I’m Not Sure What Abuse Looks Like
Are you wondering if you have suffered from domestic violence? These are some of the ways one partner can abuse the other:
- Using a weapon
- Causing pain or injury by any other means
- Sexual abuse, including rape
But maybe your partner has never used any physical force with you. Consider whether he has done the following:
- Threatened you, your family or your friends with harm
- Harmed or threatened a pet
- Deprived you of money or sleep
- Harassed you at work with visits or phone calls
- Insulted or verbally abused you
- Isolated you from friends and family
Why does my partner do this? Is it my fault?
Some men feel that it is masculine to be aggressive and violent. They may not know how to solve problems with talking. If an abuser was himself abused by his parents, or saw abuse within his own childhood family, he may feel that violence is normal. In past generations, a wife was regarded as the property of her husband, and these attitudes can be slow to change .Violence can be glorified on TV, in music and in movies.
Abusers often have some common characteristics. They may have a poor self-image and feel unable to control their lives. They feel a need to control others and may feel intense jealousy. They often abuse alcohol or drugs and may use this habit as an excuse for their behavior. An abuser can come from any economic level or social class, any educational level or any ethnicity.
Working to please the abuser will not solve the problem, and trying to stop a violent episode by apologizing or blaming yourself seldom works. He may apologize and promise not to do it again, but the cycle often resumes within a few days or weeks. Abuse is never the victim’s fault. Most abusers need help from professionals outside the family to learn to change their behavior.
Why must I do something?
You may feel financially dependent on your abuser, especially if you have children. But remember, if your children grow up witnessing abuse, they may learn to consider it a normal part of family life. This can result in your sons becoming abusers or your daughters marrying abusive men. Children can also be injured trying to protect their mothers, even if the abuser does not intend to harm them.
Is abuse always a man hurting a woman?
No! Although it more common for a woman to suffer abuse, it is entirely possible for a man to be abused. Sometimes, couples abuse one another.
Elder abuse is also a sadly common situation, with the abuse sometimes involving misuse of the elderly person’s money or deliberate overmedication. Elderly people may be reluctant to report abuse for fear they will be placed in an institution.