Looking historically and confirming our views with countless studies, we concluded that men are more physically aggressive than women (e.g., Vlašić and Ivanišević, 2017; Larsen and Buss, 2008). Men are the most common perpetrators of violent murders and aggravated robberies.
Violence against women exists in all cultures. The statistics are devastating. But it is even more shocking when we know that these are REPORTED cases while the number of unreported cases is even 10 times higher! There are various reasons why violence remains unreported. Among them are fear of the perpetrator for himself and the person the victim loves, feelings of guilt and responsibility, shame, misunderstanding encountered by the victim, feelings of helplessness, etc.
WHO IS A BULLY?
The most important thing you need to know about an abuser is that he acts like a completely ordinary, normal person. There is generally no indication that he is an abuser. Every abuser believes he has the right to control a woman. His need for control is far greater than his capacity for love. Another fact is that the abuser does not forget the abuse. He just denies it. It diminishes the impact and effect of his abuse. They lead us to think that we are exaggerating by downplaying the importance of abuse. They are manipulators and will lead us to believe what he says and to feel what he wants. Above all, the abuser blames the victim for the abuse! He can also blame alcohol, drugs, parents, work, anything. They just don’t blame themselves for their behavior. They can even present the victim woman as crazy or even convince her that she is actually abusing him or that she is intentionally making a victim of herself.
The abusers believe that anger causes violence, that women are manipulative, that a woman will take control of him if he does not control her. They also believe that breaking things is not violence but emptying but also that sometimes they have no choice but to be violent. Abusers also believe that women want male dominance, and so on.
If someone threatens to kill you, yourself, your family, accept the fact that if he is desperate enough, he could make his threat come true !!
If he fantasizes or jokes about killing himself, you, or a family member, take it seriously. The more often he thinks or talks about it, the greater the chance that he will do so.
If he also drinks or uses drugs in addition to this, it further increases the chances that he will commit murder!
If he becomes acutely depressed to the point where he feels there is no point in living, watch out!
If he is temperamental and knows how to get angry, that is another warning sign.
Does he have a weapon? Did he ever threaten to use it? Access to a weapon in an alcoholic or drugged state or simply in a fit of rage can be fatal!
An obsessively jealous or controlling person who sees you as their property will not easily leave you alone. He/she will harass you, stalk you and threaten you even after you leave him.
Cruelty to animals, brothers and sisters gives us an indication that this is a person who is okay to be cruel to those weaker than himself and that it is justified to abuse them. That includes you!
If you find yourself in any of the previous points, take it as a danger and react immediately by asking for help !!
Abusers shout, break, throw things, call you derogatory names, make you feel ugly and useless, distance you from friends, obstruct you at work – they don’t want to work, never admit it’s wrong, turn children against you or them uses him to control you, never takes care of children, controls money, threatens you to achieve what he wants, seduces your sisters, friends …, expects you to take responsibility for his happiness and well-being.
DID YOU RECOGNIZE YOURSELF? NOW WHAT?
First of all, you need to know that YOU ARE NOT GUILTY OF ABUSE! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! A man doesn’t beat a woman because she’s smart, successful, he doesn’t beat her because she’s an alpha woman. He who tells you this does not understand the phenomenon of abuse. The abuser is to blame for the abuse, not the victim.
If the abuser grew up watching the abuse in his family, we may be able to understand his behavior, but we cannot justify or accept it. An abuser is an adult who knows the law, but also social norms. He beats you, and does he beat his boss? Certainly not. It only affects you or the children.
Do not oppose the bully, do not clash. Your goal is to get out of such a relationship, not to overpower the bully. Seek help, protection, security. You have nothing to be ashamed of. The only person to be ashamed of is the bully, and he certainly doesn’t feel ashamed – why would you feel that way ?!
If you have children, be especially determined to seek protection because if they may not have been victims so far, at some point they will most likely become. You have a responsibility and an obligation to protect your children and provide them with security. When you allow yourself to live with an abuser, teach children that abuse is normal and should be endured at all costs. Are these the values you want to pass on to your children?
Do not believe the bully will change. You can’t change him, you can only change yourself. In such dangerous, crisis life situations, your reaction is crucial. Be that woman who didn’t let anyone step on her, kick her, punch her, beat her. Be a woman who did not allow herself to be a victim. The life and health of every living man are very valuable. Do not play with such wealth. Be important enough to yourself and your children to decide to take care of your safety.
Sometimes giving a person a second chance means giving him an extra bullet for a gun just because they missed you the first time!
Andrea Vlašić, psychologist – clinical hypnotherapist & CBT psychotherapist IE
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