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Domestic Settings of Abuse

Kathryn Patricelli, MA Updated: Mar 16th 2016

Domestic Settings

Much verbal, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and neglect takes place in the home within the context of the intimate relationships between family members that take place within the home. Abuse between relationship partners is sometimes referred to as "partner abuse", "domestic violence", "relationship violence", or "family violence". Much child abuse and elder abuse takes place within the home as well.

fighting couple in bedWhen people think of abuse within the home, they most often think of a domestic violence situation among relationship partners, where an adult male perpetrator harms an adult female victim. The reason that this sexual stereotype exists (where the abuser is male and the victim is female) is because the vast majority of reported cases of domestic violence are reported by women. According to USDOJ statistics, women report on average more than 572,000 violent victimizations committed by their intimate partners each year, compared to approximately 49,000 incidents reported by men. It is likely that the actual number of men who are assaulted is higher than these statistics would suggest, for the simple reason that men are more likely to feel ashamed of having been assaulted, and are less likely to report assaults. Whatever the actual numbers of assaults are, the take home message is that anyone can be an abuser, whether male or female.

Partner abuse may take many forms. Destruction of property, psychological and emotional abuse, and physical and sexual assault are all common forms. On the milder, but still quite serious side, domestic abusers threaten victims, use verbal put-downs and derogatory names, attempt to publicly humiliate them, and play manipulative mind games. Abusers are often jealous. They may attempt to limit their victim's access to family, friends or employment so as to keep them under better control and away from "outside negative influences" (e.g., away from people who might try to talk sense into them). Abusers efforts to limit victims outside contacts may result in victims not being able to stay in contact with family and friends, being unable to seek employment, or losing employment (due to absenteeism or decreased productivity secondary to abuse). In its more severe forms, partner abuse may involve physical and sexual violence against adult partners as well as child and even family pet victims.

Most child abuse and elder abuse also occur in the home. Child and elder abuse occur in all the ugly forms that partner abuse does; including verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. Another form of abuse that children and elders may be subject to is neglect. Neglect occurs when dependent children or adults are not provided with adequate amounts of the basic necessities of life, such as food, shelter, and clothing. Neglect can also occur when dependent children are not given proper attention and supervision. Neglect occurs for reasons other than lack of financial means. It is instead a choice that some parents (or adult children) make to withhold these necessities.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

my mom rediculous behavior - Ann - Dec 22nd 2010

i love to go to karate she would always love yelling at me and so on i came home 1 day from my test in karate instead of being proud of me she yelled at me i was so sad why does she always say bad things to me she tells me again and again dont go anymore dontshe would hit and yell at me 1ce she was even about to cut of my leg i dont know waht 2 possibly do my life is recklest i dont noe waht 2 do

you are precious - - Oct 3rd 2010

To anyone who can relate to this article, please know you don't deserve it, and despite what you've been told its not your fault. There is hope and there is freedom. God is faithful. You are so precious and so valuable to Him and He is with you through this. He can change your life, he may or may not change your husband.

Please consider the help and advice these website have to offer. I've been married 8+ years and I used to pray and beg God to change my situation. My husband did not change, but He did work in me and allow me to get out with my kids.

Slowly I have set aside all the lies I was told, and experienced freedom again. Remember who you once were and what you used to enjoy. Those things are real and you can have them back. Follow your heart and seek after God's. (you will also likely have to leave to see change. if you've got kids, they will thank you for it. be safe)

Verbally Abused Wife - - Oct 2nd 2010


I can't believe I'm writing this.  I love to write.  Well.... I used to love to write. 

The post(s) on this site have inspired me to open up (even for a minute) which I believe that it's not only theraputic, but could eventually help me and maybe someon else as well.  So here I go...

I've been with my spouse for the past 14years.  Actually, we will be celebrating (.......celebrating........) our 14 year anniversary this week.  I have loved this man more (probably) than I've should.

