October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and your marriage is no place for domestic violence! There is a difference between arguments, disagreements and domestic violence, and it needs to be explained and understood.
Yes, conflicts are part of all intimate relationships, they can be resolved through rational talks and mutual understanding. On the other hand, domestic violence has no place in your marriage or any healthy relationship, whether the couple is married, engaged, or just dating. Domestic violence cannot be resolved through mere talks as the seriousness of the abuse goes way beyond reasoning.
So, What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence can be defined as an erratic and overly demeaning behavior that a person uses to threaten or dominate their intimate partner. This degrading practice can take various forms. However, they all involve two primary factors – threat and control.
Here are the five significant aspects of domestic violence and abuse that have been getting quite common these days, especially for married couples.
1- Physical Abuse
This kind of domestic violence revolves around rash physical actions like hitting, pushing, kicking, and beating. In most cases, the frequency and severity of such abuse only grow with time.
2- Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse in an intimate relationship is based on undermining a partner’s self-esteem through constant humiliation, name-calling, criticism, put-downs, and insults.
3- Psychological Abuse
Dominating over a partner by controlling behavior such as intimidation, and isolating them from their family and friends is also a form of domestic abuse that psychologically affects a person. Making the victim feel guilty for no valid reason and threatening them for unreasonable demands are also the primary characteristics of psychological abuse.
4- Sexual Abuse
This side of domestic violence includes forcing sexual acts on one partner by the other. Once sexual abuse becomes a norm in a marriage, it can quickly get out of hand, resulting in severe psychological trauma and even death.
5- Economic Abuse
Economic abuse is also becoming prominent in society today. It includes limiting the victim’s access to family income, preventing an individual from going to work, or making all the financial decisions in a marriage without the other’s consent.
Despite what many people assume, both men and women can be equally affected by domestic violence. Statistics prove that while one in every four women is usually a victim of some kind of abuse during the marriage, one in every seven men also experience and suffer from domestic aggression by their partner’s hands. However, in most cases, while men leave the relationship, women decide to stay with their partners despite their terrifying experience.
The questions remain unanswered – why do partners in an abusive relationship not leave their partners, and why does the abuser think of it as their right to raise their voices or hands against their spouse?
The answers can be challenging to understand from a normal person’s perspective. However, the person suffering from such a situation is accustomed to having an irrational thought process because of their partner’s constant abuse.
Why Do Women Usually Assault Their Partners?
In many cases, women verbally or physically assault their spouses when threatened by their partners; however, this may not be the case every time. According to the United States Department of Justice, many men don’t even report when their wives unjustly assault them because they don’t want to face social stigma regarding their perceived masculinity.
Unlike men, women do not typically push or shove while abusing their husbands. Instead, they like to throw things, slap, threaten with a knife, or bite their spouse along with verbal assault. Typically, women use this kind of behavior when they feel their husbands might be cheating on them. On the other hand, several women feel the need to dominate their partners with abuse when they are more financially stable than their partners. Once they get addicted to the feeling of control, their violent streak starts intensifying with time.
Why Do Men Usually Assault Their Partners?
Abusive men often share a few similar characteristics, whether they work at a respected organization or are a frequent member of their church community. They are easily offended, jealous, and angered over unimportant issues. Moreover, they are quick to act possessively over their partners, dominating them with demands and threats. Typically, the abusers also guilt their partners into believing that whatever is happening to them is their fault, to begin with.
The reason behind these actions is usually their unintelligible belief that they are somehow superior to women and thus have the right to make them feel inferior at any occasion. Drug or alcohol abuse is another factor that plays a significant role in the emergence of their violent streak.
Why Would You Stay in an Abusive Marriage?
The most common reason partners stay with their abusers is fear. Even though they can take action against their partners through proper established channels, they are forced to appear afraid of them because of their emotional distress.
The first thing that passes any victim’s mind is that their partners may become even more violent if they try to leave the relationship midway. Some also worry about losing their children to abusive partners, which psychologically pressures them to stay with their spouse.
Furthermore, you start to believe you can’t make it on your own once the marriage is over. Abused partners often feel cut off from society as if there is nowhere to turn for help. While some do not admit they are in domestic violence marriages so that no one considers them weak, others may feel pressured to stay in the relationship because they do not have any immediate family to support them during tough times.
Recognizing Domestic Violence in Marriage
Abusive relationships are usually recognized by the power and control imbalance between partners. For instance, while an abuser uses hurtful words, intimidating behavior, and physical violence to control his/her partner, the victim suffers quietly, out of fear or otherwise.
In most cases, domestic violence is not easily identified from the outside. However, the abuse often starts subtly and gets worse over time. An abusive relationship can be rightfully recognized by some common factors that abusers carry out, including these:
- Insulting over insignificant issues
- Controlling the way money is spent
- Inappropriate jealousy and over-obsessiveness
- Angry drinking
- Threatening with physical violence
- Forcing to engage in sexual activities
- Wrongful blaming
- Completely taking over the daily schedule
- Physical abusing
If you are experiencing a combination of these symptoms in your marriage, it is time to take a stand for yourself rather than and take your control back.
