So your partner hit you last night for some rather absurd reason. You cried yourself to sleep thinking “this is it!” But you woke up next day only to find the partner regretful for whatever happened last night. He/she is sobbing and asking for forgiveness. Seeing the tears, you melt away quicker than butter on hot pan. You think “everything is fine now.” However, few days later, you find yourself in the same spot where you’ve been for countless number of times.
This is basically a sordid yet true picture of today’s relationships.
And if you’re in this same situation, you can find bliss in the fact that, sadly, you’re not alone.
Many people who continue to be hopeful of their abusive relationship- clinging to every tiny thing that they possibly could in order to save the relation- fail to understand and realize that domestic violence is not a one-time thing. It’s a cycle that continues until you stand up for yourself and say “That’s enough!”
Domestic Violence is NOT a one-time thing
Abusing the partner in a relation is not an accident. And no, contrary to what many think, it’s not in a sudden fit of rage that a person throws a punch on other. There’s an underlying mechanism that works here.
Of many reasons for the violence, the urge to control the relationship is the biggest. The abusers often feel the need to show their dominant position. And there could be plenty of possible reasons behind that. Patriarchy ranks at the top. The notion that men should be the head of the family and society is still very prevalent. Other reasons include insecurity, low self-esteem, low confidence and personal failure of the batterers.
The never-ending cycle of domestic violence- How it works
There exists a pattern in the behavior of the abusers that continues until something drastic puts a halt to it.
1. The dreamy phase- A period when everything looks beyond perfect- much like a dream, in a way. The couple is happy, there’s love, care and respect in the relation.
2. Tension Building- The ‘dreamy phase’ starts getting blurry. Come up some minor incidents like regular irritation, quarreling, and distorted communication.
3. The Burst- The moment when tension crosses that threshold level and the burst comes out in the face of domestic violence. And this violence can be in any form- verbal, physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and financial.
4. Regret- After the outburst, comes a period when the abusers regret for their actions. They apologize and even promise to never ‘do that’ again.
The cycle now goes back to the ‘dreamy phase #1’. The duration between these phases vary from relationship to relationship. And by every complete cycle, the situation notches up a level and gets worse. And unless something definite is done to stop it, things often end up bad.
Breaking the cycle- 3 Steps
Depending on your individual situation, there is a host of things that you can do. Here are 3 steps to break this vicious cycle.
Don’t live in denial- Knowing and understanding that you’re a victim of domestic violence is the first step. Understanding also that your ‘hopes’ and ‘wishes’ won’t fix the persistent problem is important. So the first step to break the cycle is to stop living in denial and to accept the situation in complete reality.
Seek professional help- While couple counseling is a good option, online domestic violence program is better. Ask your partner to enroll in the batterers’ programs. Be persistent in your demand, if you really want things to work out. Also, see a counselor yourself to learn to deal with the current situation more confidently.
Know when ‘it’s time’- If you see no positive result from court ordered domestic violence classes whatsoever and your partner is still abusing you, know that it’s time to let go. Take control and end the relationship. Make yourself happy. You deserve much better; and someone much better deserves you.
In few cases, even after ending the relationship, the abuser continues to create problems. Continuously texting, stalking and persisting to go back in the relationship are few examples. At instances like these, know to approach the police and NGOs.