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How to spot the signs of DV behind closed doors.

(18 Posts)
TheDailyWail Tue 27-Sep-11 09:59:52

I feel sad that my friend has been enduring this for about 5 years and I never had a clue what was going on.

She has now taken action against him but what are there signs for friends and family to look out for?

I have suspected it in the past for someone else and got some phone numbers for her to call. At the time she denied it but later on admitted that there had been an incident.

So please, give me some pointers, so I can be a better friend. (I've e-mailed her the DV webguide link at the top and let her know what she should expect from a visit with a SW)

TIA

pinkyp Tue 27-Sep-11 10:02:16

Sometimes there are no signs. Your friend probabily got use to putting on the same face / acting like everything is ok etc. Sorry not much help.

CroissantNeuf Tue 27-Sep-11 10:05:44

The only friend that I know has experienced DV showed no signs.

When it all came out I was so shocked and wished I'd seen some signs but I honestly didn't (and neither did anyone else).

Thankfully she got out of that relationship years ago.

waitingfornaru Tue 27-Sep-11 10:13:22

Wonky lampshades, splinters in door frames, repairs to doors where fists have been put through them, tea stains on the walls and ceiling where cups of it had been chucked at their face...

I only noticed these in my sister's house because I'd had the same battle scars.

More blatantly, there seems to be a pattern of isolating a woman from her friends and family and utter disrespect when she's spoken to.

By nature DV can be silent in many contexts, you'll rarely notice it goes on sad

daenerysstormborn Tue 27-Sep-11 10:16:11

it's very hard to spot. my dad used to hit us on the back of the head. no bruises, and if there were they are hard to see. when he hurt my mum's ribs she told the gp she's fallen down the stairs.

TheDailyWail Tue 27-Sep-11 10:30:50

Thank you for answering. Thankfully she was never isolated from her friends or family. It's wrong that anyone has to endure it. sad

bellsring Tue 27-Sep-11 10:43:48

It goes on cloaked in secrecy.And those in it become very good actors at putting on a brave face and a smile for the world.

nickschick Tue 27-Sep-11 10:43:54

I went back to my friends house one morning after the school run and we sat in the conservatory because her ex h was asleep - we were fine ds played quietly and we spoke in quiet voices.

Suddenly the chain was flushed in the bathroom - friend grabbed her coffee cup rinsed it clean and started picking up imaginary bits of fluff off the carpet ......ds said he needed a wee and friend looked panic stricken - her ex h came down very nicely spoke to ds and said morning to me etc ......friend began to say this is nickschick she takes her boys to the same school as ours and she works at the school you might know her dh etc etc (almost like she was trying to get my cv out before he spoke),,,,,he was really charming greasily so and friend seemed so different I made ds wait til we got home to go to the loo,

4 years on shes happily married to an absolutely wonderful man having had a nervous breakdown and years of torment of her ex dh - who is now trying to get half of the inheritance her dad left her recently and has told her he intends to give it to his daughter from his first marriage who made my friends life horrid.

He was it seems v controlling she wasnt allowed to drink coffee nor was she allowed to have friends in- the day she invited me in was the day she had her bags packed ready to go to her mums with the children if he did 'kick off' .....and he did sad.

akaemmafrost Tue 27-Sep-11 11:02:45

"Wonky lampshades, splinters in door frames, repairs to doors where fists have been put through them"

This was me shock. I can't believe that people would recognise domestic abuse from that. I used to hang pictures to cover holes in the wall until I could get them repaired.

abendbrot Tue 27-Sep-11 11:04:37

What waitingfornaru said, plus the jumpiness around the partner mentioned by nickschick is a very obvious sign. A normal partner doesn't make their partner fear them.

DV isn't always about violence, it is essentially about control - violence is sometimes used as a threat and never actually happens because control is maintained. That's why, the moment a woman decides to leave her partner is the most dangerous time for her. When the abusive partner realises that he has lost control, he may well act out this violence.

Many people don't actually know they are in abusive relationships and all you can do is help them come to realise themselves that what they are going through is not acceptable, not normal, and in many cases, illegal.

I think that if you know someone who is particularly secretive and you know it is despite you getting on well with her, it may be a good idea to be a little bit nosy - ask some leading questions.

