Abusive relationships description

Abusive relationships

Abusive relationships can take many forms, including physical, sexual, and emotional aggression. Of these, emotional abuse is the most difficult to detect and is sometimes misdiagnosed as possessiveness and jealousy. It may appear flattering at first, but it eventually leads to threats, betrayal, intimidation, dominating behavior, and put downs. As a result, the result of any sort of maltreatment is pain, regardless of the existence or absence of scars (Henderson, 2003).

Misconceptions about sexual abuse

Most people, on the other hand, believe that sexual abuse solely occurs in women. They have no idea that it affects men as well, as it involves the recurrence of unwanted sexual actions. Moreover, nurses, just like their patients have in the past experienced or are experiencing abusive relationships. Hence, the impact of the past abusive relationship experienced by nurses could affect their practice positively or negatively.

Positive Impact

Despite having the knowledge obtained from training, nurses with past experiences of abusive relationships often have first-hand knowledge regarding the issue. For this reason, they are highly likely to recognize and correctly interpret behaviors related to domestic violence. Unlike the nurses with this past experiences, these nurses in most instances show their interest in their patients, recognize the identifiable presentations, and are not likely to underestimate the impact of abusive relationships (Öztunç, 2006). The abusive relationships associated with families are the most complex, and it poses a big challenge to nurses in their practice. Moreover, the nurses with a experience in abusive relationships quickly identify the health risks domestic violence poses to families.

Another positive impact nurses with an experience in abusive relationships have is that they can offer primary intervention which entails political action, educating colleagues and communities, and creating a connection with referral resources. In particular, these nurses are steadfast when it comes to creating linkages with healthcare providers, the relevant facilities, local authorities when an issue related to abuse shows up. Their past experiences provided them with contacts with which they can seek assistance when there are a need and further build confidence in the individuals affected by the abusive relationships. Nurses with an abusive relationship past can also become beneficial when it comes to tertiary intervention (Henderson, 2003). The occurrence of abusive relationships is a continuous process which entails offering solutions to problems that arise on a daily basis. For this reason, their previous experiences become useful to their practice.

Negative Impact

Involvement of nurses in past abusive relationships generates a negative impact on their practice given the fact that they may have negative emotions. Therefore, their emotions affect their motivation, and they are likely to cause medical errors which include handling patients improperly, giving wrong medical prescriptions among other issues. On the other hand, their previous experiences make them be quick in judging and criticizing, displaying abusive anger, and other characters like accusing and blaming (Öztunç, 2006). The aggression that comes out to the eye of the patients scares them, and this may result in them not disclosing exactly how they feel or their symptoms. Moreover, their past experiences may make them not to relate well with their colleagues at work given their negative attitude. Ultimately, there is a negative impact on their practice which directly or indirectly affects their patients. Hence, abusive relationships have a significant impact on the practice by nurses.


Henderson, A. (2003). Nurses and Workplace Violence: Nurses' Experiences of Verbal and Physical Abuse at Work. Nursing Leadership, 16(4), 82-98. http://dx.doi.org/10.12927/cjnl.2003.16263

Öztunç, G. (2006). Examination of Incidents of Workplace Verbal Abuse Against Nurses. Journal Of Nursing Care Quality, 21(4), 360-365. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/00001786-200610000-00014

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