Domestic Violence causes Powerlessness
by Christina Hays
Abuse stems from someone’s need to have power over another person. In order for someone to have power over another person, they take away the other person’s ability to make decisions for themselves. How does this happen?
The person with power and control issues begins “checking-in” frequently and asking very specific questions. They use disapproval before they start to tell their victim not to do something, wear something, or go somewhere. This person’s need for control goes beyond any reasons. They want their victim to do as they are told without question. When the victim starts to say no or question their abuser, the abuse escalates to threats and eventually to violence.
Talking never stops this person. They call, email, or text constantly. The need for constant contact might be seen as charming at first, but it slowly becomes overbearing. They fly into an angry rage if the phone rings more than a few times or goes to voicemail. Maybe they set off an alarm to get that person’s attention. Their need for control overshadows all sense of right or wrong. The abuser wants immediate results. Keeping their victim up all night causes sleep deprivation. Using the excuse that they need to talk or waking them up to finish an argument helps them gain control.
If confronted with their behaviors the person with control issues never accepts responsibility for their actions. They use jealousy as an excuse. Maybe they even state that they need to make sure the other person is safe. Endless discussions happen over the slightest things. They always need to be right. This behavior only escalates during the course of the relationship.
Suddenly, the victim cannot go anywhere without checking in every five minutes. They watch the clock when they go out without their abuser. The victim changes to avoid the fights or the three hour conversation about why they could not answer the telephone while juggling grocery bags and opening the car door. They start apologizing for everything because they actually start to believe that they are the problem and not that the abuser is at fault.
This is how someone loses control. Not all at once, but slowly over time. With every single compromise to please someone else they sacrifice a little bit of control over your own choices. Sometimes this happens without warning. The victim stands too close to see. They withdraw from friends and family and isolate from the world because they think it makes life easier.
If any of these behaviors sound familiar, know that you are not alone. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence 20 people per minute are abused by an intimate partner.
The national average is 5 to 7 times leaving an abusive partner before being able to stay away for good. If you or someone you know has experienced domestic violence or sexual assault please contact Crisis Services of North Alabama locally at 256-574-5826 or at our 24 hour HELPline at 256-716-1000. We can help. We provide free, confidential support to anyone experiencing intimate partner violence.