Domestic Violence 101
With all the TV commercials, ads or fliers post in varies places on Domestic Violence you get the picture of how horrible it is. So why are the cases increasing? Well there isn't much light put on the path or road to long term domestic violence. Which starts off peacefully. So a lot of people can't see how it begins, so when the get into the middle, it's already too late. I am going to start with the very beginning. Then we will proceed to the middle and then finally to the possible endings. I'm going to identify the cycle of abuse in steps. To some of you who maybe reading this and think that this is just words, its not. This is REAL LIFE for a lot of women. Even some men (although it is rare but it does happen). It happens to 4 out 10 women that you meet in random settings. So please even if your are that six percent of women who have never been abused take a moment and read this it maybe happening closer than you think to someone you know or knew.
For the purpose of this blog i am going to use an example of a real life story. I will call the woman Sally and the abuser will be Kevin.
Kevin was a sports hero at his local school. He had played for the high school football team and won them a championship. His parents were active church going people who always helped someone in need. With all the girls and everything going for him he was what every guy secretly hated. Sally was raised from a very strict old school (meaning the 50's style) church going people. In school she was very quiet, shy, had very few friends. She had little confidence in how beautiful she was. Then when Kevin bumped into Sally one day in the hallway as he was rushing to class late she had apologized to him. Realizing that she (not by mistake of her own) bumped into the basically the hero of the town. She kept her eyes to the ground or to the wall knowing how handsome he was. Not long after that Kevin began to take a interest in Sally.
Lets pause for a minute here. As this may seem sweet, innocent, and cute. Note what Kevin saw was her vulnerability. Most abusers start out by getting a woman who lacks in confidence or is unaware of her emotional vulnerability. Meaning there like blood hounds once they get a smell that says she is weak or unsure they prey on it. They simply can't help themselves. Abusers look for someone they perceive as weaker than them. Not just physically but emotionally too.
Kevin starts to date Sally much to her surprise. He was like prince charming. He brought her flowers every time he picked her up for a date. Opened the door for her. Her parents where in love with him. Putting him as the perfect gentleman. A lot of the other girls were so steamed that he had picked her of all people. Slowly Kevin became the person she always went too when she had problems. He didn't back away, he told her what to do. Sally was hanging out with her friend (she had known him for 2 and half years) even though they had argued a week prior and Kevin had told her not to see him anymore. When Kevin came to pick her up, he began yelling, shouting at her, he called her a worthless whore (other things of that nature as well) as he left her at her parents doorstep.
Lets pause for a brief moment again. Although he didn't hit her yet, he was attacking her with verbal abuse. Seems like a regular couple argument? No. The underline picture here was that she did not do as he commanded her to do. The first sign of an Abuser is Dominance. They will treat you like a child, or a pawn they command, or as their own possession. Most times like a servant. This type of dominance is usually the very first red flag of an Abuser.
Sally, being heart broken sort to rekindle with Kevin. He did not take Sally back right away. He let her beg him in front of everyone. Be laughed at when he walked away from her in total stone silence. Then after a long day for sally being told by others that they knew she would mess it up. Kevin finally came to her house after school. After very harsh words and a promise to never see the friend again he took her back.
Lets pause for another second. Their is two things that is wrong with the picture here. You think Kevin ignored her simply because he was upset? No. He wanted to humiliate her. He wanted her to understand that no one else would want her. That it was her fault. Then making her swear she wouldn't see a friend who loved her was the best part of the deal. Isolation. Abuser will slowly work in isolating you from everyone. They will create impossible situations, like the one above where you have to pick between him and your friends. They will claim if you love them you will trust THEM.
Soon after High School Sally and Kevin got married. By this time he had played the perfect gentlemen except when Sally spoke with anyone he didn't approve of. He had convinced her that was the reason for his outburst's of rage. So she had no friends. He had made her turn down going to college. As he told her he had a full scholarship to play at a football camp. She did. Even though she had always dreamed of being a teacher, he told her if she left school he would marry her and start a family with her.
Lets take a pause. Look at how he used Intimation to destroy all her meaningful relationships. That his rage, which he knew could scare her into do as he wanted, was because of her friendships. This is a very common abuse tacit to dissolve relationships close to her. She now had no one to turn too if things got really bad. This is when he has checkmated you. This is when the real abuse begins. His true side starts to show. When he has you all to himself. In this case the physical abuse is about to begin, but the abuse can happen anytime before this. This is just an example but the main point is the power and control he used to get her where she was. Abuser show these signs long before the hitting begins. They want to make it clear to you they are everything and you are there possession. To use or discard as they wish. This is just the beginning. They attack you with words mostly and make you feel cheap. It will always be your fault they get so mad because otherwise they are prince charming. At least when it counts they will be. Abusers main goal at this point is to get you away from all that is going for you. For you to serve them slowly. More and more. They will pour on the charm after they verbally attack you but only after they know you see the error of fault to them which is you not obeying. They have huge egos and are known as ALPHA MALES most of them. They will seek only to possess your every being and deep mind. It is a game they create on the weak. To keep you weak and have your weakness work for them. They know how much or deeply you love them because they can transform into your dream man at will. They can say everything you need to hear to feel better because they know exactly how deep the cut on your heart is.
