Although there are many variations in the naming convention – Domestic Violence, Intimate Partner Violence, Domestic Abuse, and several textbook definitions – advocates such as myself understand that domestic violence is all about obtaining and maintaining power and control over another. It is simple as that yet complex in and of itself. Domestic violence is about Power and Control.
That IS a FACT.
It was NEVER about you! Or your fault.
It was not about the dress you had on, or the way you prepared meals, or the way you cleaned the house, or the co-workers you shared laughs with at the office party, or your decision to go back to school. But it was about one person carefully, intentionally, and sometimes forcefully manipulating another person into bending to his or her will.
Just the same, Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) does not start with physical violence. That is NOT how this thing works! Think about it for a minute. You are on your first date, and after a lovely evening at your favorite restaurant, the car door opens, and you slide gleefully in the passenger seat. Suddenly, you are slapped across the face and accused of flirting with the waiter as he took your dessert order. Would you go on a second date? Of course, you will not!
Abuse begins with subtle things such as disregarding your feelings, withholding affection, gaslighting, controlling what you do, who you see, where you go, and masking jealousy for love. Little things that are overlooked and labeled as love and concern can eventually turn into violent behavior. At the very minimum, it’s emotional abuse. And if it never becomes violent, which I’ve heard many times – he’s never hit me – that does not mean it’s not abuse.
None of this, by the way, is about you or your fault.
Just remember – Everyone deserves to have a loving, healthy relationship based upon mutual respect, flexibility, and trust. You are not at fault for someone else’s violent and abusive behavior. Again – It is NEVER about you. It was not your fault.
Say Your Name!