Domestic violence or domestic abuse can be a sensitive topic; however, for many it’s a grueling reality as victims suffer daily, battling two of the most formidable demons: shame and the abuser. Abuse can be portrayed in several forms: physical, mental, verbal, emotional, financial, and even spiritual—all of which can have debilitating consequences for the victim. Psychological intimidation, fear, and control of another are all tools in an abuser’s arsenal, and any relationship steeped in such bombardment is unhealthy and requires immediate dismantling.
Gaslighting is a form of intimidation or manipulation an abuser often practices, infiltrating the minds of prospective victims, baiting them to develop a level of trust. As intended by the abuser, the victim will start to lose self-confidence, leaving a void to be filled with false and manipulating information. The abuser will utilize this opportunity as well as enable constant doubt and warped perception of the victim’s memory and sanity. The abuser has the unremitting effect of evoking both anxiousness and confusion for the victim who soon develops a dependency toward the abuser for any hope of stability.
There is a cycle of abuse that most abusers use. This cycle is usually carried out repeatedly during the manipulation process and while the victim becomes accustomed to a shattered self-esteem, which, under the enduring abuser’s presence, could be forever damaged.
The abuser’s cycle starts with the excuses stage, explaining why he or she is angry, blames past relationships and the victim for the abuse. Then comes the honeymoon stage where things seem great again as the abuser apologizes for the treatment and promises to never again exude that kind of behavior. Next is the tension stage: the victim moves about with extreme caution as the abuser begins to threaten and reveal significant behavior changes. The infamous trigger stage is where the violence or abuse reoccurs, and the abuser reinvent harmful tactics toward the victim.
Does your partner display abusive characteristics? Here are a few things to look for. Isolation, always insisting on solely getting your time and attention instead of leisurely interacting with other friends and family. Jealousy, behaving irrationally whenever you choose to spend time with or talk to others. Controlling: constantly telling you what to wear, eat, how to speak, and controlling your finances. Anger: overreacting to insignificant issues, frequent loss of control with violent outbursts. Blame: dispatching guilt toward you by accusing you and others of being responsible for their aggressive or destructive behavior.
Statistics state that the victim will likely return to the abuser for reasons, such as missing the abuser, having financial stability, guilt, and shame. Daily, the victim wears the mask while becoming adapted to the abuse as well as learning how to cope in a toxic situation.
It is imperative to Have a plan, a support system and resources, but having self-assurance is primary and the key to leaving an abuser. Often the victim feels as though they will not sustain without the abuser. The lives of those who are subjected to daily abuse could be forever altered, as their own judgment, perception of the world, and even their sense of reality is also seemingly altered in a way that they are unable to escape without help. Understanding why the victim stay and what makes it difficult for that victim to leave is the first step toward helping victims of abuse.
If you or someone you know is being abused, talk with them and encourage them to seek professional assistance. If you or someone you know who has left an abusive situation and need assistances coping with the traumatic experience, please contact The Walters Group. 951-541-4986 www.waltersgroupforwomen.com There is help. Allow your voice to be heard once more. 1-800-799-7233 Domestic Violence Hotline.
Dr. Candace is CEO for The Walters Group. Dr. Candace often affirms “Not every woman requires therapy, most of us just need an accountability partner”. Contact number is 951-541-4986.