While it may seem like domestic violence can be easily identified, many victims are unable to do so. This is because these behaviors become normalized over time, and when coupled with the diminished self-esteem of the victim at the hands of the abuser, it’s quite common to remain in the dark. These types of behavior often present with specific patterns, as described below.
According to the Mayo Clinic, many abusive relationships start subtly. The abuser may use harsh language and insults or criticize multiple aspects of you as a person. The abuser may also experience a violent change when drinking or using drugs. Control is another common component of domestic violence. In many cases, the abuser attempts to control what the victim does, who the person sees, and may even threaten the victim if he or she deviates from commands.
There is also a common cycle of abusive behavior. The perpetrator will give threats or even act violently towards the victim, which entails hitting, kicking, slapping, choking, and other types of physical assault. Assault can also be sexual in nature, including forcing the victim to engage in sexual acts against their will. Afterward, the abuser usually apologizes for these actions and promises to change in the future. The person may even refrain from abuse for a short period, but the abuse will ultimately return, and the cycle will repeat itself.
It can be difficult for victims of intimate violence to act, even when they recognize these patterns. Perpetrators of abuse often claim the victim plays a role in abuse, or even outright blame the person for violent behavior. Additionally, many abusers are often well-regarded by others who remain unaware of the violence. Regardless, victims of abuse must know that they are not to blame for what is happening. This is the first step to getting help and getting out of an abusive relationship.