Are You A Victim Of Domestic Violence?
If you are in an unhappy intimate relationship, you may have wondered if the problem is with you or with your partner. If the relationship includes domestic violence, chances are your partner has led you to doubt yourself. How can you determine whether or not you are in a normal, healthy relationship that has a few bumps in the road, or are in a relationship that is actually abusive? While some people may smirk at the question, the fact is that it is often very difficult for people who are in the midst of domestic violence to label the relationship and deal with it appropriately. Perhaps these tips from sociologists can help.
Control is Achieved Through Specific Tactics
Perpetrators of domestic violence are experts with a number of tactics they use to control their victims and create self doubt:
- Threats and intimidation: Creating fear by glaring, wrecking property, and harming pets, etc;
- Deflating confidence: Humiliating, ridiculing, shaming, and name-calling;
- Isolation: Keeping you from family and friends, restricting the ability to leave the house;
- Using the kids as pawns: Insulting mothering abilities, threatening to take the kids away or to harm them, making children watch the abuse;
- Downplaying Abuse: Blaming outside factors for abuse or telling you not to overreact;
- Blaming you: Making you believe you deserve it; focusing on your mistakes in the relationship; creating a false equivalence between your actions and theirs;
- Creating guilt: Threatening suicide if you leave, crying, appearing helpless and alone.
Each of these tactics are symptoms of domestic abuse. What many people don’t understand is that abuse does not necessarily have to be physical to count as something that is devastating and that creates long-lasting consequences for victims. All too often victims excuse these kinds of behaviors because they just don’t seem bad enough to justify leaving someone.
When it Escalates
Unfortunately, these behaviors ultimately escalate to actual physical and/or sexual violence. The cruelty may turn on and off with various stimuli, leaving victims always on edge, never knowing what could set off the abuser. Even so, the actual cycle of abuse becomes predictable:
- Phase I: Building tension using the tactics described above;
- Phase 2: Violent eruptions as the perpetrator dominates the victim with physical abuse;
- Phase 3: Reconciliation, often with promises to do better, the showering of gifts and affection.
From here, victims only need wait for things to cycle back to phase 1.
If you can relate to these descriptions, chances are you are the victim of domestic abuse. It is important to understand that you deserve better, and you can take control of your life. At the Law Office of Julia Kefalinos, our Miami domestic violence attorneys can help. Schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your options today.