Every couple has disagreements, and some arguments may grow heated, but there is a line between a normal argument and domestic violence. Understanding the difference can help you to recognize an unsafe situation. Learn how to recognize the signs of domestic violence.
Threats or Use of Force
The clearest and most dangerous sign of domestic violence is the use of force. Force may be used to push a victim into submission, and even threats of violence can be effective. Violence or threats of violence don't have to be directed at the person the abuser is trying to control. Threats against be directed against children, other family members, or pets to gain submission. Violence includes:
- Pushing or shoving
- Slapping or open-handed strikes
- Punching or closed-fisted strikes
- Holding down the victim
- Restraining the victim or preventing them from leaving
- Holding the victim to make demands
The abusive partner may defend themselves or excuse their behavior by claiming it would only happen once, it was an emotional outburst, or that “everyone talks like that.”
Breaking or Threatening to Break Personal Belongings
Many abusers will threaten or destroy personal possessions of the victim. They may punish the victim by harming sentimental or important belongings. Abusers may also destroy objects to incite fear and submission.
Verbal Abuse or Name-Calling
Cruel or hurtful words can easily be said in the heat of a fight, but they also can be a sign of abuse. A partner who relies on verbal abuse during fights can use their words to hurt their victim and gain control. Name-calling, insults, cursing, degrading language, or putting down the victim’s looks, personality, or achievements are examples of verbal abuse.
Blames Others for Their Own Problems & Emotions
An abuser may blame their victim or others for their own shortcomings or their emotions. Something or someone may always be cited as an obstacle for the abuser, and is preventing them from achieving what they want or need to do. Abusers may also insist that their feelings are not their own fault. Victims may hear “You make me feel this way.” or “You’re hurting me by not doing what I want.”
It is possible that an abuser may try to separate their victims from outside support and resources. They may accuse the victim’s friends and family of being troublemakers or trying to turn the victim against them. They may block the victim’s access to a vehicle, work, money or credit cards, or a phone.
Many abusers equate jealousy with love, and will subject the victim to questions about who the victim talks to, accuse the victim of flirting, or behave poorly when the victim spends time with other people. Abusers may make frequent phone calls to the victim, check in on them unexpectedly, refuse to allow the victim to work or hold a job, install spy apps or tracking devices on their computer, phone, or vehicle, and ask friends to keep an eye on the victim’s whereabouts.
What Are the Differences Between Fights and Abuse?
There are many factors that separate fights and abuse, but the primary distinction is control. A normal disagreement shouldn’t turn into a power struggle. If one partner is using actions to force the other partner to conform to their beliefs and gain control, the situation can be abusive. An abusive person may try to take control of the argument by threatening violence or by being violent. They also may try to block the other person from participating in the discussion by belittling them.
Continuing and repetitive behaviors are also an indicator of abuse. Anyone can lose their temper and say something hurtful during a single incident, but the repetition of these behaviors indicate an abusive environment. If a partner relies on abusive behaviors as a way to approach every argument, they are being abusive towards their partner.
Protect Yourself with Help From Dutchess County Family Law Attorneys – (845) 605-4330
If you are in an abusive relationship, help is available. Our team at the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC can help you file for a restraining order to provide you with relief from domestic violence. We can also help you dispute an order that has been wrongfully brought against you. Our Dutchess County family lawyers are also well-versed in divorce law and we are ready to take on even the most complex cases. You deserve to feel safe and happy, and our attorneys are ready to help you through every step of your case. Find out how we can support you with an initial consultation.
Contact our firm today by calling (845) 605-4330.