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Abusive Relationships and Why Abusers Do It

Education over judgment is important, as this article covers the heavy, triggering topic of domestic violence and abuse. Domestic violence affects an estimated 10 million families in the United States (StatPearls). However, through education, therapy, and social programs, there are options and support for ending domestic violence in your life.

No One Deserves Abuse

There is not a person in the world who deserves abuse. All people are worthy of love, happiness, and safety. Though many argue that those who abuse others may have been abused themselves, it’s up to each person to stop the cycle. No one deserves abuse. 

Defining Abuse

There are many different forms of abuse, and abusers often exercise their control over victims in these common ways:

  • Physical abuse is the physical harm, monitoring, stalking, and intimidation of another person. This can result in hospital visits, the covering of bruises, and self-isolation for a victim to avoid questions or more harm. 
  • Psychological (or emotional) abuse is repeated use of lies, negativity, damaging or intimidating words, threats, and gaslighting to manipulate a victim into submission or a chronic fearful state. 
  • Sexual abuse is repeated non-consensual sexual acts enacted upon a victim. These can include inappropriate talking, touching, grooming, stalking, molestation, and rape. 
  • Financial or material abuse is the control of finances, sometimes limiting shared financial resources or controlling someone else’s for the abuser’s own benefit. 
  • Discriminatory abuse is the abuse of a person due to who they are. This can be in the form of racism, sexism, ageism, etc.
  • Neglect is a form of abuse that is defined as ignoring the needs of another person or refusing life-sustaining resources to a person who is in the abuser’s care. The most common examples of neglect are in parent-child relationships where a parent neglects a child. 

Each form of abuse is damaging in its own way to victims. Victims can suffer for years or even die at the hands of their abusers. Abuse in any form is serious and should not be ignored

Why Do They Do It? 

There is no easy answer as to why abusers choose to inflict pain or suffering on a victim. No individual demographic or group is pre-determined to be abusive; in fact, an abuser can be located in any and all demographics. 

According to an article in Health Psychology Research, some traits are consistent for certain demographics:

  • Many of those who enact abuse, men or women, carry symptoms of neurological, psychological, personality, and behavioral disorders. Many carry tendencies of narcissism, suspicion or jealousy, sudden drastic mood swings, poor self-control, and higher than average rates of approval for acts of aggression. 
  • Men, in general, are found to be more aggressive and physical when they enact abuse, although women are definitely capable. This can be due to many factors, including stature, modeling from men in their life, social and psychological disorders, and chronic hegemonic masculinity. 
  • Antisocial men who abuse are found to be very aggressive against female intimate partners and strangers. 
  • Antisocial women who abuse are found to only be aggressive with sexual partners. 
  • Men and women who exert physical and emotional abuse on others are found to have high rates of personality disorders. 
  • Men who enforce severe and chronic physical abuse on women or partners are found to have high rates of psychopathy. 
  • Many abusers exercise control over the household, family, finances, and even the physical space of the victim. Abusers will remain concerned about their self-inflated high standing in society and do whatever it takes to maintain a good image in public. This might mean recruiting friends like law officers, those with power in the workplace or politics, and anyone else who can aid the abuser if they were to get caught.

Although abusers may have high rates of psychological and mental health issues, only 10% of abuse cases find mental illness as the cause behind the abuse. This means that despite the knowledge of mental illness, abuse is a conscious choice, as adults know better. If you display abusive tendencies and you want to end this, you can get help. Enroll in therapy or see another kind of mental health specialist to identify your tendencies and develop strategies for changing your behavior. 

If You Need Help Leaving

Victims of abuse may have a hard time leaving or escaping the situation. You are worthy of a life without abuse, and you are strong enough to leave. If you need help or feel you are in danger if you attempt to leave your situation, call any of the National Library of Medicine’s Key Organizations, the Family Violence Prevention Service, or 911 for emergencies where you believe you or a loved one may be harmed. Do not wait.

Domestic violence and abuse are triggering and damaging to families and individuals. No one deserves abuse. There are therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy and social programs to help. For victims who need help, there are support programs and law enforcement who are meant to help you. For those who experience abuse fueled or numbed by substance abuse and addiction, call us at RECO Intensive. At RECO Intensive, we do not encourage abuse or aggressive tendencies in our space, but we do support healing, treatment, and growth. Our professional staff and experienced alumni can guide you through therapy, show you strategies for success, and help you with substance abuse treatment. We also offer family, couples, and individual therapy for those who would like the opportunity to heal with their loved ones with a licensed professional. Call us at RECO Intensive today at (561) 464-6533. Let’s get back to a brighter future. 

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