Many people think it requires a specific type of person to commit domestic violence or abuse, but the truth is that anyone can be brought to that point due to one circumstance or another. As time passes and two people spend more and more time together, their feelings and reactions toward that person change. While many people grow closer to their partners and feel more inspired to make the other happy, others move the opposite direction until domestic abuse becomes a common occurrence.
Many abusers say that, when they commit abusive actions, it is because they lose control over themselves and their actions. This is NOT true. An abuser, no matter what situation they are in, always has the option to walk away. When a person abuses their domestic partner, they are making a conscious choice to gain more power over them. There is NEVER an excuse for domestic abuse. If you or a loved one seems like they might be a victim of domestic abuse, talk to them and take active steps towards ending the situation.
Domestic abuse occurs when one person abuses the person they partner they are sharing a home with. The point of domestic abuse is to attain power. By cutting their partner down, a person feels as though they have the upper hand in the relationship and, therefore, the decision making in general. Contrary to common belief, domestic abuse does not require physical violence. When people hear of domestic abuse their thoughts immediately move to violence, particularly violence from the male against the female. However, research has shown that the affects of other forms of abuse can be just as harmful, if not more harmful, than the physical affects.
Other kinds of abuse include verbal abuse, emotional/psychological abuse, sexual abuse, and financial/economic abuse. Because a person does not physically harm the other does not mean they are innocent of abusing them.
Verbal, psychological abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse today because people do not realize how serious the symptoms of it are. As time passes by, the yelling may become just another part of daily life and that acceptance can cause long-term emotional trouble. It is important for people in struggling relationships to step back and acknowledge unhealthy behavior. Emotional abuse is not limited to yelling, but also includes any form of language that is meant to hurt or insult the other person. Name-calling, for example, is another commonly ignored form of abuse. Couples who argue a lot tend to lose track of the issue at hand and, instead, argue about major aspects of their lives. Because they are so involved in their relationship and the issues at hand, name-calling occurs but goes almost unnoticed. As time goes by the names can become more offensive and frequent to the point where name-calling is completely ignored but constantly occurring. Furthermore, threats of violence, intimidation and blaming are also considered verbal abuse and happen quite often.
Sexual abuse is another common and unfortunate form of abusive behavior. Again, as one partner begins to feel more comfortable with their significant other, they will feel more comfortable expressing their desires. If one of the partners is more sexual than the other, it is possible that one partner could become sexually "pushy" over time. Sexual abuse includes forcing any form of sexual act from your partner without their desire and consent. A major portion of women who are beaten by their domestic partners are actually raped by that partner. It is important to remember that any form of forced sex is an aggressive act of abuse and should never be tolerated.
Economic abuse, also known as financial abuse, is another form of domestic abuse that many people either don't know exists or are choosing to ignore. Because the main goal of domestic abuse is to gain control, a spouse who makes more money than the other might be at risk to commit financial abuse without realizing it. For example, a husband might begin withholding money from his wife and spending a lot of his time monitoring her financial activity. This might not seem like abuse, but when he begins watching her spending too closely, it becomes a form of control. The danger lies in the way these patterns become increasingly frequent and significant. Financial abuse can start off harmlessly and become very serious. Some financial abusers use that position to withhold necessities from their domestic partner such as food and other items. It is important to understand the signs of beginning financial abuse, as even limiting someone to an allowance can be considered abuse.
As a relationship progresses, the people become more comfortable saying and doing things to the other person that they might not have thought possible in the first months or years of the relationship. As the comfort level rises, someone with a temper will allow that temper to escape more and more during times of stress. That behavior, once it begins to come up again and again, eventually feels like healthy behavior. This is one of the most dangerous aspects of domestic abuse; neglect.
As domestic abuse increases, the acceptance of that abuse increases as well. The biggest pitfall in domestic abuse is when the abused person fails to acknowledge and confront the behavior. Many people who are abused tend to accept the behavior because they are eventually convinced that they deserve the abuse for their "unacceptable" behavior. Sometimes people have dealt with that behavior their entire life so they assume it is normal and healthy. The abuse continues because both parties have accepted it. Domestic abuse, unfortunately, can last an entire lifetime if steps are not taken to stop that behavior.
One of the most common and unfortunate forms of abuse, domestic violence includes any form of physical harm done from one spouse to another in order to gain some form of control over them. Because men are generally larger, more powerful, and feel more aggression, they tend to be the abusers and the women tend to be the victims. However, that is not always the case and it is not unusual for a woman to physically abuse her male domestic partner.
Signs of Domestic Abuse
Because domestic abuse can be subtle and go overlooked for quite some time, it is important to educate yourself about the common signs that domestic abuse exists. Whether you are the victim of domestic abuse or feel you might be the one committing the abuse, you should know about the red flags in case problems arise.
First, you should learn about the common signs that you might experience yourself if you are being abused. Feeling afraid of your partner is the most common, most important sign that your partner is abusing you in some way. Whether you are afraid of being beaten or afraid of being yelled at, feeling afraid in the first place is the most common red flag of abuse. Forcing yourself to avoid certain topics is also a usual sign of abuse. Many people unfortunately do not speak freely with their domestic partners out of fear that they might be attacked in one form or another. Other common signs are feeling you can't do anything right, feeling that you are the one who is acting out of line, and feeling that you actually deserve the mistreatment and abuse.
Next, you should know about the common signs you might see in your partner if they are abusing you in some way. Observe your partner; if they are consistently criticizing, humiliating, or yelling at you, then you are probably a victim of abuse. Another common sign of abuse is when one partner consistently ignores, insults, or puts down the other's successes and accomplishments. An abuser will often blame their victim for their own behavior, suggesting that the abuse is their fault. Also a common sign is if your domestic partner seems to view you as a piece of property instead of a human partner. Being forced into sex of any kind is also something to look for. Finally, general controlling behavior is a common characteristic of abusers.