If you find yourself asking: Is it normal for my girlfriend to hit me? Then, it is likely that you are a victim of domestic violence. The CDC reports that one out of four men have been victims of physical aggression from a romantic partner, and understanding why your partner would strike you might be hard to fathom. You may know a lot of individuals who have been through what you’re going through now. If your girlfriend strikes you, she may have learned abusive behavior from past relationships or have no sense of personal boundaries.
Physical abuse is a serious problem, and you should distance yourself from your partner and the counselors at Restoration Counseling can assist you. Domestic abuse should not be something that one should bear alone. With faith in Jesus Christ and the practical tools that you can find in Christian counseling, you can find the means to heal and rebuild your life.
What is Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse, also known as ‘intimate partner violence’ or ‘domestic violence,’ is a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to acquire or maintain control over an intimate partner. Domestic abuse includes physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence someone.
Domestic abuse occurs when someone is frightened, intimidated, terrorized, manipulated, hurt, humiliated, blamed, wounded, or humiliated. Domestic abuse occurs in many different types of relationships, including couples who are married, living together, or dating. Domestic violence occurs regardless of socioeconomic class or educational level and can manifest in various ways.
Punching, hitting, kicking, pushing, or physically restraining a partner against their will are all types of physical abuse. Driving recklessly or invading someone’s physical space, for example, are also forms of this kind of domestic abuse. People typically think of this type of abuse when they hear the word ‘abuse.’
Abuse doesn’t always consists of physical violence but rather attempts to frighten, control, or separate you. This kind of abuse is characterized by a person’s words, actions, and consistency. It occurs when someone says something to you or your family that threatens violence. This form of abuse is a cumulative process and starts slowly.
When your mental or psychological health is worn away by your partner through a series of actions or words, it is known as mental or psychological abuse. Abusers often make their victims doubt their sanity by taking away their car keys, instilling doubt, and denying their own culpability. Victims become more reliant on their abusers as time passes as abusers also tend to isolate their victims. This, in addition to a lack of trust in their own judgment, causes victims to rely on their abusers more and more. As a result, victims are afraid to divulge the abuse or are doubted if they do.
Sexual abuse can be considered a form of physical abuse, but it is categorized as a distinct kind of physical abuse because it can contain both physical and nonphysical elements. Rape or other forced sexual acts, or withholding or using sex as a weapon, are a few of the non-physical components that may be included. An abusive spouse might utilize sex as a method to measure their partner’s worth by assigning a value and criticizing or saying that they’re not adequate at sex, or that sex is the only thing they’re good at.
Many people still believe that sex and its cultural and emotional implications are used for power and control, particularly if they have been accustomed to it. Marital rape was not illegal in all states until 1993, and some people might still assume that sex is something that a partner is entitled to and not recognize it as a pattern of power and control.
An abuser will use any method necessary to maintain control, and money is frequently one of them. Whether the victim is not permitted to manage their own budget or has opened credit accounts and racked up debts in her name, abusers frequently control their finances.
An abuser’s control of a victim’s money is frequently a major factor in preventing the victim from leaving a relationship. Victims of financial abuse often suffer from poor credit histories because of an abuser’s previous actions. This can influence their ability to get a job, a car loan, and a new apartment, among other things.
Cycle of Abuse
Abuse occurs in a predictable sequence of stages and phases, and recognizing this can help you better understand why abused people often remain in their situations. The phases of the abuse cycle are:
Abusers experience external stressors that may contribute to a rise in tension, such as financial problems, a bad day at work, or being tired. Irritation heightens because abusers feel a loss of control as external stressors accumulate. They continue to become more and more enraged as they feel a loss of control. The abuse victim tries to reduce the tension to prevent an abusive episode by attempting to make the situation more relaxed. During this time, the person at risk of being abused is typically anxious. They may also be overly attentive or “walk on eggshells” around their partner in an attempt not to set them off.
Abusers need to release built-up tension to feel empowered and in control again, so they may begin to abuse their partner in various ways, including insulting, controlling, manipulating, threatening, or physically assaulting them. They may also shift the blame for their behavior onto their partner. For example, if your partner becomes physically violent, they may claim that you made them angry and therefore it is your fault.
