Domestic violence is inclusive of any abuse that can occur in a domesticated setting, especially in the case of families. The abuse can be either physical, sexual or economic deprivation, verbal, or psychological and is carried out by any member of the household towards another. As long as a person feels threatened by your behavior then it most likely qualifies as abuse (even the extremes of either neglect or stalking).
Domestic violence is one of the most painful experiences that one can go through and recovery takes a long time. In some cases, people never heal and go on to either withdraw into themselves with extremes being insanity and drug abuse or become abusers themselves. This creates a cycle that begets more pain and makes rehabilitation even more difficult.
There are certain factors that are likely to make one an abuser or engage them in domesticated violence and here are some of them:
• The first which we have already talked about, people from abusive families are more than likely to become abusers themselves. Psychiatrists are yet to distinguish whether they do it as payback, that is how they think families work, or as a result of unresolved emotional issues from their own abuse. The social learning theory has been cited to explain this.
• Mental illnesses have been known to be behind a large number of abuse instances, with a third of all cases citing the abuser had a mental illness of some sort. The mental problems can include bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, drug abuse, personality disorder, antisocial disorder, and extreme low self esteem.
• The desire for power and control over others. This desire is inactive in most people but can be awakened at any time and in a social setting it can get very ugly. Through out history till to date, humans have sought to have power and control over others and the numerous wars are a testament to this truth. Modern day civilization has made people more subtle in the aspect of controlling others and has suppressed this need in most people. However, in the case of abusers, they need someone to be beneath them and they will use any form of intimidation they can to get others to do their bidding. It rarely works on outsiders so they tend to turn on their own family, who are unsuspecting of this evil desire.
• Stress and resource theory. This occurs in cases where the prospective abuser, especially men, are the bread winners and providers for their families and the wives and children are generally more or less dependents. With the coming of financial or medical and any other kind of problem, the men feel that their manhood has been put in question and any suggestions from the wife are considered as contempt. In an attempt to assert themselves as the men of the house, they start to get abusive just to show that they are still men. This is also related to low self esteem which is attached to their capability to provide. And because of the family’s dependence, they find it harder to escape the abuse.
• Jealousy, where one partner has uncontrollable bouts of envy that quickly morph into rage. Some people are so insecure and are constantly thinking that their partner is cheating, intends to cheat, or wants to leave them for someone else. This translates into them trying to bind them in the relationship and keep them faithful, not realizing that the actions meant to keep them together are instead driving them away. Most people in relationships are jealous but in the case of abusers, it is more like a borderline psychosis.
We know that abuse has painful consequences and this form is no different. Some of them are discussed below:
• Obviously from the causes, we know that it breeds more future abusers who will continue the cycle turning it into a pandemic.
• The victims are physically hurt and suffer damage of body tissues including wounds and broken bones. Pregnant women are known to have miscarriages or still births as a result of abuse and children are known to develop limb deformities as well due to lack of medication for injuries sustained indirectly or directly due to the form of abuse endured. In extreme cases, the victims die either from their injuries or are abused to death directly.
• As mentioned earlier, the victims will suffer one form or another of psychological ailments. Some may take up drinking, or drug use as a way to deal with the pain, while others may suffer more mind crippling illnesses such as anxiety, panic attacks, schizophrenia, and post traumatic stress disorder.
• Those charged with taking care of and rehabilitating victims of abuse tend to suffer vicarious trauma which in turn leads to burn out. Dealing daily with horror stories on defenseless people in most cases children some of whom have been maimed for life, can cause the care provider to start suffering some of the victims of pain. It is not so rare for psychologists and counselors being treated for anxiety and panic attacks as well as depression on account of their work.
There are some signs and facts that one should know in an effort to root out this vice from society. This will allow us to see that abuse is not excusable and nothing can justify it no matter what your own mind may be telling you either as the abuser, the victim or the designated care provider.
• No matter what you have heard or been told, know that abusers can and will control themselves and they are not as out of control as they will have you believe. For example, they all perpetuate their behavior when in private but never in public where others can see them, they only abuse specific persons, especially spouses and children not every one who makes them angry even when the behavior is deliberate, when it turns physical they always direct their blows to places that can not be seen in public with exception of when they lock up the victim, and no relationship starts out abusive, their behavior is manifested after the victim comes to trust and love them completely.
• Abusers will use all and any of the tactics available to keep control over the abused and they can range from simple to downright deranged. They can include dominance where they want to make the decisions for the victim, humiliation where they make you feel like you are worth nothing invoking guilt and shame, threats where they threaten to take away something you love such as your children, denial of basic necessities such as food, or withdrawal of sex, intimidation , denial and blame where the abuser intimidates the victim into submission and then proceeds to come up with excuses bordering on insanity claiming it is all the victim’s fault.
• When going out with people, during the initial stages, be mindful of their tempers, how they react when you annoy them and their jealousy levels. People who use sex as a mode of punishment, or getting what they want even when they claim to love you. Others will take away your things, children or hide them just to torment you, it is best to leave while you still can before things go any further. Also be wary of people who make jokes about killing you, any one close to you, or themselves if you were to leave them, this is just plain weird and even without any other signs run as fast as possible in the opposite direction.
In conclusion, while you may be afraid of the stigma surrounding abuse you should remember that you are a victim and deserve to be helped and no one should make you think that it is your fault. In all cases of domestic abuse, the reasons for the abuser usually have nothing to do with their partner or victim but they only say so because it suits their purpose. You may think that your partner can change, but the truth is that this behavior existed long before you came into the picture and it will continue to exist after you, so either you leave now or die a most likely terrible death from one of their abuse incidents. Always remember that nothing justifies this kind of behavior and no matter what they say, they are lying just to keep you bound to them.