Everything is going great for Sally and Kevin who have moved into their new home together. In another state where Kevin goes to camp. Far from her parents and everyone she knows. Sally is a stay at home wife who only goes out to shop and come home. Kevin is the loving husband who gets a job near by. Then months later Kevin begins to drink more and more. Kevin one day stays home from camp to drink. Sally comes home from going shopping and begins to explain how nice everyone was to her. This sets Kevin off into a rage. Sally tries to calm him down saying he should take a nap while she makes dinner. Suddenly Kevin snaps and hits her. Sally just stands there in shock. Then Kevin grabs her yelling and hits her again. Finally Kevin decides to go upstairs and wait for dinner. When Kevin comes back down he doesn't address the bruise on her face. In fact he acts as if nothing ever happened at all.
Lets stop for a moment. A lot of abusers will not address the aftermath of what they have done. In fact they will be in total denial about it.They will make it seem like it is not a big deal. A lot of them will say it was the drinking or drugs that they normally are not like that. They will have a list of excuses.
Finally before bed Sally calls her parents which are the only relationship she has left in good standing while Kevin is in the shower. She tells her mother, her parents tell her just to talk with Kevin and try to understand he is under a lot of pressure. When Kevin comes out she asks him why he got so mad. He tells her that he lost his cool, that he was sorry, it was just stress. She then tells him that her parents said the same thing. This puts Kevin into a rage. Her grabs her and threatens her that if she ever told anyone about what happened again she would be very sorry she did. All the while he has his hands wrapped around her neck choking her.
Lets stop again. This is called threats. Lots of abusers threaten the person that they will really harm them if they speak out against them to anyone. They make sure they follow through with physical harm to the person at the moment of the threat. This is another part of the cycle.
Sally thinking the worst was over begins to cover up her bruises. He had sworn it would never happen again and it looked as if he was making progress to control his anger. Then he began to beat her again. Then again. Each time it got worse and for very simple things that seemed to set him off. No matter how hard she tired to make things perfect, she always messed up. Each time after the beatings he would cry later and say he lost control. That he loved her so much that he couldn't control it. Each time she believed him. Then finally she became pregnant. Instead of being happy, he beat her when he found out because he had just been cut from the team and felt it was Sally's fault. She was trying to make his life hell. Finally Sally had enough and packed up while he was at work then left.
Lets pause for a second. Once the physical abuse starts it may seem like he is truly sorry and working towards not letting it happen again. THESE ARE LIES. The only way he could truly get help is if he checks into a program that deals with abusive partners and follows it through to the very end and practices what he learns at home. The abuser will never admit that he needs that kind of help. To him he has everything under control. If he is not willing to admit to others what he has done then he will never check into a program to sit with others and address his behavior.
Soon Kevin tracks Sally down to the hotel she is staying at. He goes over there just to TALK he tells her. He begins to beg her that he will do whatever she wants him to do if she will just give him another chance. That he learned his lesson about what it will be like without her. Sally begins to give in and starts to think of the unborn child. So she returns with him. As soon as she gets home and unpacks he starts to beat her again. This time worse then the other times. He doesn't stop. Blood gets everywhere. He tells her if she ever leaves him again he will kill her and the baby.That no matter where she goes he will find her. He refuses to take her to the hospital for her broken arm. He tells her he doesn't trust her anymore. That she hurt him worse than anyone.
Let's pause. Remember that abusers will say anything you want to hear when you leave them because they are loosing control. They will manipulate you in seconds if you listen to them. They prey on the good times they have shown you which our like honeymoon periods. Abuser are not always the evil self absorbing pigs. They will have this side to them that is very romantic. That is so charming and sweet that no one will ever think there is a twisted side to them. They will be aggressive in work because they want to look like they are good providers.
After the birth of their son Adam things seem to be happy and upbeat. Family came in to see the baby and give them well wishes. Even though Sally had called her mother a few months ago to tell her she couldn't it take anymore. Being old school her mother told her to stay. That she must stand by her husband in hard times or she will be punished by god. So she had stayed despite the abuse. She had truly thought he turned a new leaf when he saw his son for the first time. Then a month later he began to go back to his dark ways. When he didn't like what she was doing with the baby he beat her. When she didn't rush to his aid when asked he beat her. When she didn't give him her all sexually her beat her. She had gone through so much make up that he beat her for going over budget. She began to slowly want to kill herself and her son so they wouldn't have to suffer anymore. Instead she tried to make him happy. When he gave her some praise she felt happy. This went on for years.
