Why do we minimize violence when it happens between two people in a relationship? Because we don’t want to get involved? Because it’s “under the covers” and “under the radar” when it really should be under the fucking microscope?
Violence against a family member should be no different than violence happening out in the middle of town in front of everyone… except for the fact that it’s more heinous due to it’s insidious secrecy.
Batterers know exactly what they’re doing, thriving on equal parts fear and charm. Making you feel on top of the world one minute and a piece of shit the next. A roller coaster, that in the beginning makes huge leaps between “getting flowers” and “getting backhanded”. Slowly and surely decreasing a person’s ideas of what is acceptable behavior… until the abused person is simply grateful for a day without violence (emotional or physical).
This is the slow, calculated, debilitating effect of brainwashing a person into learned helplessness. Tension building (walking on eggshells) lasts longer and longer, the explosions come faster and faster, and the honeymoon phase becomes relatively non-existent. Denial is ever present… because if I admit I’m in an abusive relationship then I have to fucking DO something about it and that means I made a POOR CHOICE in a partner.
Personal accountability sucks but it’s the only way to move from victim… to survivor.
Batterers have a very low rate of success in changing their behavior… it’s about POWER DIFFERENTIALS. If I believe you to be weaker/less than/inferior than me? Well it’s very unlikely that that will change. Read more: http://www.stopvaw.org/effectiveness_of_batterers_intervention_programs
If you saw a person abusing their partner/spouse/child in public… tearing them down or calling them names or backhanding them or grabbing them by the neck or stabbing them with an object… you’d be shocked and horrified yes? You might intervene or call the police. We know that children who are abused are loyal to their abusive parents and “dont’ want to leave”. (at least that was my experience as an investigator of such matters).
Very similar feelings of misplaced loyalty stem from abused spouses or abused parents/boyfriends/girlfriends et cetera. Sometimes we don’t know… that we don’t know… that things won’t change… or how very “wrong” the situation has become.
We see a black eye and look the other way. Notice a severe difference in a friend’s behavior and say nothing. It’s not our business. Not our concern. Not our problem. They’re grown. They can handle their own business. We don’t want to interfere.
Maybe that idea needs to change. Maybe you should be that one person who isn’t afraid to say what needs to be said. Just maybe you should be a positive rabble-rouser and stand up for people… even if they get mad at ya.
(I dub this post “Lessons from a Domestic Violence counselor… and survivor of an abusive relationship” or
Physician Counselor heal thyself.)
*note that there are no gender specifications here. there is just as much abuse occurring across both sexes. it’s about power.Google+