In every relationship, there will be occurrences of fights between the couples, of course. No matter how big or small, as well as how often or rare, differences and arguments should be settled in a healthy way. Otherwise, it would create an unbearable stress and strain in the relationship that might be abusive.
Before diving in, it is important to know that abusive relationship can be in many kinds of form. Now, one thing to remember is that abusive behavior is a choice, not because the abuser loses control of themselves.
Recognising the Cycle of Violence
Domestic violence is not without tell-tale signs that can be seen as a reflection that the anger and hostility simply isn’t normal anymore. From that, it’s quite clear that abusers use a variety of tactics to manipulate the victims by dominance, humiliation, isolation, threats, intimidation, denial and blame. Regardless of the reality, the abusers would make the situation seems as if they are the victim instead of the perpetrators, which can be explained by this common pattern or cycle of violence:
Abusers would lash out with violent behaviour to prove power over their partner, then they would be “sorry” and showing signs of guilt so that their partner would think that they didn’t do it “on purpose”. After they’re done with being sorry, they would rationalise what they did and make excuses for themselves where they’d say things like,
“I lost control — You made me to do this”
“If you weren’t being so difficult or pushy, I wouldn’t have gotten this angry”
See what they did there? Abusers would shift the blame onto their partner, which would make the partner feel like the situations were his/her fault. Then comes the normal behaviour, or as many would also call the “honeymoon phase”, where the perpetrators may act as if everything’s normal and they would turn on their charm, making their partner see just how sweet and wonderful they can be. By this point, their partner would have believed that they have changed, that the abuse would finally stopped. Unfortunately, the cycle would only goes on to the abusers fantasise and planning on repeating the abuse by thinking about what their partner have done wrong. Then, it’s only a matter of time that the perpetrator create a situation where they’d be able to put their partner in the wrong, and make the fantasy of abuse into reality.
To the Victim of Abuse …
Let’s be real for a second, knowing and recognising that you are (or might be) in an abusive relationship is one thing, but taking some action to change the situation is another. It is completely understandable that you might feel like a mess to be in this position. To top it all off, questioned by those around you, and even by yourself, of why don’t you just leave already can be overwhelming.
It’s okay to have any doubt, because you have been “groomed” by your abuser that it is not in their nature to have done something like this. Therefore, it’s only natural for you to have any difficulties when it comes to leaving your abusers — which also lead you to believe that you’re the only person who can help them — in the name of love that both of you share. Making it even worse, the fact that you might’ve been isolated from friends and family, psychologically beaten down, financially controlled, and physically threatened.
In the midst of your confusion and mixed feelings, don’t ever feel that you play a role in the cycle of abuse. It’s their fault, not yours… There’s nothing to be embarrassed about, and the only thing that matters is your safety. Until you have gained clarity and make a firm decision on what you wanted to do about the situation (whether you leave or stay), I want you to remember keep the following thoughts in your head…
- You are not to blame for being battered or mistreated, and you are not the cause of their abusive behaviour.
- You deserve a safe and happy life, as well as to be treated with respect.
- You are not alone — There are others who survived through abuse, and people wanting to help.
So, What’s Next?
Like everything else in life, remember that there is always a way out. Even though the danger of the abuse is definitely real and terrifying, the silver lining is that from this point on, we have acknowledged that abusive behaviours are not as innocent as they claim to be. Remember, knowledge is power.
Next, think through whether you want to leave the relationship or stay in it — either way there’s no right or wrong in each decision. But, really think of the next move well, because it might be crucial to your well-being, as well as your children and/or family. There is a way out, and I’ve seen it.