Let's pause as we now going into the ending of this story. I will also explain the possible endings as well. This tragic middle, the worse part, because a lot of people will have many reasons why they stay. They don't have any education and feel they won't make it money wise alone. The thought of being poor doesn't appeal to them because they want the best for their children. Even if they don't have children the thought of going out there with no skills is scary. Or they are religious. They may come from extremely religious families that say if you leave your husband for his mishaps god will punish you. That church's will shame you and your children. Or that they truly don't feel no one will care about them. Being isolated so long they believe no one will ever love them or care. They have no where to go. Going to strangers and begging programs for help is embarrassing. They feel a certain amount of false pride because the abuser has down played how bad the beatings are. So that they feel silly to go begging for help when they have a pretty good life on the outside. WHATEVER the reasons are, these women stay and suffer. This is enabling the abuser to keep abusing you. Even though they know the pain will come again, the words he beat her with keeps her enabling him. His threats that she can't do better. That she is the reason he gets so mad. That he loves her. How he tries to fix things. All these thoughts just spin around while she looks in the mirror to cover the bruises.
Sally finally one night after getting beat for not having their son in bed by 8pm, had waited until after he left in the morning. She had put her son on the bus to school as Kevin always watched like normal. Kissed Kevin good bye as he was in a good mood. Then she began to pack only a few items that her and her son would need. She went to her son's school to get her son and went to the guidance department. The ladies took one look at her face and knew what she needed. The women pulled her aside and spoke with her while she awaited her boss. She begged them not to tell her husband and that she had to leave before he came home. That he would find her if not. Then he would kill them. That was the first day to her freedom. The women took her son from his classes and convinced her to speak with the police. They found her a nice little home three towns away that took her in. A place that was not known as shelter. They worked with her to make her strong and get her the education she needed. She was studying to be a teacher as she always wanted. Then she finally got her own apartment close by to one of her new friends she made. Despite the order that was in place for her soon to be ex husband not to contact her in anyway. He showed up at her apartment one night at 11pm. Their son had been in bed sleeping finally enjoying having friends of his own he was peacefully asleep. As soon as Sally saw Kevin her heart jumped in her throat, she knew she needed to close the door quickly and get the police. She knew she was prepared for this moment. Instead Kevin spoke to her first. He began to sob, showing her papers that he had taken classes for what he done. That he wanted to apologize for hurting her so much. When Sally didn't respond Kevin went on to say that he really missed her. Sally finally said that if he didn't leave she would call the police. Kevin then said that he expected her not to trust him that he deserved that but that he wanted only to be able to see Adam without the lawyers in his way. That he would leave if she told him to no questions asked. She then told him to leave. Kevin a bit hurt turned and left. She had felt guilt but she knew it had to be a lie. As much as she wanted it to be true. Then next day he came back asking to see Adam. She let him in the hallway telling him he was not to come inside.
Let's pause for a moment. Abusers when the show is about to be over will seemingly shed there old ways and claim a new found love of being a good person. The minute you see them you must get the police, if you reason with them they have found some control which they will grow. SLOWLY.
Sally began to let her guard down despite what she had been taught. He truly only seemed to want to see his son. He left when asked and brought her flowers. Then gifts. He had given her money to buy Kevin things he needed and for herself. Then she started to let him inside her apartment. She had made him dinner. It was just like the old happy days. Soon their relationship became sexual. He had set out to please her and asked for nothing. She soon after asked to release him from the order for him not see her or Adam. Despite her friends protests it was done. Soon they went to therapy to fix the emotional issues. Then she moved back with Kevin and no one heard from her or Adam again until one year later. Her old friend had been watching the news and saw that Kevin was being charged with the murder of Sally. Adam had been in custody of the state.
Lets stop here. Now remember had Sally called the police the first time she saw him she could have been alive today. She could have been a teacher. Instead her dream never happened. She didn't listen to all the advice that was told to her. Adam grew up to become a teacher like his mother wanted but he also spoke and taught people about domestic violence. He could have had his mother if she wouldn't have went back. He explained that despite the violent times his mother always said his father would never kill her. The night she died he didn't intend to kill her. He had pushed her and she fell. Cracking her skull against the edge of the tub. He had pushed her that hard because she was trying to get away from him. He had ran that night to help his mother because he had been hitting her since before dinner. He had a way of drawing out the beatings. Making her suffer more. Adam tried to protect her but she screamed and jumped in the way protecting him. She had pushed him out of the way as she ran towards the bathroom. For years Adam lived with the guilt that it was his fault that his mother had died. If he had not got in the way she wouldn't have ran into the bathroom so he could trap her. If he was bigger he could have saved her. Finally he was able to let go after years of therapy. This is the worse outcome Domestic Violence can have. It can happen. AT ANY TIME. He doesn't have to want to kill you to kill you. Every time he lifts his fits to you he is putting your life at risk. If you get out don't look back. People will help you but you can't go back. Had Sally never looked back she would be alive. It only takes one time. She had gone back before and it never happened but one time she did and it cost her. HER LIFE. So please understand the cycle of abuse. POWER, CONTROL, DOMINANCE, THREATS, VERBAL ATTACKS, ISOLATION, INTIMIDATION, DENIAL, HONEYMOON PERIODS, BLAMING YOU ALL THE TIME. These are just some of the cycles of abuse. My final thoughts to you are if you know someone who is suffering please don't let them do it in silence. Help them, you are SAVING LIVES if you do. If you are a victim that has escaped don't look back you've done the right thing. DON'T EVER QUESTION THAT. You saved yourself and those effected by leaving. Thank you i hope that this will help people understand how it starts and how it can end.