Recovery For Abused Women

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Domestic Violence Series (Part 2A) for June 5, 2012 "Explanation of Domestic Violence and Abuse"

I.  Explanation of Domestic Violence and Abuse – (Part 2A)

Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of size or gender, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. This is especially true when the abuse is psychological, rather than physical. But no one should live in fear of the person they love. Reach out; there is help available.

A. Understanding Domestic Violence and Abuse

Domestic abuse, also known as spousal abuse, occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person. Domestic abuse that includes physical violence is called domestic violence.

Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you. An abuser doesn’t “play fair.” Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under his or her thumb. Your abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you.

Domestic violence and abuse does not discriminate. It happens among heterosexual couples and in same-sex partnerships. It occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. And while women are more commonly victimized, men are also abused—especially verbally and emotionally, although sometimes even physically as well. The bottom line is that abusive behavior is never acceptable, whether it’s coming from a man, a woman, a teenager, or an older adult. You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe.

Recognizing abuse is the first step to getting help

Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to violence. And while physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone. No one should have to endure this kind of pain—and your first step to breaking free is recognizing that your situation is abusive. Once you acknowledge the reality of the abusive situation, then you can get the help you need.

B. Signs of An Abusive Relationship

There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most telling sign is fear of your partner. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner—constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up—chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs that you may be in an abusive relationship include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.

To determine whether your relationship is abusive, answer the questions below. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is that you’re in an abusive relationship.

 

SIGNS THAT YOU’RE IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP

Your Inner Thoughts and Feelings

Your Partner’s Belittling Behavior

Do you:

  • Feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
  • Avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
  • Feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
  • Believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
  • Wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
  • Feel emotionally numb or helpless?

Does your partner:

  • Humiliate or yell at you?
  • Criticize you and put you down?
  • Treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
  • Ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
  • Blame you for their own abusive behavior?
  • See you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?

Your Partner’s Violent Behavior or Threats

Your Partner’s Controlling Behavior

Does your partner:

  • Have a bad and unpredictable temper?
  • Hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • Threaten to take your children away or harm them?
  • Threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
  • Force you to have sex?
  • Destroy your belongings?

Does your partner:

  • Act excessively jealous and possessive?
  • Control where you go or what you do?
  • Keep you from seeing your friends or family?
  • Limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
  • Constantly check up on you?

 

 Click Here to Open PDF Version

  

Next section posted will be “Domestic Violence Series (Part 2) – “Explanation of Domestic Violence and Abuse” – “Physical Abuse and Domestic Violence” (Part 2B) on Thursday, June 7th.

 

Shalom,

Dr. Hooks

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