Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is all about control. Almost always it begins with emotional abuse, although emotional abuse doesn’t necessarily precede physical abuse. Domestic violence means physical abuse, which includes slapping, hitting, shoving, hair pulling and a variety of other abuse that should never be tolerated. One key is that if there is physical abuse in your relationship it will almost certainly be repeated. Don’t believe promises by a remorseful partner that it will never happen again, because it will.

Victims of domestic abuse are dependent on the abuser and continue to remain with them, believing the abuser’s promises as they plead for forgiveness.

Slow Isolation from Family and Friends

Living with domestic violence is dangerous and can quickly escalate out of control, putting any children at risk as well. It also destroys the self-esteem of the victim. Over time, the victim’s sense of personal power erodes, and the abuser increasingly takes over full control, makes more demands and slowly isolates the victim from family and friends.

You Did Not Cause the Abuse

Many victims feel trapped and don’t see a way out, yet they still love the abuser, who often tries to make excuses for their behavior, even blame the victim. It’s the victim’s fault they have financial difficulties or the out-of-control kids. The victim causes the alcohol or drug abuse. It is important for victims in these circumstances to understand they are not responsible for being attacked, nor for anyone else’s behavior. As with alcohol and drugs, you did not cause the abuse, nor can you control or cure it.

Abusers Really Can Control Themselves

Abusers are capable of controling their impulses despite what they say. They don’t slap or hit their boss when things don’t go right. They know there will be serious consequences including legal repercussions if charges of violence are brought.

Make an Escape Plan

The same consquences apply at home. Victims should never maintain secrecy about the abuse. Secrecy isolates the victim and increases the abuser’s control. Learn as much as you can about domestic violence and your options. Your safety and that of your children should always be your number one concern. Be prepared to leave. Pack a few essentials in advance, including important papers, passports, accounts that are in your name, medications, etc. Alert your neighbors to call police if they hear loud disturbances. Keep a list of hotlines and shelters and have a plan for alternative living arrangements with friends or family members. Also make note of the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233). They can put you in touch with local support and assistance.

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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