Domestic Violence Isn’t About Anger…
It’s About Power and Control.
Abusers (batterers) tend to take their anger out on their intimate partner but it’s not really about anger. It’s about trying to instill fear in order to have total power and control in the relationship. Anger therefore is a tool that an abuser will use to gain and maintain control.
Though there are no typical victims of domestic abuse, abusive relationships do share similar characteristics. In most cases, the abuser aims to have power and control over a victim. Many times they may turn to physical violence – kicking, punching, grabbing, slapping, or strangulation.
The abuser may also use:
CHILDREN AS PAWNS
Accuses the victim of bad parenting, threatens to take the children away, uses the child to relay messages or threatens to report the victim to Child Protective Services.
COERCION AND THREATS
Threatens to hurt other family members, pets, children, or self.
DENIAL AND BLAME
Denies that the abuse occurs and shifts responsibility for the abusive behavior onto the victims. This may leave the victim confused, unsure of themselves, or make them feel like they are going crazy.
Controls finances, refuses to share money, makes the victims account for money spent and doesn’t want them to work outside the home. The abuser may also try to sabotage their work performance by forcing them to miss work or by calling the frequently at work.
Uses put-downs, insults, criticism, or name-calling to make the victim feel bad about themselves.
Uses certain looks, actions, or gestures to instill fear. The abuser may break things, destroy property, abuse pets, or display weapons.
Limits a victim’s contact with family and friends, requires them to get permission to leave the house, doesn’t allow them to work or attend school, and controls their activities and social events. For example, the abuser may ask “where have you been”, track their time and whereabouts, or chick the odometer on the car. The abuser may use jealousy to justify their actions or say it’s because he loves them so much.
Makes all major decisions, defines the roles in the relationship, is in charge of the home and social life, and treats the victim like a servant or possession.