He continues to put me down and criticize me on EVERYTHING I do or say.  And yet, when I cry or make the slightest hint that his words hurt me (like a knife stabbing me over and over again), he claims I'm too sensitive and that he's just kidding around.  He always says, "Where's that sense of humor you once had?"

I feel broken.  Broken down so much that sometimes it hurts to breathe.  I feel broken...Broken to the point that all I do is want to please him no matter the sacrifice to my own soul...I feel broken.  Broken down that when I look at myself in the mirror, (SOMETIMES...just sometimes....) I don't recognize the one staring back. 

My tears seem to be the only emotion I can truly call my own.

I pray it gets better...I pray that life has more to offer than being a verbally abused wife.

Thanks, ever so much for allowing me to share (just a piece) of who I am.






Too Young - stranger - Aug 24th 2010

Im only 15, and everyday I come home to parents that argue and cuss each other all the time. My mom has OCD really really bad. She calls me worthless, and tells me I am going know where in life. My dad hits me, pushes me, calls me worthless as well. Do I deserve this? Really, why can't I do the right thing and tell.

can you help me out - shonny - Jul 19th 2010

hello there im shonny king

I am doing research on domestic violence for my speech at school 

I was wondering if any of you could help me out by asking a few questions


if you could help me out in anyway please email me on

Not the person I fell in love with!!!!!!!!!! - - Apr 13th 2010

hello! I am a 43 yr.old I have 3 children from my first husband who drank and did drugs stayed with him for over 20 years for my children well you know the rest never wanting to grow up name calling beat me once under his control for a long time but got out . But one day I met someone nice and so I thougth and Ithouth wrong very carming but arnt they all been in this for two long years and have 1 child with him and now Isee the real him a jealous munipaling person I REALLY GOT TO HATE HIM .I want out hes lied about every thing I ever believed in him way to go I didnt even see it comming but now he blows up over the stupits things and starts yelling and calling me names puting me down like look at you who would want you and old my goddness some of the names my 3 kids dont ive with me but for some reason he brings them in to it there no good and the stuff he calls them its crazy the man needs help of coures he thinks he has no probloms but I know better but I could go on and on and Im not so if any one would love talk please feel free looking to get out



Abusee is Wrong - karinna - Dec 18th 2009

Thats bullshytt dont let anyone put there hands on you, get out beforee its too late!

can sympathize with everyone - MAH - Nov 12th 2009

I understand what everyone is going thru because I have been there done that, I was in abuse for 5 long years, mine was from an alcoholic husband. WE had a child together that is now 29 yrs old and has a family, yes she is with an abuser as well. The anger and abuse that is in this man is very bad, he abused the 5 yr old and the mother could not protect her child, she chose the husband over the child when she should have protected him and walked away, now there is 2 more children in the pic. He has kept her away from the family for well over a yr now and I jsut have to let go and Let God have control. I will forver have her in my heart because one day she will return back to me,,,all you can do is Pray and I think I have had it bad, It is everywhere, it does not hide. People go thru this everyday and it is really sad...

How do I help - - Jun 8th 2009

My mom is going tho this, My dad is verbally abused and I am scarced it will get to hitting her. he is not so nice to my sister and I. It got a put where my mom cant leave without him with her, My sister and I and my mom are being calledd names like the c word. I was called, a slut because I defend my mother.

What do I do??????

