Many times we become witnesses to the aching heart of a victim of abuse, and we choose to not act because either we deem it not necessary or not a problem of ours to get involved. The most you may think you can do is to give advice. Though that is heartfelt and still effective thing to do, I would consider taking a greater step to show the victim not only do you care for their welfare, but you are willing to give them the help they truly need. We always speak of our concerns about friends or family or society itself; well let’s begin to turn our concerns into positive actions. Practice what we preach & watch how one life can be given a second chance by your very own hands.
Personality of an Abuser
Many reasons surface as to why we choose not to intervene, and usually the victim does not allow intervention because the abuser has a common pattern to capture the victim’s sensibility. The abuser will go from a very abusive violent behavior to apologetic with “heartfelt promises to change”, and will calm down for awhile but not long enough until they repeat their cycle of abuse. We should intervene, not abruptly, instead build a plan then take action when everything is in place for the victim to be in a safe environment. Many times we are not aware of the abuse because the perpetrator is really good at presenting a calmer, friendlier side in public that makes many feel either sympathetic or believe they can do no harm. The personality of an abuser can be hard to detect, and can usually only be detected if the victim portrays the signs of abuse. Don’t let the perpetrator’s kind gestures & guilty heart justify their actions. Once the silence breaks & the victim leaves their abuser, the abuser will go to any means necessary to portray themselves as the good guy. The abuser will look desperate, sad, hopeless, they will even accuse the victim for their own behavior making themselves feel justified for the course of actions taken. At times the stories they tell sound reasonable, especially if they have recently acted kind and generous towards you. In serious cases after the victim leaves the abuser, the abuser will try to befriend the victim’s friends or family all over again in an attempt to still be within their victim’s inner circle to not only feel close to their victim, but retrieve information. Various people make mistakes, but within a domestic violence case these abusers are committed to a greater crime, it is not a mistake if their actions continue daily over several years affecting the well being of another human being. That behavior we cannot bypass.
What is Domestic Abuse between spouses?
Domestic abuse between partners arises when there is a clear sign of control by one spouse over the other. The abuser uses fear, intimidation or humiliation to control their spouse, and if the abuser feels that doesn’t work they resort to violence. If the domestic abuse turns physical it’s called domestic violence. Many relationships have their own struggles to overcome, but if your spouse’s actions are more than just the effect of no trust in the relationship then you need to realize the reality of the situation you are in and leave. Your abuser will first use verbal means to get at you then will turn physical if they have feel at a loss of control. This is not acceptable.
Types of Abuse
Domestic abuse can be: physical abuse, verbal abuse, psychological abuse, mental abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and/or stalking. Do not mistake abuse for love and do not mistake your spouse’s constant irrational needs as a term of endearment. You are not in a healthy relationship if your every step needs to be controlled by your spouse. This type of need is not love it is a dangerous abusive mentality, as the victim you must accept this reality and find the strength to push away. You deserve to live free of fear, you deserve to be respected in a relationship you invest your heart and soul into, and more importantly you deserve a chance at life. That one slap, that one humiliating moment in public, that one aggressive or violent unjustified reaction will turn into a million more if you allow it.
Signs and symptoms of an abusive relationship!
If you answer the majority of the questions below with a yes, then you are more likely in an abusive relationship; you will be okay if you seek help.
• Are you fearful of your partner a large percentage of the time?
• Do you avoid certain topics or spend a lot of time figuring out how to talk about certain topics so that you do not arouse your partner’s negative reaction or anger?
• Do you ever feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
• Do you ever feel so badly about yourself that you think you deserve to be physically hurt?
• Have you lost the love and respect that you once had for your partner?
• Do you sometimes wonder if you are the one who is crazy, that maybe you are overreacting to your partner’s behaviors?
• Are you afraid that your partner may try to kill you?
• Are you afraid that your partner will try to take your children away from you?
• Do you feel that there is nowhere to turn for help?
• Are you feeling emotionally numb?
• Were you abused as a child, or did you grow up with domestic violence in the household? Does domestic violence seem normal to you?
“Your partner’s lack of control over their own behavior”:
• Does your partner have low self-esteem? Do they appear to feel powerless, ineffective, or inadequate in the world, although they are outwardly successful?
• Does your partner externalize the causes of their own behavior? Do they blame their violence on stress, alcohol, or a “bad day”?
• Is your partner unpredictable?
• Is your partner a pleasant person between bouts of violence?
“Your partner’s violent or threatening behavior”:
• Does your partner have a bad temper?
• Has your partner ever threatened to hurt you or kill you?
• Has your partner ever physically hurt you?
• Has your partner threatened to take your children away from you, especially if you try to leave the relationship?
• Has your partner ever threatened to commit suicide, especially as a way of keeping you from leaving?
• Has your partner ever forced you to have sex when you didn’t want to?
• Has your partner threatened you at work, either in person or on the phone?
• Does your partner destroy your belongings or household objects?
“Your partner’s controlling behavior”:
• Does your partner try to keep you from seeing your friends or family?
• Are you embarrassed to invite friends or family over to your house because of your partner’s behavior?
• Has your partner limited your access to money, the telephone, or the car?
• Does your partner try to stop you from going where you want to go outside of the house, or from doing what you want to do?
• Is your partner jealous and possessive, asking where you are going and where you have been, as if checking up on you? Do they accuse you of having an affair?
“Your partner’s diminishment of you”:
• Does your partner verbally abuse you?
• Does your partner humiliate or criticize you in front of others?
• Does your partner often ignore you or put down your opinions or contributions?
• Does your partner always insist that they are right, even when they are clearly wrong?
• Does your partner blame you for their own violent behavior, saying that your behavior or attitudes cause them to be violent?
• Is your partner often outwardly angry with you?
• Does your partner objectify and disrespect those of your gender? Does your partner see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?
If you or someone you know is going through this, lend them a hand, guide them to the many support systems available, and in my opinion do as much as you can but do not let it negatively affect your own life.
For advice and support call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).
Emergency cases, dial 911 for immediate assistance.
*Source:  “Domestic Violence and Abuse; Types, Signs, Symptoms, Causes, and Effects”, Tina de Benedictis Ph.D, Jaelline Jaffe Ph.D, Jeanne Segal Ph.D, http://www.helpguide.org.