If you’ve never experienced domestic violence, you might not understand its intricate and delicate relationship pattern. You might only see violence among two people from time to time. However, there is a clear cycle of violence that has been identified and that gets played out time and again.
Cycle of Violence
Typically, the cycle of violence involves four stages. These phases are:
- Tension building: During this initial phase, the relationship is experiencing increasing amounts of tension. There’s a breakdown in communication, fear is increasing, and the victim will do her best to appease the abuser.
- Abuse: The tension explodes into an abusive incident in which there is anger, blame, rage that gets expressed through emotional, physical, or verbal abuse.
- Reconciliation: The abuser apologizes for his actions, gives excuses, blames the victim, or claims that the abuse was not all that bad.
- Calm: The abuse is forgotten and a honeymoon period begins again.
It should be noted too that this cycle can exist between gay partners as well. The cycle of abuse can happen in any kind of relationship, even within those that are not intimate. For instance, it might exist among siblings, parent and children, or among other family members. Furthermore, the cycle of abuse doesn’t necessarily need to follow the typical roles of men as the abuser and women as the victim. There are many females who can play the abusive role with men play the role of victim.
Once this cycle is understood, you might also be able to identify a stage or stages in which alcohol or drug use is involved. Certainly, it’s common that drinking or drug use can take place during the abuse phase. However, it might also be involved during the tension building stage, and even used as a means to threat the victim.
Domestic Violence Among Intimate Partners
Domestic Violence is a form of conflict that often happens between intimate partners. Often, there is an underlying fear that one partner uses to control the other. And there are many ways in which one partner can use fear to manipulate and control:
- physical abuse – hitting, slapping, kicking, or beating
- verbal abuse – frequent criticism, humiliation, mocking, name calling, and yelling
- sexual violence – forcing sex, demanding sexual acts, degradation
- isolation – making it hard for a partner to see friends or family
- coercion – making the other partner feel guilty
- harassment – following or stalking, embarrassing the other partner in public
- economic control – not letting the other partner work, interfering with work
- abusing trust – lying, breaking promises, being unfaithful, withholding information
- making threats – threatening to harm a partner and children
- using intimidation – using physical size to intimidate, keeping weapons in the house
- emotional withholding – not expressing feelings, not giving compliments,
- destruction of property- destroying furniture, punching walls
- self destructive behavior – abusing drugs, driving recklessly, threatening self-harm
Furthermore, one study found that there existed a relationship between domestic violence and insomnia. Vijay Singh, the clinical researcher, found that one in five men in the US report violence towards their spouse or significant other. He took a sample of 530 men with an average age of 42. Roughly 78 percent were non-Hispanic white, 56 percent were educated beyond high school and 84 percent were employed. The study also found that male aggression toward a partner is associated with other warning signs like substance abuse and a history of either experiencing or witnessing violence as a child. The study was published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.
Although it’s easy to think of men and women who engage in domestic violence as being a part of a certain socioeconomic class, Singh explained differently. “Our study showed one out of every five men in the US reported physical violence toward an intimate partner. It is likely that we have all met these men in our daily environment. This is an issue that cuts across all communities, regardless of race, income, or any other demographics,” he commented.
If you’re in an abusive relationship, it’s necessary to seek help right away. Research shows that domestic violence only worsens leading to death or serious injury of the victim. Contact a mental health professional in your area as soon as possible for help.