Living with mental abuse the mans side - Jack - Mar 5th 2009


I have been with my wife for over 20 years. my wife has intimidated me for many years now. she has said everything from that I am a bad husband and father and that I am a bad provider. she has for years yelled and sceamed at me for one thing or another. she has left me a couple of times and I have begged her to come back, and that I would try harder to make her happy. I could never make her happy. when I would talk to her she would just not listen. she has taken my credit cards and money away because I was to stupid to hold on to them. I have had to suffer the loss of diginity as I would beg everyone to make sure that everything was perfect before she got home or there would be hell to pay. if she would be angry she would make everyone in the house misirable. anything that I ever did was done wrong there was only one way to do anything right and that was her way no matter what. she has told me that I am fat and that I have a toad face and all kinds of things. she would tell me that I was lucky to have her and that I could never do anything right. this has gone on for years now until last week when she came in looking for a fight she started yelling in front of my kids and my dad I took her to the bedroom so that the kids would not see it and then after alls these years I lost it I slapped her in the face to get her to stop yelling. there was not even a mark on her but she called the police and had me removed. she had not paid the bills all month and promptly went to the bank the next day and removed all the money not even leaving me money for gas to get to work then while I was at work she and a bunch of her friends came into the houseand took everything and what she did not take she broke since then she has left me text messages telling me how she likes to be with real men and that I am nothing but a piece of $h!t and that I want to get her back but now after what I have read I do not want her back in mylife until she can admit she has a problem and get some help. the sad part is that I still do love her even after everything she has done like cheating and spending all the money and blaming me for it. just so you know it does happen to men too!

can i help him? - Savanah - Mar 4th 2009

i believe that my best friend is being mentally abused by his mother. i know him well and he's not a bad kid. he goes to school doesnt do drugs or drink that often. he had a girl friend which his mother hated. she got the teachers to keep updates on them so she knows whats going on in his life. she also hired a computer tech to hack his computer for conversations that he had with his girlfriend in the past 6 months. she screens his calls and wont tell him if his friends called for him. she lectures him about being a failure all the time. is this abuse? should i do something about it? can i do something about it? please contact me with the answer..

son being abused - Karen Mobley - Aug 11th 2008
My 38 year old son has Multiple Sclerosis and was diagnosed 7years ago..his wife abuses him by not paying the bills..he gets Social Security Disability which he pays the house payment and lot rent with and these 2 bills take all he gets...she will let the water bill go, the electric bill, the gas bill, and refuses to buy groceries if they would not get food stamps..they have 2 children...she abuses him by not letting his friends come around...she cuses and screams at them and acuses them of things....she withholds his medications or misplaces them and says she doesn't know where they are at...she makes fun of him and tells him and all who will listen that he doesn't have anything wrong with him and that he is lying about his MS...I am at my wits end and so is all of his family..because he will not tell her to get the HELL out and mean it...he has, but she will not go and has to be put out by law when she hit him last winter and spent 3 days in was pleaded down to a misameanor...and he let her back in!!!! She is currenlty out of the house, but he makes no effort to divorce her....this is SICK....anyone with a solution?

My mom - Maria V. Romero - Feb 4th 2008

  Since childhood, I had my mom blame me for being "bad" and "ruining her life". I developed OCD, GAD and Agoraphobia as a child, and was afraid to go out of the house. She would start crying and threaten suicide because of my "behavior".

  She also blamed me for "making her" leave the country (Believe me I was 13, I didn't ask to leave no country! lol) She said that because I was supposedly "making her life so miserable" that I [quote] "left her no choice but to leave the country". I know it's confusing, but it came out of her head, not mine LOL.

  She enjoys leaving every time I confront her about sensitive issues. She goes out of her way to demonstrate disgust for me and leave. She is extremely dismissive and will say things like "I do not care in the least" regarding me or whatever I want to discuss, and will speak at ALL.

  I believe she is abusive, possibly BPD. But I'm not sure, I notice her capacity for CRUELTY is substantial. And a lot of dismissiveness and coldness. She can shut you completely out, no matter what you are saying to her or how bad you feel: SHUT YOU COMPLETELY OUT.

I would love to know what her problem is. I read about the CU (callous-unemotionality) trait and that might have a role in her behaviour?