Taking the Partial Blame
If you are not ready to take any action yet, it may be because you feel like you are partially to blame for the abusive happenings. The reasons for this thought process include:
The Outside Charm
Your partner might only be exhibiting abusive behavior with you, but that doesn’t mean you are the one to blame for his actions. In fact, abusers are often known to keep a charming outward appearance. That way, they are believed, as a genuinely reasonable person, in public while causing you to think that their behavior has something to do with a mistake you have made unknowingly.
The Blame Game
When it comes to domestic violence, abusive partners rarely take any responsibility for their intolerable actions. They blame you for their irrational behavior until you start believing it yourself.
The Clear Report
Many victims don’t inform doctors or therapists about their abusive history. When the professionals do not have an inkling about such sensitive information, they completely misdiagnose the symptoms. This often results in a clear report that depicts you are living a healthy life.
While you may be suffering internally, these reports make you believe that everything is alright. Exposure to severe emotional and physical domestic violence can increase your risk of mental health stability and lead you to clinical diseases, such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The Reaction Guilt
Many times, victims retaliate with physical force when they see the need to defend themselves against their partners. However, abusers can use this to their advantage by making you feel guilty about your automatic self-defense reactions. They may also try to manipulate you with such incidents to accuse you of being the abuser falsely.
If you are having trouble recognizing these symptoms, we recommend you to take a step back and look at your relationship’s distinguished patterns. Unlike regular marriage conflicts, in an domestic violence relationship, hurtful behavior is repeated frequently while you are left to be abused every time on the receiving end.
Domestic Violence and Children
A child doesn’t need to be necessarily abused to have a traumatic past. Even when parents do not verbally or physically abuse children, the little minds usually witness violence at home. When children grow up under such circumstances where domestic violence is considered normal, they most likely develop social and behavioral problems, making them vulnerable to other children. As adults, they end up being an abuser themselves, as domestic violence had always been a static part of their upbringing.
Breaking the Domestic Violence Cycle
The essential course of action to take once you recognize your partner’s behavioral pattern is to break the cycle. If you are in an abusive relationship, you might be able to identify the following pattern:
- Your partner threatens you with violence.
- He incidentally strikes despite your reasonable and calm efforts.
- Your abuser apologizes, promises never to repeat his actions again, and offers gifts to soften the blow.
- If not that, he blames you entirely for his behavior.
- The cycle repeats itself.
Typically, this behavior becomes more persistent and severe over time. The longer you wait to break this cycle, the more damage you will be causing yourself, both emotionally and physically. At some point, you may even begin to doubt your ability to take care of yourself, which would create further problems in such situations.
Creating Safety Plans
Having a solid plan is necessary when you are to leave an abusive partner. We recommend you to consider the following precautions:
- Call a domestic violence hotline and ask them for professional advice. Make sure to call at a time when your abuser isn’t around.
- Pack an emergency bag that includes all the essential items you could need if you have to leave the house immediately. Remember to keep your personal documents, money, medicines, extra clothes, and anything else that could help you at the time of emergency.
- Preplan your destination and decide how you’ll get there before you leave the house.
- Clear the viewing history from your browser, so there is no way for your partner to learn about your plans.
- Remove all GPS devices from your vehicle that can be misused to track you down.
- Change your email password. In case your partner had access to your account, it would cut that tie off as well.
While it may seem like you are alone and there is no one around to help you out, you should know there are always options available that you irrationally ignore at first. You can take the first step against domestic violence by following the given resources that can help you through your problems effectively:
In an emergency, you would have to take immediate action. Don’t hesitate to call 911 when you feel the need for prompt assistance under violent or potentially violent situations.
Family, Friends, or Neighbors
You can turn to a loved one or a happy wisher in times of need. It is better to have a second opinion before you make a big decision regarding your married life as well. They can help you sort out your problems more efficiently.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
It is advised to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline if you don’t know anybody in town who can assist you through the crisis. They can also refer you to the local domestic violence shelter if that’s what you need at the time. If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7
Your doctors can treat your injuries and refer you to safe places for immediate shelter.
Domestic Violence Shelters
Domestic violence shelters or crisis centers are usually open 24/7. They are also always available to give you advice on legal matters and related support services.
Your district court can help you secure a restarting order against your abusive partner. Also, local advocates are available at all times to assist you through the legal process.
If you would like to speak with an experienced Marriage Coach, about domestic violence or any other challenges facing your marriage we offer a variety of resources for couples or contact us for a FREE Consultation. Pick up a copy of our book “How Communicating Saved Our Marriage” or check out our new natural product line Inspired by US.