One of the most difficult things about domestic violence (DV) is that we often don’t know if we are experiencing it. Abusers are wily and manipulative, and often act like the victim. They blame their victims for their actions, or deny they ever happened. Since most DV occurs behind closed doors, and the abuser often looks great to outsiders, it can be very hard to discern if you are in fact being abused.
Domesticshelters.org recently published a great video that can help you decide whether you are being abused. If you think you might be in an abusive relationship, I highly recommend you check it out. It lasts 14 minutes and is worth the time.
I will summarize some of the information here.
Abuse hardly ever gets better, and most often gets worse over time. There are periods of time when no abuse occurs. During those periods, the victim often tries to forget the abuse happens. S/he hopes it won’t happen again and tries to move forward. The first step in discerning whether you are being abused is to keep track of the abuse. Keep a log of all the behaviors you think might be abusive.
For your safety, do not keep this log in any place your abuser might have access to. Tweet This
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence can happen between intimate partners, spouses, dating partners, siblings, or other family members. One person behaves in a way that is designed to gain power and control over another. Some common behaviors include:
Domestic violence can happen to anyone and will happen to 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in childhood or adulthood.
Domestic violence is not always physical. This is one of the reasons it is so hard to discern. Other types of abuse include:
Patterns of Abusive Behavior
Abusers often do the following things:
- Make excuses for their behavior
- Blame others
- Justify their actions
- Feel they are entitled
- Feel they are not bound by the rules others must follow
- Are extremely sensitive
- Sabotage plans
- Instigate conflict
- Are impulsive
- Assume they know what you are thinking
- Threaten you
- Play the victim
- Frighten you
- Act differently in private than in public
- Deny their abuse.
Words Abusers Often Say
- You’re a dumb (****)
- It didn’t hurt that much
- You made me do that
- I don’t remember doing that
- You’re crazy
- You’re too sensitive
- You deserve that
- That never happened
- I’m sorry
- I love you and that will never happen again
- No one will ever want you
- No one will ever believe you
- If you loved me, you would . . .
- I will kill myself if you leave me
- If you leave, I will kill your family, (kids, pets)
- I am going to kill you.
Actions Abusers Often Do
- Refuse to compromise
- Use guilt trips
- Have a sense of entitlement
- Downplay your accomplishments
- Don’t respect your feelings or needs
- Use extreme jealousy
- Use cut-downs disguised as jokes
- Control your finances
- Force sex
- Give you the silent treatment
- Interrogate you about where you are going, who you are with
- Sabotage your relationships (in order to isolate you)
- Use religion to control you.
The Abusive Cycle
Abusive behaviors go in cycles.
The abuser is not abusive all the time. This makes it even harder to discern whether you are being abused. Tweet This
The cycle generally gets shorter and more violent over time.
- Tensions build. You feel as if you are walking on eggshells and try not to upset your partner.
- Abusive incident. This could be an emotional outburst, the silent treatment, physical or sexual abuse.
- Reconciliation. The abuser brings you flowers, and apologizes, or blames you for the abuse, or pretends it never occurred.
- Calm. Both parties “forget” the abusive incident, and all seems ok, until the cycle begins again.
Help for the Abused
Think you might be abused? Domesticshelters.org offers many resources to help you.
- Help finding shelters and local DV hotlines You enter your location, and they will list organizations near you.
- Articles about DV. They have over 500 on every possible topic to do with abuse.
You can also check out my Get Help page, (which has hotlines for other countries) or call:
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline in the US at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224.
- LoveIsRespect.org (for teens) at 866-331-9474.
The final point the video makes is a great one.
Abuse is never the victim’s fault. Tweet This
Question: Do any of the actions or words listed above seem familiar to you? If so, what will you do to keep yourself safe?
Because abusers often use spiritual abuse against their victims, we often (falsely) believe God somehow condones abuse. This could not be further from the truth. Psalm 11:5–7, (NLT) says:
The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates those who love violence. He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked, punishing them with scorching winds.
Please contact me through this website, or via Facebook messenger if you would like to talk about what is happening to you. Bless you all,