should i still care - dad8895 - Aug 18th 2007

My son has a friend who is in deep trouble she just is just getting into a divorse situation and is in danger of losing her child if she stays with the person she is currenrly with. He's a registered sex offender and her 1st cousin, he keeps her so screwed up that even when we get the chance to help somehow he ahs enough control over her that she goes back. We hav all tried to get her to see what is happening to her and she starts to see and he apologizes and she goes back. Earlier aweek ago she had promised to come over to our house and work with us and so she could tallk but when she didnt call we went looking for her and couldn't find her. when we accidentally found her in a totally unknown place he went bullistic and told her that she couldnt go but she stood up to him and after he ranted for twenty minutes and called us every name in the book she came with us she had a blast with us and she always does my son and her are the happiest when they are together. he told us that if whe wasnt home in three hours he was coming to look for her. because of some car truble and other unforseen htings we were late and he did come looking and called everyone in my family.We had her talked into staying but she wanted to talk face to face and he apologized and we almost fought and she went back. She promised me that she was oing to call social services and talk to a concilor but and probate court because after she is divorced he keeps telling her that they can be married we keep telling her that she cant because its illegal in ohio and i asked her if she was going to lie under oath because thats how they ask the question and she said she would call turning point a shelter but hes got her so much under his control i know she wont get the chance she hasnt called in a week and im worried i see real danger for her and although he hasnt hit her yet its only amatter of time the reason shes going through the divorce is because of domestic violence and she was already vulnerable when these two creeps got their hooks in her we got away from one but havent been able to get her from the other one. this girl is so mixed up and confued that she cant make the choices that she needs to make he tells her so many lies and just three days ago her mother reamed her and almost had her but he told her that if she left that he eas going to wreck the car ahe making payments and its in his name she has a job but her pay only lasted a few thats the only reason he wants her is for the easy money and sex. all that has happened my son stills loves this girl and so do we and my wifes an RN and by law is required to report abuse we're not sure who to call and how long to wait ami crazy for still caring or should i give up he keeps hidin her from us thats the worst part right now i think they are living in the van and have now know address she wants to go back to school this year and get her diploma and we told her that she could come here until we can find her a place but she hasnt called and we dont know where shes at.this girl is very very special and has all the promise of rieing above this but we just need to get the time or get her into a shelter . pleasekeep us in your prayers


courageous - stacey - Apr 30th 2007

Hi Amanda sorry to hear what you went through and I am glad you are getting help. There are a lot of women that would let it go and take it out on their kids. I was involved with Domestic Violence in '05 and my 3 children were there. They had to see me with a black eye for about 2 months. It messed with my oldest son and he still hates the site of him and was angry for a long time. I went to court and of course the father has visitation rights and the judge says "just because he hit you doesn't mean he will hit the children". Yes thats what it means. I totally agree get rid of him once an abuser always an abuser. The next female he gets with he will do the same to her.

Abusive People Don't Know They Are - Jinny - Jan 31st 2007
They think that they "have a right to ask a question" and that they are soliciting the "truth." They will show signs of insecurity and control issues by keeping tabs on you, needing to know everything you do, everyone you talk to, telling you who you can talk to and what you can or can not do, ask you if you have "done anything" even if you haven't. I have been told that either cheated or am a lesbian because I absolutely must be a whore. I have been sat down and given the talk almost every day of my life with this person, someone who I have been with for a little over two years, about where I have paraded my whorish antics around; I have been told over and over and over again to "ADMIT" to having done things. I have never, ever done anything and this is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. However, an abusive person can not accept anything besides their own power-hungry, insecure delirium of obfuscated judgment. Leave this kind of S.O.B. and NEVER look back. They won't get help. They won't want you to either. Just LEAVE. You will be better off without this kind of treatment present in your life. Heal all you can.

Adult child of abusive parent - Amanda - Jan 23rd 2007
I am a 39 year old woman, currently in therapy for PTSD (Post tramatic stress disorder) due to the neglect, physical, emotional, mental and sexual abuse incurred from birth to 18 yrs of age. If I could say one thing about domestic abuse, it is that no matter what you go through do not allow your children to go through it with you. I totally missed out on a normal childhood, and will never know the little girl I could have been. Fear, helplessness, hopelessness is something I am working at getting past every day now, I have 3 children who I love dearly an I have a hard time parenting them because of my past. Therapy is doing wonders... but please, if you are a parent living with domestic abuse and have children, take them and run as far away as you can. Childrens minds are fragile...... dont let what they see, hear, and endure pain against thier will it come back and haunt them in the future.

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