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Eunoia

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If someone physically hits you in a relationships and tends to lose his temper, but then the couple seperates for a certain amount of time, what happens then? Will that element of violence always remain a part of the person or the relationship b/c it is based on different levels of power in the 1st place? Say, they get back together, could it be that the earlier physical violence 'disappears' but now has been transformed into hostile verbal violence? Is there ever really a way "out" of this cycle? Btw, this is all assuming that neither partner persued therapy for the abuse.
 

David Baxter

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If nothing else changes, you will tend to see a recreation of the same dynamics, whether in that relationship or in relationships with other people.

On the other hand, if the angry/aggressive partner seeks treatment and is genuinely motivated to and committed to change, it is certainly very possible that s/he will be successful.
 

comfortzone

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Eunoia,

In addition to what David said, without the person who has been violent (be it physical or emotional) receiving therapy, there is not likely for him to change his behaviors. They can promise you the moon but I would not suggest reuniting until he has attended regular therapy for a considerable amount of time.
 

ThatLady

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I agree wholeheartedly with David. If no action has been taken, on the abuser's part, to deal with his/her problems proactively, the same dynamics will be set up in any new relationship (or in the reinitiation of previous relationships). I'd be awfully careful about resuming any relationship with an untreated abuser.
 

Eunoia

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I'm not actually in this relationship, I was only reflecting on past (?)relationships in my family... what I was trying to say is that I'm wondering even if the physical abuse is no longer a part of this relationship, could it be that it has been replaced w/ emotional abuse? I guess by virtue of not having "dealt" w/ the abuse in the 1st place as you have suggested? Also, if physical violence does occur but very sporadically or is only threatened, is this still abuse??? I know this should seem obvious, but it's not...
 

comfortzone

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Here is a definition of domestic violence:

"the physical, sexual, and/or psychological abuse to an individual perpetrated by a current or former intimate partner. While this term is gender-neutral, women are more likely to experience physical injuries and incur psychological consequences of intimate partner abuse." Threatening abuse is psychological abuse.

Examples of domestic violence are:

emotional abuse through mind games, name-calling, or put-downs
isolation from family or friends
economic abuse by withholding money or being prevented from getting or holding a job
actual or threatened physical harm
sexual assault
stalking
intimidation

The violence can be criminal and includes physical assault (hitting, pushing, shoving, etc.), sexual abuse (unwanted, forced sexual activity), and stalking. Although emotional, psychological and financial abuse are not criminal behaviors, they are forms of domestic violence and can lead to criminal abuse.

The violence takes many forms and can happen all the time or once in a while
 

David Baxter

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The threat of physical violence, especially when there has been previous physical violence, is definitely an abusive act.
 
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I think the person would have to admit to even having a problem before there is hope for change.
 

Eunoia

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As much as I agree (that the person would have to 1st and foremost admit that there's a problem) this won't happen. It's always about "well, you made me mad enough to react this way". If it's not physical violence it's threatening something, be it in relation to $ or relationships or a plan... consequences of some sort I guess. There's definitely name calling, there's definitely put downs. Instead of reacting to this, it's become "normal", so it's just easier to "let it roll off of you" then to confront it and make the other person even more angry. I used to think this is giving in and being weak, but I was told it is being "diplomatic". Do you agree???
 

David Baxter

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If that other person is taking ownership of the problem and trying to do something about it, then letting some behaviors go may be helpful and yes, "diplomatic".

Otherwise, it seems to me it's more like allowing that person to continue to blame you for his/her problem. That doesn't sound good for either of you.
 

comfortzone

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Doing nothing is as good as doing it to yourself. I would consider leaving an individual who is abusive and unwilling to change. Staying in an unhealthy relationship is not necessary. Loving them will not change them. They have to WANT to change. As David said, "taking ownership of the problem." No one deserves being abused. Absolutely no one.
 
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comfortzone said:
Doing nothing is as good as doing it to yourself. I would consider leaving an individual who is abusive and unwilling to change. Staying in an unhealthy relationship is not necessary. Loving them will not change them. They have to WANT to change. As David said, "taking ownership of the problem." No one deserves being abused. Absolutely no one.

But sometimes you've taken vows with someone to be with them forever and if there's love there too then it just isn't as easy as what it looks like to someone else, to leave. And sometimes you've tried to leave, called the police and had them not show up at all or show up the next day and you think to yourself that it's a sign that this relationship is meant to be and maybe if you hang in there long enough there is hope for change. And you can't justify giving up on someone who has many GOOD qualities. Maybe you can see sometimes that someone does have potential to change.

I guess in that situation one has no right to complain about what happens because one chooses to stay. Even if there don't seem to be any other choices. Or sometimes it's confusing. But it's hard to just give up on someone.

