Domestic Violence has a number of names, and is the repeated violence that occurs within a relationship, often between intimate partners. This is often characterised by a Cycle of Violence that has some fairly predictable steps.
In the Domestic Violence Primer [Link] we explore various aspects of what Domestic Violence can look like and an introduction to the Cycle of Violence.
Other names for Domestic Violence are
- Family Violence
- Intimate Partner Violence
- Domestic Abuse
- Spousal Abuse
- Child Abuse (although this can mean several other things too)
This same Cycle of Violence can be used against many forms of relationship that are not familial. The same methods can be used against anyone who feels trapped in a situation, such as an abusive ‘friendship’, work place or contractual obligation.
It is helpful to understand that you might have an Anger response, that makes it easy for your abuser to trick you into thinking that you are either just as much a part of the problem, or even that you are the perpetrator. It is useful to understand some basics about Anger [Link], and that feeilng Anger is not inherrently bad. What can be bad is when your Anger uses Aggression as a tool outside of self-defence. Sometimes we can form unhelpful behaviours to avoid conflict, such as People Pleasing and Defiance Behaviours [Link], which are part of the Rejection Sensitivity [Link] phenomena (abuse driven variant).
The person who is doing the harm is known as the Perpetrator, while the person they are harming is known as the Victim. Once they have left the Perpetrator, the other person generally transitions from being the Victim to being an Ex-Victim, sometimes referred to as a Survivor. The Perpetrator will try to convince the Victim to come back, generally via the Pursuit Phase activities
- Empty Gestures, such as gifts, services and temporary good behaviours (up to a few weeks at a time)
- Hollow Words, such as “but I love you”,”you are the only one who gets me”, “I am sorry”, “ok, it was me, I did do it, I admit I did something wrong”
- False Promises, such as “I’ll never do that again”, “I’ll go and get therapy” (and doesn’t for long if at all)
- Crocodile Tears, such as “I am so upset that you are unhappy with me” (after they hurt you) “and I need you to comfort me” to trigger your nurturer
The Perpetrator may also charm and lie to the victims family, workplace and friends so that people think the Victim isn’t in danger and they shouldn’t help them get away.
The Perpetrator needs to convince the other to stay being a Victim, to con them back with false promises, empty gestures, hollow words and crocodile tears. They will frequently used many Logical Fallacies [Link] to confuse you.
It is important to learn how Escape Abuse [Link], see through their mechanisms and stay away.
People can be hard to gauge for being nice, being mistaken, being self centred and being harmful. Having a good Mind Set Tool [Link] for determining a level of Toxicity can help.
We also have a Video Playlist [Link] if that is more your style.
While we have given you plenty of helpful resources here, and Perpetrators generally draw from the same ‘play book’ of abuse, it is very difficult to fully cover this subject and all of the methods that a Perpetrator will use. This is why it is very important to connect with a Therapist who specialises in Domestic Violence.
If you are Female Presenting, you can often call for assistance from a local Domestic Violence Helpline and ask them to connect you to various services to help you get out of the relationship. A key ingredient to successfully exiting is to find a Mental Health Therapist, often linked or recommended by the DV Services, and continue to see them until you have learned how not to be conned by the Perpetrator or the next Perpetrator, generally by learning a system such as the Red Green Flag [Link] system.
Here at Joshua Davidson Therapy, we have such skilled therapists.