Allowing children to witness DV is a form of child abuse, in the eyes of the law - so it is important to act - as gently and carefully as you can though.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Tue 27-Sep-11 11:14:55

What a nice friend you are, Daily. Your post reminds me of comments I got from a number of friends when I told them why I was leaving stbxh: many of them said something along the lines of: "I wish I'd known! I feel so bad that I couldn't help."

Their reaction surprised me. It shows what lovely and generous people they (and you) are, but really, leaving my abusive stbxh was something only I could choose to do. I did call on the help of friends once I knew what I wanted to do, and boy did they deliver, but before I was ready, I think there's very little that my friends could have done. Other than show me that they were there, and show me through their own healthy outlook on relationships that a better life was possible for me too.

Here are a few things that my friends did notice, but they weren't enough to make the penny drop for any of them:

- They never saw stbxh: he did not deign to be in the company of my friends. It became a running joke among me and my friends that my husband was imaginary.

- One of his mates actually commented to him that he was awfully short with me when he spoke to me.

- Another of my friends always found him creepy.

- My bridesmaids when they made their toast were unable to find anything to say about him other than: "Puppy says he's a great guy."

None of them noticed the dents in the doors, floors, walls and tables where crockery and punches had been thrown. I was very swift about patching/replacing those physical telltale signs.

mummytime Tue 27-Sep-11 12:10:51

We had a tenant who had to replace a door and a wardrobe, we suspected them. I had a cleaner with a black eye, but she totally denied it, and talked about walking into a cupboard door. There was a playgroup leader who had a bruise on her face, and also had a lot of illness one year (I wonder if it was a miscarriage, after something he did).
Other signs can be children missing school, or seeming nervous/extra clingy. General jumpyness.
But then there can be other reasons, so it can be hard to be sure, which is why it is still a hidden problem.

iFailedTheTuringTest Tue 27-Sep-11 12:42:51

Me my mum and sister all bruise REALLY easily. A small innocuous bump can leave a huge lurid shiner lasting weeks.

My dsis went into work in a nice summery dress and was asked how she had got that Huge bruise on the back of her arm. She genuinely had no idea it was even there, and slightly flustered, said 'oh, well, no idea, just a bump, you know. I bruise easily' sort of thing.

Next thing she knows, a concerned colleague is taking her into a quiet office with a cuppa and gently asks about her domestic situation.

Dsis is at first a little shocked when she twiggs what everyone was thinking. BUT (and this is the point of the tale) she was really grateful that friends and colleagues felt able to mention it and were prepared to rally round.

So, moral of this tale, don't be afraid to ask if you suspect something. If it isn't happening, at least the person knows she had a good and caring friend.

venusandmars Tue 27-Sep-11 13:36:54

It can be difficult because often the abused person is in complete denial, so they won't be giving you any obvious hints, and they may disagree if you dare to suggest that any such thing is going on. My friend's dh refused to come back to our house after they saw how my xh treated me. Yet when my friend tried to broach the subject with me, I genuinely didn't see the problem. I thought that was how 'married people' behaved, and I thought that HER dh was the one being a twat. All this was while i was being financially, sexually and emotionally abused.

Sometimes all you can do as a friend is be around for her, always be willing to listen, don't judge her for her acceptance of the situation (maybe for many years) and support her if she does decide to leave.

1catherine1 Tue 27-Sep-11 14:42:09

Being secretive. General jumpiness. Controlling partners like to control friends too so if a friend becomes distant for no apparent reason or sounds different when you call them at home.

A male friend of mine once called me at home. We were car sharing to a placement we were both doing. When I answered I was being watched so closely that I got very nervous. My friend noticed it in my voice and asked me if I was ok as I seemed different. This only made the situation worse tbh as exP was listening in. Funnily enough, a week or so later this same friend started a conversation on finding love and how it was important to realise that nobody is everybody's type but that fear of rejection was not a reason not to try. I think he was trying to tell me that I shouldn't settle as the conversation really came out of nowhere. Was very sweet considering we weren't exactly close.

LeQueen Tue 27-Sep-11 15:23:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheDailyWail Tue 27-Sep-11 22:20:41

Thank you for sharing your experiences. It's truly shocking how common DV is and it seems there are people here who have survived it without any intervention or support.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Wed 28-Sep-11 08:22:56

Surviving is done alone, but leaving cannot be done without some kind of support.

As a friend, your support role will really kick in when any friends in DV situations have decided for themselves that they are ready to leave. Until then, just be there, and be a model of what respectful relations between adults should look like.

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