And isn't there always two sides to a story? And I think it's easy to look at someone's situation and see what they should do, but so very hard when you are actually in that situation to do it.
 

comfortzone

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Janet,

You are not giving up on a person who is violent. You may love the person who you married but they have become someone else when they hurt you with words or deeds. I am not saying there is not any hope for change but the change can ONLY happen when the violent person receives therapy. I would recommend therapy for no less than 2 years for someone who is violent (physically or psychologically). There are always choices as no one has to stay in a relationship where their prince charming has now become like the mugger in the dark alley. Yes, there are two sides to any story. BUT when someone is hurting another with violent words and actions...it is important to take the steps to remove oneself from that situation. Typically the more psychological abuse, the more likely the physical violence will escalate. I realize that it is not easy to abandon a relationship that you want so much to succeed...but the relationship's success cannot happen if you are dead or beaten so badly that you are hospitalized. I have witnessed hundreds of women think they can be different or try to pacify their abusive husband but only to end up in the emergency room or sometimes in a more permanent placement. The woman is not to blame for the abusiveness of her husband/boyfriend. Blame and shame is one way to have power and control over others. There are women's shelters across the country. Here is the hotline: 1-800-799-7233. Help is available 24 hours a day.
 

ThatLady

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>>It's always about "well, you made me mad enough to react this way".<<

That's nothing more than a cop-out. Nobody can MAKE one person be cruel to another person. The abuser is making the choice to abuse. Nobody is forcing him/her to make that choice. To blame it on someone else just serves as proof that the abuser is not owning his/her own problem.
 

Eunoia

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I agree that you should "stand up for yourself" is someone is being abusive in one way or another... and that it's not okay to let someone be abusive. I know there are ways out. And that the abuse is likely to continue if nothing is done about it. But I think that sometimes people find themselves in relationships that last for a very long time, and "abuse" either never enters people's minds or if it does, it is a "minimal" problem or the "least" of all the problems... again, that doesn't make it okay. But people learn to tolerate abuse, especially if it is not physical. The sum of everything is greater than its parts.... the relationship is justified in its whole rather than focusing on that one part... The reality is that there are a lot of obstacles to leaving someone in this type of relationship or any relationship for that matter. You have to be strong. You have to have resources. You have to realize that by accepting the abuse you're ultimately allowing yourself to be hurt. But if it works for both of you, then can you really still call it abuse? If you can have a 'functional' relationship otherwise?

re: Janet's post
...called the police and had them not show up at all or show up the next day and you think to yourself that it's a sign that this relationship is meant to be and maybe if you hang in there long enough there is hope for change. And you can't justify giving up on someone who has many GOOD qualities. Maybe you can see sometimes that someone does have potential to change.
it's not a "sign" that things are meant to be, it's a failure in the system. no matter how long you "hang in there" the abuse won't stop on its own, unless the abuser realizes there's a problem and starts taking responsibility for it. if it works for him, why should he stop? It makes it more difficult to leave someone who also has "good qualities" but then again, almost every person has good and bad qualities- but the bad qualities are a threat to your physicaly, emotional, and mental being and are not legitimized or erased by his "good" qualities. Everyone has potential for change- that's the point. Why wait to see if things can change if it's clear they can change but won't until something is actively done about it? It doesn't mean "leaving the relationship" per say if the person being abusive is willing to go for therapy and get some help etc. Leaving the relationship would be leaving someone who is not willing to own up to his actions and change.
 

comfortzone

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The cycle of violence includes the abusive partner being contrite at which point they apologize and say they will change. The guilt and shame of being the victim can be immense at this time that the most logical and even headed person can be led to believe that if they just do one more thing or stay with the partner this one more time that things will be better. Many victims begin to believe that they deserve the abuse and have actually attacked the police when they come to intervene. The obstacles of leaving are overshadowed by the potential severity of harm...even death. Rationalization is something that both partner and victim use. One to believe that it is okay to be abusive and the other to think that there is nothing wrong and it will get better. Calling the hotline is very important as they can help women to get out of an extremely difficult situation. Some states actually have programs to relocate the woman and if necessary change their names. Here is one way to look at the perpetrators: typically they are of the emotional age of 12. They make impulsive decisions based upon very little information and jump to conclusions rapidly. They seem so nice in the beginning and then they begin to isolate you. Please if you find yourself in a similar situation call the hotline. Please remove yourself (and children) from this situation...there are people waiting to help you now. You are not alone.
 

Eunoia

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I may have not been very clear in terms of who my original question related to and my question in general... if it was confusing I didn't intend for it to be. Without adding too much detail and a lengthy explanation it's pretty much about my parents' relationship. Thanks to everyone though for trying to answer my post and all the much appreciated input- I find that sometimes it's difficult to understand the line between abuse, violence, and just something "normal" ie. a "normal" behaviour or a "normal" way to live...
 

comfortzone

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The line between domestic violence and "normal" is there is NO domestic violence in the normal way to live. There is not any violence in "normal." This line is not fine but very bold in black and white. There are many ways of being abusive whether it is by action or omission (such as withholding emotional, physical or psychological support). Anyone can change but typically it requires treatment. Please understand that if someone is abusive that it is not normal. If it were normal the abuser would be able to behave abusively in public without any recourse from the authorities. Domestic violence is a crime. In California, if a person is attempting to call for help and the batterer takes the phone away (by force or by just unplugging the phone) it then becomes a felony charge. Let's hope more states follow suit with California.
 
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mine hasnt, and rite now once again there seem to b only 1 way out, ie come back to his place again, im hating my self and loving my self for it
 

Holly

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To the-devil-within,
Personally, if you are not safe you may want to find a place that is safe. The shelters in your area should be listed in the phone book and you can call any crisis line for assistance. I hope this is helpful. Take care
 
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