Break the Cycle

a worried young male child who is hugging and being hugged back by his mother can only see part of his face and the back of her head, there is text "break the cycle" on the left side.

Break the Cycle

Break the Cycle – Childhood Exposure to Violence

Domestic violence affects more than just the people directly involved.  Family, friends, and especially children are affected.  More than 3 million children each year witness domestic violence in their home. Whether or not children are the victim of physical abuse, they often suffer from psychological and emotional trauma.  Children can become fearful and anxious which can cause them to act out or become socially isolated.

Children are exposed to domestic violence in many different ways such as:

  • Seeing a parent threatened, demeaned, or battered
  • Being in the middle of an assault by accident
  • Overhearing conflict and battering
  • Seeing the aftermath such as injuries and trauma reactions
  • Living in a household dominated by tension and fear
  • Being used and manipulated by the abuser
  • Suffering the consequences of economic abuse

The consequences of these exposures can include:

  • Believing the abuse is their fault
  • Turning against parents
  • Feeling that they are alone
  • Being afraid to talk about the abuse
  • Developing negative core beliefs about themselves
  • Developing unhealthy coping and survival reactions
  • Believing that this behavior is normal
  • Exhibiting those behaviors in their own future relationships

According to long term effects of exposure to domestic violence include a higher risk for substance abuse, sexual acting out, running away, and suicide. Boys who grow up with domestic abuse are more likely to abuse their intimate partners, and girls are less likely to seek help if they become victims in their adult relationships.  Domestic violence is a vicious cycle which can take out anyone in its path. By breaking the cycle children can grow up to live healthy loving lives creating a new cycle, that can be passed down to future generations.

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