Abuse comes in many forms...emotional, mental, verbal, sexual, physical, financial and even spiritual. It can happen to anyone...either gender...any age and in any kind of relationship. It happens more often than most people would suspect and it happens in every type of home, regardless of socio-economic standing.
Abusers usually have just one main agenda... to gain and keep control over the person/people they abuse. They can use many tactics to keep their victims inline; including fear, shame, guilt, anger, dominance, isolation, humiliation, intimidation, threats, with-holding or taking away, silence, screaming and all forms of violence, and denial or blame. (They'll make you feel like you are crazy...they will deny things and make you question what is the truth and reality... they are never wrong or at fault, it's always someone else's fault...usually yours!!)
Regardless of what an abuser says, no one deserves abuse...a victim does not drive their abuser to do what they do...it wouldn't matter if a victim did everything exactly the way the abuser wanted...they would change the rules, change their demands, change their triggers...the problem is with the abuser, not the abused and an abuser's behavior rarely changes without intervention.
The cycle of violence in domestic abuse
Domestic abuse falls into a common pattern, or cycle of violence:
- Abuse – Your abusive partner lashes out with aggressive, belittling, or violent behavior. The abuse is a power play designed to show you "who is boss."
- Guilt – After abusing you, your partner feels guilt, but not over what he's done. He’s more worried about the possibility of being caught and facing consequences for his abusive behavior.
- Excuses – Your abuser rationalizes what he or she has done. The person may come up with a string of excuses or blame you for theabusive behavior—anything to avoid taking responsibility.
- "Normal" behavior – The abuser does everything he can to regain control and keep the victim in the relationship. He may act as if nothing has happened, or he may turn on the charm. This peaceful honeymoon phase may give the victim hope that the abuser has really changed this time.
- Fantasy and planning – Your abuser begins to fantasize about abusing you again. He spends a lot of time thinking about what you’ve done wrong and how he'll make you pay. Then he makes a plan for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality.
- Set-up – Your abuser sets you up and puts his plan in motion, creating a situation where he can justify abusing you.
Your abuser’s apologies and loving gestures in between the episodes of abuse can make it difficult to leave. He may make you believe that you are the only person who can help him, that things will be different this time, and that he truly loves you. However, the dangers of staying are very real.
The Full Cycle of Domestic Violence: An Example
A man abuses his partner. After he hits her, he experiences guilt. He says, "I'm sorry for hurting you." What he does not say is, "Because I might get caught." He then makes excuses for his behavior by saying that his partner is having an affair with someone. He tells her "If you weren't "fill in the blank" I wouldn't have to hit you." He then acts sorry, reassuring her that he will not hurt her again. He then fantasizes and reflects on past abuse and how he will hurt her again. He plans on telling her to go to the store to get some groceries. What he withholds from her is that she has a certain amount of time to do the shopping. When she is held up in traffic and is a few minutes late, he feels completely justified in assaulting her because "you're having an affair with the store clerk." He has just set her up. Source: Mid-Valley Women's Crisis Service
If you are in harm's way right now here are some contacts:
Women don’t have to live in fear:
- In the US: call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).
- UK: call Women’s Aid at 0808 2000 247.
- Australia: call 1800RESPECT at 1800 737 732.
- Worldwide: visit International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies for a global list of helplines and crisis centers.
Male victims of abuse can call:
- U.S. and Canada: The Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men & Women
- UK: ManKind Initiative
- Australia: One in Three Campaign
SIGNS OF ABUSE - ( MANY OF THESE WILL OVERLAP)
This is a great list of things that start out as subtle signs of abuse: click here
SIGNS OF EMOTIONAL, MENTAL, VERBAL ABUSE:
Does not trust you and acts jealous or possessive.
Tries to isolate you from family or friends.
Monitors where you go, who you call and who you spend time with.
Punishes you by withholding affection.
Expects you to ask permission.
Threatens to hurt you, the children, your family or your pets.
Humiliates you in any way
HERE ARE MORE SIGNS:
SIGNS OF FINANCIAL ABUSE IN RELATIONSHIP:
Rigidly controlling your finances
Withholding money or credit cards
Making you account for every penny you spend
Withholding basic necessities (food, clothes, medications, shelter)
Restricting you to an allowance
Treating you like you are a child and they are a parent, instead of partners with the money
Preventing you from working or choosing your own career
Sabotaging your job (making you miss work, calling constantly)
Stealing from you or taking your money
Putting car, house, etc., only in their name
SIGNS OF PHYSICALLY ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP
Damaged property when angry (thrown objects, punched walls, kicked doors, etc.).
Pushed, slapped, bitten, kicked or choked you.
Abandoned you in a dangerous or unfamiliar place.
Scared you by driving recklessly.
Used a weapon to threaten or hurt you.
Forced you to leave your home.
Trapped you in your home or kept you from leaving.
Prevented you from calling police or seeking medical attention.
Hurt your children.
Used physical force in sexual situations.
SIGNS OF SEXUALLY ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP
Views women as objects and believes in rigid gender roles.
Accuses you of cheating or is often jealous of your outside relationships.
Wants you to dress in a sexual way.
Insults you in sexual ways or calls you sexual names.
Has ever forced or manipulated you into to having sex or performing sexual acts.
Held you down during sex.
Demanded sex when you were sick, tired or after beating you.
Hurt you with weapons or objects during sex.
Involved other people in sexual activities with you.
Ignored your feelings regarding sex.
SIGNS OF SPIRITUAL ABUSE: Click Here
THIS IS AN EXCELLENT ARTICAL FOR REALLY UNDERSTANDING ABUSE AND FINDING HELP: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/domestic-violence-and-abuse.htm
Help For Abuse:
Breaking the Silence Handbook – Guide to domestic violence including spotting the signs and where to turn for help. (Nebraska Health and Human Services)
Recovery Resources To recover from abuse, a survivor must:
- Stop taking the blame for what has happened — take responsibility for present and future choices.
- Stop isolating yourself — reconnect with people in order to build a support network.
- Stop denying and minimizing feelings — learn how to understand and express yourself with the help of a therapist.
- Stop identifying as a victim— take control of your life by joining a survivors’ support group.
- Stop the cycle of abuse — get yourself and your children counseling to help heal psychological wounds and to learn healthy ways to function in the world.