  • Accuses You of Having an Affair
  • Attacks You With Weapons
  • Criticizes You
  • Embarrasses You in Front of Others
  • Forces You to Have Sex or Makes You Feel Like You Owe Them Sex
  • Keeps Cash and Credit Cards From You
  • Keeps Close Tabs on Where You Go and Whom You Go With
  • Keeps You From Eating Sleeping or Getting Medical Care
  • Locks You in or Out of Your House
  • Punches Pushes Kicks Bites or Pulls Hair
  • Tells You What to Wear and How You Should Look
  • Threatens to Kill You or Someone Close to You
  • Throws Things or Punches Walls When Angry
  • Won't Let You Have Money for Basic Needs Like Food and Clothes
  • Yells at You and Makes You Feel Small

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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.