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Domestic Abuse and Violence Part One

Domestic Abuse and Violence

Written by Randi Fine, Narcissistic Abuse Expert

Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine

One in four women will experience domestic abuse or domestic violence at some point in her life. Although women are the most common victims, about two in five victims of domestic abuse are men. Does not discriminate; Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, physical strength, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity, or income.

What differentiates domestic abuse and violence from other abusive or violent crimes is that it is perpetrated by someone who has a relationship with the victim; a family member, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a spouse or former spouse, the parent of a shared child, or someone with whom the person has currently or recently lived.

Any physical roughness, abuse, or assault that occurs in a domestic situation is classified as domestic violence. The abuser may or may not hit his victim, but may use other acts of domestic violence such as pushing, shoving, pulling, holding, or choking. Sexual abuse falls into that category. Forced sex, even with someone you have a consensual sexual relationship with, is an aggressive and violent act. Being forced into unwanted, risky, or degrading sex is sexual abuse, no matter what the relationship is.

Abuse that does not become physical is called emotional abuse. Emotional abusers blame, intimidate, insult, threaten, and shame their victims to instill fear in them. As methods of control, they can withhold money or scrutinize every penny of their victims’ expenses. They may restrict car use to prevent their victims from getting out. They can prohibit victims from working, or force them to work and then take all their money. They can control, restrict, or deny necessities like clothing, food, or medical care, or threaten to make you homeless.

With frequent and extreme mood swings, it seems as if domestic abusers have two different personalities. They can be sweet, generous, and loving for a minute, and then suddenly begin to demean their victim, erupt in anger, or turn violent. But in most cases these abusers are not mentally unstable. They are often demonstrating learned behaviors.

Violence and abuse is not a loss of control, but a deliberate attempt to dominate, gain power and control someone. Anything can feed the fire.

To find out if you are in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you afraid of your partner most of the time?

  • Do you feel tied down, crowded, or confined?

  • Does your abuser demand your constant attention or frequent sex?

  • Are you unhappy or do you cry a lot?

  • Do you walk on eggshells or avoid certain topics to keep the peace?

  • Do you kill yourself trying to please your partner believing that you can love the person enough to fix the problem…and it’s never enough?

  • Do you ever make excuses for your abuser or try to downplay the seriousness of your situation? Do you choose to live in denial?

  • Are you treated like a child, a possession or a servant?

  • Do you blame yourself for creating the problems that led to your abuse, or do you think you deserve the abuse?

  • Do you feel helpless and hopeless; that there is no way out of your relationship?

  • Do you feel like you cannot survive emotionally, financially, or physically without the relationship?

  • Is your partner a substance abuser who becomes more abusive when he or she is under the influence?

  • Have you turned to substance abuse, an eating disorder, or another addiction as a way of coping?

  • Has the abuse increased over time?

  • Are you afraid to leave your abuser for fear of what he or she will do to you, your children, your family, or your pets? Is she afraid that her abuser will commit suicide if she does?

Abusers use tactics to isolate victims from their support systems, wear them down, and erode their self-confidence. After being constantly told that they are useless, ugly, and stupid, the victims begin to believe it. Over time, they lose the ability to perceive themselves as having any value and come to believe that they deserve the abuse. Believing that they are flawed, that no one else will love them, they feel hopelessly trapped in the relationship.

Intimidation methods are used to frighten victims into submission. Abusers may carry out violent acts or display weapons in front of their victims to send the message that the consequence of not obeying is cruel and unusual punishment. Threats of violence may be directed at victims, loved ones, friends, and family pets.

Victims are threatened not to leave or report the abuse to the authorities. They may threaten to file false charges against their victim or falsely report them for child abuse.

The cycle of abuse follows predictable patterns:

  1. Abusers attack verbally or physically; a power play to show victims that they are in charge.

  2. Abusers feel guilty, not because of what they have done to their victims, but because they fear they will get in trouble for doing it. They begin to rationalize their behavior and make excuses. Victims are blamed so that abusers do not have to take responsibility for their actions.

  3. Abusers go to great lengths to restore a sense of normalcy to the relationship; to give victims hope that they will change. There is an outpouring of love, apologies and regrets offered to his victims. They apologize and promise not to hurt their victims again. They promise to get help for your problem.

  4. Abusers get caught up in thoughts of what their victims have done wrong. They fantasize and plan ways to punish them. Victims are deliberately set up to fail in some way, so there is a justification for punishment.

After being repeatedly threatened, subjected to violence, intimidated and demanded, victims lose their sense of self. Constantly kept on edge, scared, and off balance, they suffer from anxiety, hypervigilance, and/or emotional numbness. When they are constantly told that they are not experiencing what they think they are experiencing, they lose the ability to trust their perceptions. They feel as if they are losing their minds.

Physical, emotional, and psychological abuse profoundly affects your ability to function in your everyday life. Their sleep may be restless or they may have nightmares. Depression and/or suicidal thoughts take over. They may withdraw from life out of embarrassment, embarrassment, and hopelessness.

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