In other cases, the constant emotional and verbal abuse can slowly erode the victim’s self-confidence and self-esteem.
While physical abuse can, and often does, cause serious physical harm, often requiring medical intervention, emotional abuse hurts us deep inside and can leave permanent psychological and emotional scars.
Many sufferers of domestic violence do not speak out about what is happening at home, but suffer in silence, often for years.
They may try to deny it to themselves, not wanting to admit to the reality of the abuse; they may feel shame about the abuse, as though it were their fault.
Abuse rarely stays the same, but usually increases both in severity and frequency over a period of time.
Throughout the abusive relationship, the victim of abuse will use various different coping mechanisms to survive emotionally and physically which are a necessary strategy while in such a situation, but can be debilitating in a non-abusive environment, and these have to be unlearned.In actual fact one of the main problems encountered by victims, friends, family and various agencies dealing with the consequences of an abusive relationship, is how 'normal' the abuser seemed.Many victims of abuse comment on how their partner is like a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ – seems fine and lovely one moment or in public, but presents a completely different personality in private or at a different time.Often it is these periods of apparent calm, which give the victim of abuse the hope that change can be achieved, and the abuse will stop, and keeps them locked in the abusive relationship.For more information on the different types of abuse, see Types of Abuse.