Signs of Partner Violence
Power and Control. We all need it. There is nothing wrong with wanting your way. But when it becomes an issue where your partner insists on calling the shots, tells you what to do and becomes angry when you do not, then this is power and control out of control.
The only thing predictable about an abusive partner is their unpredictable behavior. One minute they are pleasant, the next minute they are biting your head off.
You try to justify these actions with compassion and empathy. “A hard day at the office.” “Just a little angry is all.” “He/she isn’t always this way!”
Despite all this, there is a strain to your relationship. That explosive temper is hard to live with. Sometimes when the tempers get out of control, violence starts. Are these angry reactions signs of abuse? You will hear, “I don’t mean to be this way…”
Is your partner abusive? Are you in danger?
Below is a checklist of things that should NOT be happening to you. But first, here three ways to protect yourself when someone verbally or physically attacks you.
- Run, don’t walk, to the nearest exit before tempers get heated. As long as you leave before the fight starts, you are in control. If you don’t give the hothead enough time to cool off, you may be putting yourself in danger.
- Go for a walk or a run. Get out of the house for a while. Leave the scene and talk about it after everyone calms down. Do not try to de-escalate the situation, or convince the person to “calm down.”
- Realize the onus is not on you. As much as they blame you for the troubles in their life, you are NOT the problem. The problem is their lack of responsibility to control their emotions – or take the time to deal with what is bothering them.
As much as you love this person who is mean to you, you do them no favor by allowing them to continue to destroy your self-esteem. As painful as it is to step away from someone you love who is an abusive person, for your own peace of mind, your life, your future, it is for your own good.
S/He will say you are selfish, that you think of no one but yourself.
And what is wrong with that? Who else will take care of you if you do not? Thinking of yourself is not an unreasonable expectation. Your independence and vitality threaten an insecure ego.
Self-reliance is not selfishness. Self-reliance is knowing you can live your life on your terms, and by your own means. To be self-reliant means you can love a person for who they are and the nurturing and companionship they bring to you – without strings attached or unreasonable expectations.
Below is a short list of things that will happen if there is an abuser in your life. The more items you check, the greater your risk of staying safe.
Safety first – YOUR safety!
• Pulling hair
• Twisting arms
• Using a weapon against you
• Throwing you down to the ground or bed
Power and Control
• Makes and/or carries out threats hurt you emotionally or physically
• Threatens to commit suicide as a way of making you feel guilty
• Threatens to take away the children
• Threatens to report you to a governmental agency or law enforcement (for what every fantasy they have dredged up)
• Puts you down any chance they get
• Makes you think you are going crazy
• Makes you feel bad about yourself
• Plays “mind games”
Using male privilege
• Treats you like a servant
• Acts like the “master of the castle”
• Makes all the “big” decisions
• Controls what you do
• Controls who you talk to
• Controls who you see, or limits all contact with others
• Controls the places you go and who you go with
• Makes you do sexual things against your will
• Treats you like a sex object
• Physically or verbally attacks the sexual parts of your body
Using the children
• Makes feel guilty about the children
• Uses visitation as a way to harass you
• Uses the children to give messages
• Trys to keep you from getting a job or insists you keep a job while they find reasons not to work
• Controls your money
• Makes you ask for money
• Gives you an “allowance”
Intimidation–putting you in fear, by
• Looks, actions, gestures, and a loud voice
• Destroys partner’s property
• Smashes things
• Kills, hurts or threatens your pets
No one should have to live in fear. As much as we want to justify what is happening to us, it is not wise to live this way.
If you watch for the signs, you will know your new-found partner is abusive. Be careful that you do not tie yourself down to marriage or life-long commitment only find out later you made the wrong choice.
Life is too short to live with an abusive partner. As much as you want to believe the situation will change, it is best to learn it now.
You cannot change people, you will never control their actions.
The only person you can change is YOU. This does not mean change your ways to accommodate another person’s expectations and demands.
This means to recognize your own shortfalls and the baggage you bring with you to the relationship. Once you understand why you act they way you do, why you respond to this person you love but is not very nice to you at times, you will realize how precious your life is, and you are wasting it on another person’s problems.
If there are signs of abuse, they are easily recognizable. You just have to be aware of what to look for. Do not excuse their horrible childhood, their hate for their mother, the reasons they go in and out of jail, the reasons they give for not keeping a job.
Self-care is mighty important in staying healthy. When you are afraid of how your partner will respond if you say or do the wrong thing, this is NOT self-care!
Self-care is ensuring that YOU have a happy and profitable life, and are free from putdowns and intimidations.
Once you make the commitment that no matter what, you do not want to live a life of fear, then you will take steps to take power and control over your life, instead of another controlling you.
How to Nurture Yourself
In our Puritan-based society, we have not been trained to nurture ourselves. Many of us feel deep down that if we do enjoy ourselves, we will be punished for the human need to enjoy and savor the texture of our lives. Only feeling stressed feels familiar. Becoming aware is a prelude to conscious integration at a higher level. Accepting the dignity of your inner gifts makes them real — ized.
~The New Secrets of Charisma~
Information developed by The Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, Duluth, Minn.
Lang, D. (1999). The new secrets of charisma. How to discover and unleash your hidden powers. Lincolnwood, IL. Contemporary Books.