Content/Trigger Warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include sexual assault & violence which could potentially be triggering.
Domestic violence is officially defined as "a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship." By nature, this pattern of behavior is incredibly dark and insidious. Many perpetrators of domestic abuse thrive on the control and power that they have coupled with the innate fear that they instill within their victims. Violent abusers furthermore thrive on victims' silence and apprehension of seeking outside help.
There are many instances of domestic violence perpetrators putting on airs of grace and kindness in public, only to revert to their true, violent ways once doors are closed.
Although many people have survived domestic violence, it is still a prevalent plight in many homes and many families. We, as a society, must address this toxin and handle it accordingly. However, before this can happen, a clear, thorough, and detailed understanding of domestic violence is paramount.
An Extensive Overview Of Domestic Violence
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Unfortunately, there are multiple forms of domestic violence. While some are more obvious than others, each is insidious and in many cases, life-threatening. Information from The National Domestic Violence Hotlineaffirms that domestic violence is often carried out via physical and sexual means. However, there are several other variations of abuse, such as emotional abuse, online abuse, financial abuse, and even reproductive abuse which slightly varies from sexual mistreatment.
As one of the most blatant and apparent forms of domestic violence, physical abuse happens when a man or woman mistreats their partner by punching, slapping, choking, slapping, or otherwise making other variations of unwanted and forceful physical contact. Abandonment, intentionally dangerous driving, and forcing one's partner to partake in drug or alcohol use also fall into the category of physical abuse.
Many perpetrators of physical abuse use this behavior as a means of controlling their partner or fostering feelings of intimidation for the sake of control. Although society thinks of men as the main perpetrators of physical abuse, women can also be abusive. Regardless of whether any form of abuse comes from a man or woman, it is equally wrong and should never be tolerated.
Similarly to physical abuse, sexual abuse is very common when domestic violence occurs. This form of abuse manifests in the form of rape, sexual insults, pressuring one's partner to partake in sexual acts that the latter is uncomfortable with, intentionally trying to transfer a sexually transmitted infection, or forcibly impregnating (or trying to impregnate) one without consent.
While each of the acts above is readily apparent forms of mistreatment, there are further variations of sexual abuse which are not as obvious. These include bullying one's partner into viewing sex as an obligation, threatening to cheat or sleep with someone else, or intimidating one after he or she has already stated that they do not wish to partake in sex or sexual acts.
Although emotional abuse does not leave the physical scars and marks of physical and sexual abuse, it is still an equally malevolent force which is carried out by perpetrators of domestic violence. Emotional abuse can moreover leave many psychological scars and damage the self-esteem of the victim.
This form of abuse takes place in the form of name calling, possessiveness, humiliation, property damage, bullying, cheating, and telling one's partner that the latter is lucky to be in a relationship with the abuser or that they'll never find anyone else who loves them. Emotional abuse furthermore occurs when someone is excessively monitored, trapped in their home, controlled, or wrongly blamed for outrageous acts or behaviors. Many perpetrators of the aforesaid behaviors have certain emotional issues of their own. Narcissism, psychopathy, or even sociopathy could be the root causes of emotional abuse.
Online abuse occurs when one's partner employs technology as a means of mistreating their significant other. Sending nasty emails, meaning Twitter/Facebook/Instagram posts, or using GPS to monitor one's partner fall into the category of online abuse. Some abusers may disguise their online abuse as a form of caring for their partner, but people who truly care for their loved ones do not mistreat them. Posting private information or sharing intimate photos or videos is also online abuse and even illegal in some states.
Finally, perpetrators of domestic violence may use technology to abuse their partners by demanding for account login credentials, sending excessive text messages, or leaving immoderate voice messages.
As the name suggests, financial abuse occurs when one partner controls, misuses, or otherwise abuses the earnings of their partner. This can take place in a plethora of forms, including withholding earnings, providing a controlled allowance, running up a partner's credit cards, spending all of a partner's money, stealing earnings, pressuring a partner to turn over their tax returns, halting access to bank accounts, or residing in a partner's home, but declining to contribute financially.
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In many instances, financial abuse is illegal and depending on the circumstances; the victim may have a strong standing to go after their abuser legally.
Reproductive abuse is very similar to sexual abuse. However, this variation of abuse is somewhat deeper than sexual abuse. Instances of reproductive abuse comprise of dishonesty about being on the pill/having a vasectomy, poking holes in condoms, meddling with birth control, refusal to practice safe sex, forcing a partner to get an abortion, preventing a partner from getting an abortion, forcible impregnation, and bullying a partner who wants to use birth control.
Each of the preceding forms of abuse is incredibly dangerous. Despite the pleas and cries of abusers, they never stop their behavior until the behavior is over. Anyone, male or female, can be a victim of abuse and is strongly urged to leave any relationship where mistreatment occurs.
Warning Signs Of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence does not occur overnight. Nine times out of ten, there are always warning signs which evidence that a partner is abusive. Some of the most common warning signs of impending domestic violence include mean-spirited insults, humiliation, destruction of property, throwing objects, threatening words or body language, excessive calls, texts, or voicemails, and isolation.
Furthermore, if one's friends and family do not like a potential partner, this could also serve as a potential warning sign that he or she is not what they appear to be on the surface. Granted, family and friends can be wrong or have their reasons for disliking one's significant other. However, if one or more of the preceding warning signs occur, the person at hand should tread very carefully or even end the relationship altogether.
Why Do People Perpetrate Domestic Violence?
Countless people have wondered about the causes of abuse and what prompts certain individuals to mistreat the ones who they are supposed to love and care for. However, Psychology Today has some answers. One of the most common traits in abusers is that they have either witnessed or experienced abuse at some point in their lives. They may have been abused as a child, or one (or both) of their parents may have been on the receiving end of abuse.
However, regardless of the reason, abuse is never tolerable or acceptable. Some perpetrators of domestic violence may cite past childhood traumas or other negative experiences to excuse their toxic behaviors. Everyone has a story; everyone has been through tough times, but mistreating other people is never OK.
Regardless of the provided reason, any individual who is experiencing domestic violence should leave the relationship immediately. Abusers do not stop,and the longer one remains in a relationship where they are being mistreated, the worse the odds become. This is why heeding warning signs are so critical. Some things can be nipped in the bud before they truly begin.
A Final Word
Relationships can be difficult and complex. There are so many unique factors and dynamics which can come into play. However, domestic violence is never acceptable. Anyone who is experiencing abuse or mistreatment from their partner is heavily urged to exit the relationship. However, in some cases, this can be much easier said than done. In this particular circumstance, sitting down with a licensed BetterHelp professional may be a good idea.
Here at BetterHelp, we pride ourselves on providing the best help and care to those who are in need of it. If you (or someone you know) is experiencing domestic violence, they should know that it is not their fault and there is always a way out. BetterHelp has the resources to assist those in need, regardless of their current situation.
However, our services are not exclusively for those who are experiencing domestic violence. BetterHelp is here for all people, regardless of what they need. Sometimes sitting down and having a simple conversation can work miracles and make all the difference. Unfortunately, some people are told that seeking outside guidance is indicative of weakness. However, the strongest and most self-aware individuals are the ones who can seek out help when they need it.
Regardless of who you are or what you may be going through, know that BetterHelp will always be available as an option. Ultimately, the decision is yours, but if you ever feel the inclination to contact BetterHelp, you can do so by clicking here.