Why Indirect Domestic Violence Can Lead to Trauma, Depression and Anger Management Issues


This article explains why indirect domestic violence will lead to trauma, depression, and anger management issues.

What is Indirect Domestic Violence?

indirect domestic violence can lead to depression, trauma, PTSD, anger management issues

The term domestic violence means physical or psychological aggression at home. The violence at home can be aimed at a spouse or children and family relative and it is criminal offence. This article discusses indirect domestic violence. The indirect domestic violence refers to the abuse directed at a specific person but indirectly and affecting family members in the vicinity of the perpetrator and the victim.

When and How Indirect Domestic Violence Becomes Abusive Behaviour?

When does indirect abusive behaviour become abusive? The psychological literature on bullying, the study of unwanted aggression, states that it has to be of a repeated nature and not a one-off incident. The person who is feeling indirectly abused should clearly state that the abuse is not appreciated. Do you recall your child screaming: ‘Stop arguing now!’ or covering their ears indicating that they don’t appreciate your yelling? Maybe, you have been too busy and too selfish arguing endlessly and too immersed in your conflict and absorbed in self-pity to notice your child’s helpless and hopeless cry for a help to stop your abusive arguments. How can a high-conflict couple with chronic anger management issues that argues daily, register a vulnerable child’s cries for a help? How can a high-conflict couple that chronically argues and cannot help themselves can help their child? The answer is, often they cannot. It is not surprising then that a child that is feeling chronically ignored and neglected, will develop a sense of learnt helplessness and hopelessness, loneliness and consequently depression. Whilst the child can spend most of their childhood and adolescence feeling depressed, this may change in adulthood and after the child leaves home and discovers the new and much better world out-there. The world out-there might be full of new opportunities, professional and personal, but the chronically depressed, oppressed with a sense of worthlessness child might be too afraid to pursue them, possibly because of the coping strategies developed in indirectly abusive families. It is at this stage, that the child by now adult might notice that whilst the indirectly abusive family might be out of their lives, the issues will not and it is now that they self-refer for CBT depression psychotherapy or support with a low-confidence issues.

How Does Indirectly  Domestic Violence Abused Child or Person Develop A Depression?

Indirect domestic violence, depressed child

Depression with symptoms of self-worth issues, low confidence, learnt sense of hopelessness and helplessness is not the only issue a person that has been indirectly affected by domestic violence may suffer from. Depending on the decibel of the daily arguments, and where physical violence was used against one of the two or both parents the child could also feel traumatized. The clinical literature on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) states that it is such person witnessed a traumatic event that was threatening, there was a threat of death or a serious injury, threat to integrity of self or others (DSM IV-TR, 2000). Assuming that a child has been repeatedly indirectly threatened at home by psychological or physical domestic violence it could have been traumatized. In the adulthood the past trauma, could affect the traumatized child now adult, by the affected person then avoiding forming close relationships, misinterpreting and catastrophsing inter-relational issues, and experiencing ambivalence and chronic unhappiness and loneliness of moving between wanting love and rejecting it at the same time, all because of past model of what intimacy stood for.

How Can The Indirect Domestic Violence Lead to Development of Trauma or PTSD?

indirect domestic violence can lead to trauma and relationship issues in adulthood

It is not unusual that people with past trauma can present with chronic outbursts of anger and later needing anger management issues. In families with abuse is directly aimed at most family members expression of anger and aggression might be permitted or not allowed. presumably in families with aggressive relational style, people might develop anger management issues that might not be appreciated by majority of spouses coming from peaceful family environments. In families with domestic violence issues and indirect abuse affecting children that felt emotionally deprived and emotionally neglected, passive-aggressive anger management issues might evolve. This means that a child that was not encouraged to develop to its best potential through good parenting style, an assertive communication style and in a world that comprises good and bad, such child, now adult will not be able to assertively express the anger, and the adult will continue using strategies learnt in emotional abusive home, likely avoidance and passive-aggressive behaviour meaning repressing their anger. The passive-aggressive communication style is as damaging as aggressive communication style and in the anger management sessions, the clients will be support through role-plays and assignments a healthy expression of anger and assertive behaviour that was not encouraged in emotionally deprived high-conflict families.


This article attempted to explain why indirect domestic violence is just as bad as child direct physical, emotional or sexual abuse and how it can lead to development of depression, trauma, PTSD or anger management issues in the adulthood. If you feel affected by any of the issues discussed in this article, or if you need a support with resolving your resistant depression, if you need support with anger management issues either passive-aggressive or aggressive, if you think you have been suffering from trauma or PTSD please do not hesitate to contact us for an appointment.