There’s more to it than hitting, or fighting, or cussing or being mean. It’s more than all of these. It’s a chronic use and abuse of power. The abuser does whatever it takes – threats, intimidation, and physical violence – to get and maintain control of his or her partner.
Most people think “domestic violence” is something that happens to other people, or on TV shows, but not to them or to people they know. I have had many clients who have come to see me for a consultation and had no idea that the way they were being treated in their relationship or marriage actually fit into the category of “domestic violence.”
Once we talk about what they are experiencing and what domestic violence actually is, I can see the light bulb go on. It’s a process for folks. When they’re able to take in this information and then apply it to their situation, they begin to see things from a different perspective. The goal is for them to get the courage and power they need to take steps to protect themselves and to make permanent changes.
The point is that anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. The violence can take many forms and can happen just occasionally or all the time. Domestic Violence is defined as performances used by one person to control another. It’s that simple. The exploitation can be emotional, sexual, or physical. But the whole point of whatever the act is – is power and control – of one person over the other.
Here are some typical behaviors of Violence abusers. They may do one, some, or all of these things to exert and maintain control over their partner. If you are experiencing any of these in your relationship with your spouse or partner, I encourage you to acknowledge what is going on and take steps to get help:
- Name-calling or putdowns – like you’re stupid; you’re ugly; you can’t do anything right, etc.
- Preventing violence you from contacting your family or friends – they may isolate you from the people most important in your life and tell you that your family is trying to break up your relationship, etc.
- Withholding or hiding money – you can’t go anywhere (like leave them!) if you don’t’ have money in your pocket or aren’t able to access bank accounts
- Preventing you have getting or keeping a job – many abusers want you at home and not out with other people in a workplace where you may be attracted to another, or another may be attracted to you