There are many signs that may indicate possible spouse abuse, and bruises and wounds are among the most obvious. In many cases, however, signs of spouse abuse are more subtle. For example, if one spouse seems abnormally timid or afraid of what the other spouse may think, say, or do, this can be a sign of spousal abuse. Likewise, if one spouse cannot make decisions for herself, does not have access to money or other resources, or seems isolated from friends and family, there may be reason to suspect possible abuse. Additionally, feeling as if one deserves poor treatment may also be a sign of spouse abuse.
Typically, the most obvious sign of spouse abuse is a physical wound or bruise. For example, a blackened eye or a bloody nose may be an easy-to-recognize sign of spousal abuse. In some cases, however, a person who is abused will not show such obvious signs. For instance, a person who is verbally or sexually abused may not show any outward physical signs of the abuse at all. Also, if an individual is physically abused, she may find ways to hide the signs.
Often, a person who is suffering from spousal abuse seems intimidated by or afraid of her spouse. For example, she may be hesitant to voice her opinion in his presence or to disagree with him. She may be afraid of displeasing him or of not behaving in the manner he expects. If something goes wrong, she may be afraid to tell him. Additionally, an individual who is a victim of spousal abuse may be afraid to tell others because she fears her abuser's anger; she may even feel too embarrassed to tell others.
When an individual seems totally dependent on her spouse, this may be a sign of spousal abuse as well. For example, if an individual cannot make decisions for herself, this may be a sign that she is abused. Likewise, the lack of access to resources may indicate possible abuse. For instance, if a spouse does not have access to money or is not permitted to drive a car, have a job, or maintain a bank account, this may be a sign of an abusive relationship.
Sometimes isolation can be a sign of spouse abuse as well. In many cases, an abuser attempts to isolate his victim. This may allow him to have more control over her. For example, he may interfere with and discourage her relationships with her friends and family members.
Interestingly, one of the signs of spousal abuse is how the victim perceives herself. In many cases, an abuser succeeds at making his victim feel worthless, stupid, or even ugly. As a result, the victim may come to believe that she deserves the abuse.