Thu, Nov 15, 2012
Dealing with domestic abuse is never easy. Abusive relationships almost always involve a number of emotional elements, including fear, anger, shame, confusion and even love. Abuse is a cycle that, unless broken, will likely be repeated time and again. The following tips will help victims break the cycle of abuse by taking the steps necessary to protect themselves.
Recognizing the Signs of Abuse
While physical abuse is pretty cut and dry, other types of partner abuse aren’t always obvious. In addition to physical abuse, partner abuse can include many different actions and behaviors, including verbal, sexual and emotional abuse, intense jealousy and forced isolation from family and friends. These types of abuse are often subtle and, like most cases of physical abuse, progress and become more severe over time. In the beginning stages of abuse, it can be difficult to determine whether abuse is taking place or if someone’s just having a bad day or feeling a little insecure.
While spotting the signs of abuse is often difficult for victims and loved ones, it can also be challenging for abusers. In some cases, abusers were once victims of abuse themselves and therefore may not understand the difference between abuse and a healthy relationship. This is why learning to recognize the signs of abuse in essential to improvement and recovery.
Emotional, verbal and physical abuse are usually all about control. The abuser wants to exert total control over the victim, and will often do so by attacking areas of the victim’s appearance, intelligence, personality, etc. Another common tactic among abusive partners is to blame the victim for the abuse. For example, abusers often claim that victims “brought on” abuse by displaying certain actions or behaviors. In many cases, the cycle of abuse includes feelings on the victim’s part that coincide with the abuser’s: many victims believe they are, in fact, to blame for receiving abuse.
If these or any other signs are present in a relationship, abuse is likely taking place. If shouting, jealousy and other negative behaviors are occasional and neither party feels threatened or fearful, the culprit is probably a lack of communication instead of partner abuse.
While getting out of an abuse relationship can be an extremely difficult, frightening and emotional task, there are many options available to victims in this day and age. Once the signs of abuse are recognized, a victim has choices like the following:
Leaving an abusive partner is the best way to put an end to domestic abuse. However, this is often easier said than done. It’s often difficult for victims to uproot their lives in search of more favorable circumstances. Thankfully, there are options like shelters or staying with friends or family members that can give victims a chance to rebuild their lives. Another option is by forcing the abuser out of the home. Especially in cases of physical or sexual abuse, victims can take a legal approach by applying for restraining orders and pressing criminal charges.
2. Seeking Professional Help
In many cases, partner abuse can be treated through intensive psychotherapy and other methods. Seeking professional help in the early stages of a relationship is recommended since this can prevent the abuse from progressing, which can protect the victim as well as prevent lost wages, medical fees, criminal charges and other effects associated with partner abuse.
Therapy can also help both perpetrators and victims of abuse deal with the aftermath of an unhealthy relationship. Counseling, behavior modification and other forms of talk therapy can provide benefits such as improved self-esteem and relief from feelings like guilt, shame, anger, fear, etc.
In many cases of partner abuse, seeking the help of a good family law attorney is necessary. Family lawyers can help mediate between parties, as well as settle disputes involving custody, child support, the division of assets, etc.
Carol Straub knows how important it is to get legal help when faced with injustices. Whether they be from domestic violence, negligence to help you when needed, or any other form of injustice, be sure to find the help you deserve.