Most batterers exhibit a behavioral pattern that has been described as a cycle of violence.
The cycle of violence has three phases.
Phase One: The need for power and control, a history of family violence, and learned behavior are some factors underlying battering behavior. For some men, phase one begins with anger, blaming, and increased tension. Increased tension, anger, blaming and arguing is evident. It is followed by phase two, the battering incident.
Phase Two: This may be a one time stop, push or punch, or it may be hours of repeated beatings, and ritualistic terror, with objects or weapons used to further injure or threaten the woman’s health. Sometimes sexual abuse also is present. Verbal threats have already begun at this stage if not accelerated already. Then phase three follows.
Phase Three: The man may deny or minimize the battering, promise to never do it again, hit or blame the woman for “causing” him to lose his temper. Most battered women (and their children) recognize the behavioral pattern of the male partner and attempt various coping mechanism to prevent or decrease the severity of impending punishments and battering. Usually no matter what the woman attempts to do to prevent the battering, she is still blamed for the wrong that happen, causing him to get angry. Many deny violence, say he was drunk, upset at work, said he is really sorry this time and promised to make it right.
Signs to look for:
Below are a list of behaviors that are seen in people who may have a high tendency to abuse their girlfriends, wives or partners.
Jealousy – Jealousy is not a sign of loving too much. It is a sign of insecurity and possessiveness.
Controlling Behavior – At first he’ll say this behavior is because he’s concerned for her safety. He will be angry if she is late coming from work, store, friends or family house, then question her for details.
Quick Involvement – Many knew or dated their abuser for less than six months. They say “you are the only one” , “you are only person I can ever talk to”, “I have never felt loved like this before”. They need someone desperately and will pressure her to commit to them.
Unrealistic Expectations – The abuser is very dependent on the woman for all their needs; expects her to be the perfect wife, partner, mother, lover, friend, money maker. They will say things like “if you love, I all you need-you are all I need.
Isolation – The abuser tries to cut the woman off from all resources. If she has male friends, she is name called. The abuser accuses people who are her supports of being “trouble makers.” May even limit her use of the car or make sure he accompany her all the time.
Blames Her or Others for Own Problems – Someone is always doing them wrong or out to get them. They may make mistakes and then blame the woman for upsetting them and keeping them from concentration or doing their job. She is at fault.
Blames Her or Others for Own Feelings – The abuser will tell the woman “you make me mad”, “you are hurting me by not doing what I ask”, “no one has ever made me feel angry like you”. They make the decision about what they think and feel, but will use feelings to manipulate the woman.
Hypersensitivity – He is easily insulted, claims their feelings are hurt when they are really very mad, or they take the slightest set back as a personal attack. They will rant and rave about the injustice of things that have happened that are really just part of living.
Cruelty to Animals and Children – This is a person who punishes animals or is insensitive to their pain.
Playful Use of Force in Sex – This person may like to throw the woman down and hold her during sex. They may want to act out fantasies during sex where the victim is helpless – with little or no concern about if the woman wants to participate or not.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr./Ms. Hyde – Many women are confused by their abusive patterns sudden changes in mood. They will describe that one minute they are nice, and the next minute they can explode. Mood swings can be typical of abusers. One minute they are angry and throwing stuff around, leave the house and come back with bouquets of flowers or gifts as way of apology. Until the next time it happens again.
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