There is a cycle of violence in domestic abuse situations:
Cycle Of Violence
Abuse – Your partner will hurt you with every little action that you make to dominate you.
Guilt – The abusive partner will feel guilty not with what they’ve done but at the thought of facing the consequences of his actions.
Excuses – He (or even she) will try to excuse what he (or she) did to avoid responsibility.
“Normal” Behavior – The person, will try to act normal or sweet again to prevent you from leaving with the hope of change.
Fantasy and Planning – The abusive partner will think of how to hurt you again by manipulating you and going back to what you supposedly did wrong.
Set-up – Your partner will set you up so that he can justify the abuse.
According to Colleen Russell, LMFT, CGP, “Abusers often alternate kindness with abuse. They can be masterful con artists, sweeping you off your feet when you first meet them. For a period of time, you might feel entranced, but behaviors soon appear that you question.”
Abusers will spout excuses and sweet words in between this to make you stay and believe that they still love you. Do not be fooled by this. These type of people are self-centered and controlling. They only serve themselves and will reel you in as much as they can because they want to damage you for their pleasure. Resist the belief that they love you because THEY DON’T.
The Full Cycle Of Domestic Violence – An Example
The man hits his partner and apologizes but omits the part about not wanting to get caught. He will then try to excuse this by making up mistakes or insulting the woman by saying something like this “Maybe if you weren’t a whore, this wouldn’t have happened.” He will then apologize again, but the truth is he’s already thinking of how to manipulate the abused person again. This is an example – the abuser will command the abused to go grocery shopping but omit the information on what needs to be bought. If the abused is late or did not buy what the abuser wants, he will use it as an excuse to assault the abused. This is called a “set up.”
Warning Signs Of Abuse
Marnie Masten, MS, LPCC, LSW says, “Whether it’s physical abuse, emotional abuse, or verbal abuse, it’s any kind of action by a significant person in someone’s life who is trying to establish or maintain power and control over the other person.”
While people won’t always know what happens privately, there will be signs of abuse. If you recognize them, you have to take it seriously.
Signs Of An Abused Person
- Anxious to please their partner
- Always obeys their partner
- Asks permission from partner and reports what they do
- Receives frequent and harassment type calls from the partner
- Talks about their partner’s temperament
Here are some warning signs of physical abuse:
- Frequent injuries excused as accidents
- Constantly missing work, school, or other events for no reason
- Dressing up to hide marks
Some Signs Of Isolation
- The abused is prevented from seeing family and friends.
- He or she rarely goes out without the partner.
- The abused has limited access to money or other belongings.
Psychological Warning Signs
- Extremely low self-esteem
- Major personality changes
- Depressed, anxious, self-harming or suicidal
If You Are Abused Or Know Someone Who Is Being Abused, SPEAK UP
If you feel like you know someone being abused, don’t be afraid to speak up. Don’t hesitate because letting the abused person know that you know about the situation will save the person’s life. Talk to the abused privately about it. Tell them that they can approach you and that you won’t tell anyone and that you’ll help them.
Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC also said “Victims often feel very isolated and judged by others. The feel like a bird in a cage where everyone is watching them but they have no privacy or way out of the situation. Listening to them without judgement is difficult but this is what they need the most.”
Abused people are often depressed and confused because abusers are good at manipulating them. Since they’ve been cut off from other people, you might be their chance of escaping from that kind of prison life.
Getting Out Of An Abusive Relationship: How To Help Others
- Ask what’s wrong
- Show concern
- Help in all forms – comfort and suggest therapy or counseling
- Support them
- Wait for them to approach you
- Judge or blame
- Pressure them
- Give advice
- Place conditions on your support