Domestic Abuse: a Tool for Control

Domestic violence is a difficult issue that people usually avoid in normal conversations...the fact that one grown up person, an adult like everybody else is reduced to a state of abject dependency by her spouse using physical harm, is painful to consider. We don't want to see this punishment happening to anyone, but it does.

Even worst is the fact that few people have some or the right answers, so we are left with a sense of impotence in front of a grave injustice.

In a recent article, Phyllis A. DeMott has explained some common misconceptions about domestic abuse. Here we reproduce two of them:

"MYTH: Abuse happens when a person loses control or is angry.

FACT: Abuse is defined by control. Abusers manipulate their victims emotionally, financially and physically long before the first time they hit. Abusers make calculated choices about how to behave in a given situation to retain control over their victim. Abusers choose when and where to behave violently. An abusive partner may become angry in public or with someone other than his partner, and these situations do not lead to immediate violent outbursts. Instead, an abuser will wait until he is alone with his victim before using physical violence. This shows clear control over his decisions."

"MYTH: Both the abuser and the victim are responsible for the abuse in the relationship.

FACT: Responsibility and accountability should always be on the abusive partner. We don't blame a pedestrian for being hit by a drunk driver, nor do we blame the victims of identity theft. Battered women are victims of crimes perpetrated by their partners. Victims should never be blamed for the abuse they suffer."

The main point of Phyllis' contribution is simply to clarify two misconceptions that common people use: that domestic violence is a crime of passion, unleashed by a loving person out of his emotional self-control, making both victim and abuser responsible for his outburst. This way of reasoning will always help cover the real question:

"WHY does an abuser think violence is the right behavior?" Perhaps focusing the discussion in this way we could answer the unspeakable:

Some people still think of the heterosexual marriage as a relationship between people of different value, where one person is destined to command and control, and the other has to obey, for a thousand reasons based on culture, biology or ignorance. In this frame, violence is a useful tool to teach submission from the beginning.

BECAUSE it is the cheapest and fastest way to terrorize the victim into submission, violence is used.

Because control demands submission and submission is NOT voluntary, has to imposed by means of fear, hurt and the humiliation of being beaten by the same person freely chosen to be a peer, a companion and a lover.

Here is the emotional violence that the victim has to suffer: the unavoidable insight about the real nature of her relationship leaves her sad, scared and terribly alone....Now, she knows that she is not in a love relationship between equals, where she can trust the other person with her physical integrity.

She has now to deal with the realization that her relationship is similar to slavery, in which the control over her body, thoughts and feelings is in other person's hands.

Healing from emotional abuse is a long process that the victim needs to complete to recover her self-esteem. And there is a lot of support coming her way if we all around see domestic violence as what it is: not a "wrong way to express intense love", but the sad connection present in a toxic, controlling relationship where one partner believes he needs to be the master and the other is forced to be the slave.

Phyllis A. DeMott: "Domestic abuse is defined by control"
(http://www.pioneerlocal.com/niles/news/forum/1515708,ni-guestessay-040909-s1.article)

Neil Warner

Neil Warner

I'm the “relationship guru,” and my main focus is to increase the quality of love-based relationship experiences. In this ground-breaking guide I offer useful strategies on healing a difficult angry relationship with love and compassion. You don't have to stay in an unhealthy relationship one more minute. Let us share our tools with you today.

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