“They are constantly being put down and abused by their partner, contributing to a sense of insecurity, hopelessness and lack of self-worth. The unpredictability of their partner’s moods and behaviors often makes them anxious and nervous. This can affect school performance, friendships, activity level, and self-care.”
Christine Gutierrez, a psychotherapist, said in an email that some dating violence victims can develop post-traumatic stress disorder as well.
Audrey Cleary, a licensed psychologist, added in an email that being involved in a dating violence situation “can lead to a constant state of tension or fear on the part of the one being abused.”
This unhealthy state can eventually build up to psychiatric issues like depression.
It can be a confusing situation for teens when the dating partner abuses them but also expresses their love in other situations, she said.
Kristin Carmichael, a licensed independent social worker, said in an email that teen girls can be especially vulnerable to mental health effects from dating violence, and what makes it worse is that they’re still in the process of developing.
“Their lack of experience in relationships and still emerging sense of self makes them particularly vulnerable to being manipulated, abused and convinced that certain negative things are true of them (they are stupid, bad, worthless, promiscuous) even if they are not,” Carmichael said.
“Oftentimes older boys or men use a teen girl’s inexperience, or unsureness about herself, or even her history of family abuse to their advantage in gaining power and control over her.”
Pre-existing mental health conditions or behaviors and family history can sometimes predict if someone is more likely to be involved in a dating situation involving violence as well.
“When people have come from families where they have witnessed domestic violence (or experienced child abuse themselves), they are much more likely to experience domestic violence in their own relationships,” Raja said.
“So, the intergenerational cycle of violence is a key problem and predictor here.”