After the incident has ended, the victim often experiences a period of reconciliation when the tension has dissipated. During these periods, offenders frequently attempt to make amends by giving presents or being excessively loving and kind. This phase is frequently referred to as a ‘honeymoon period’ because it resembles the beginning of a romance when people are at their finest. It’s also when their partner gives them extra love and caring that their brains release feel-good and love hormones known as dopamine and oxytocin. This hormone release makes them feel closer to their partner and as if everything is back to normal.
During the calm phase, partners justify and explain the abuse in order to excuse it. The abuser, for example, might say that their abusive behavior is due to external factors, such as their job or work life, rather than to blame for it. The abuser, in some instances, may deny that the abuse occurred or that it was as serious as it was.
In most cases, the abuser will express remorse and agree to be more caring and attentive to her needs to compensate for the damage. Because they are so convincing, they may make you believe that the incident was not as bad as you think, which will help to reduce the tension around the incident. In the end, the abuser will convince you that abusive behavior is a thing of the past, even though it’s not.
The Psychological Reasons Behind Domestic Violence
Domestic violence occurs in many forms, and there is no single cause for it. Domestic violence is a choice, not an uncontrolled impulse. It is critical to keep in mind that domestic violence survivors cannot cause their abusers to behave abusively. The abuser’s statements are simply not true. You are never to blame if you are experiencing domestic violence.
Even if you do everything in your power to please an abusive partner, their need to control you will likely still be evident in their behavior at some point. Furthermore, intimate partner abuse may be influenced by situational factors, such as your own behavioral well-being. For example, if you and your partner have a tendency towards domestic violence, the situation may quickly escalate. Domestic violence is thought to be learned to a large extent.
Children who are raised in homes where domestic abuse occurs may come to see physical or psychological violence as a legitimate way to resolve disputes. Similarly, children who are educated to believe that one gender is inferior might exhibit controlling behavior later in life. Other factors that could cause someone to become abusive are:
- Low-quality education
- Personality or mood disorders
- Substance abuse
- Cultural attitude
- Views on gender
- Poor self-esteem
- Anger issues
What To Do When Your Partner Hits You
It is crucial to safeguard yourself from injury if you believe you are being abused. You should never be alone. Having support is really important. The following are steps to take to help you get out of the situation as safely as possible:
- Get support – It can be difficult and frightening to make the decision to leave a dangerous situation. You may want to speak with a friend, counselor, or youth worker if you can. Domestic violence non-profit organizations can sometimes offer you crisis payments if you need them.
- Seek shelter – A refuge or shelter can provide temporary housing while offering assistance with creating a long-term housing plan. In addition to offering legal assistance, emotional support, practical assistance (such as food and clothing), and excellent security, shelters also provide other services. Trusted family or friends may also be able to provide a safe haven while you figure out your next move.
- Speak with Law Enforcement – If you have been assaulted or hurt, contact the police or go to the nearest emergency department. An abuse counselor can help you through this process. You may also contact state and territory support lines to discuss any risks you might face. If you feel unsafe, approach the police. They are there to protect you.
- Maintain your self-worth – It can be difficult to maintain your self-confidence or sense of self-worth if you are being harmed or threatened. You may even believe you are to blame. It is never acceptable for someone to hurt you or threaten to hurt you. In this scenario, you should seek assistance in order to make a safe escape. Connecting with family or friends might remind you of who you are and how much other people care about you.
Restoration Counseling is Here For You
Domestic abuse is a serious issue, and if you identified with any of the types in this article, it’s important to connect with a therapist right away. It may be difficult to tackle domestic violence on your own, especially if you don’t know where to begin or how. Ending domestic violence will require a lot of time, support, and direction.
A counselor might assist you in enforcing the next indicated activities, as well as offer assistance as you determine what resources you may require, including lawyers, medical professionals, assistance in understanding the law and your rights, safety strategies, and more.
At Restoration Counseling, it is our Christian duty to seek God in all we do, to rejoice in Him, and to rely on Him in times of struggle. As time goes on, we may learn to rely on and draw closer to Jesus as well. Working with a Christian counselor can assist you in building that connection with Jesus and discovering how to rely upon him.
To learn more about how we can help you overcome your current abusive situation, contact the professionals at Restoration Counseling today. You are never alone.