One of the things that irritates those of us in the domestic violence prevention and intervention work is when we hear reporters state on the news that someone was arrested and/or murdered in a domestic violence dispute. There is no such thing as a domestic violence dispute. The definition of dispute is a disagreement, argument, or debate. However, in domestic violence relationship, there is power and control by an abuser over a victim creating a power imbalance that doesn’t allow for a “disagreement, argument or debate” because the perpetrator always has to “win” so manipulates it to appear to be a “disagreement, argument or debate” when really they are using those tools to “set up” their victim into thinking they have a chance of equal say in something when in reality the victim doesn’t. This manipulation is a tool that keeps victims from seeing the truth about the power imbalance.
Some ways to know if you have power imbalance in your relationship are:
1. You live in his/her world more than in an “our” world
2. You don’t win arguments but instead lose and are blamed for the argument
3. You are always told it is your fault for things going wrong
4. You are made to feel inferior mentally, emotionally and physically
5. The perpetrator is “always” right and takes no responsibility in anything except being “the best” or “right” or “smartest”
6. You are treated like an owned “object” and not a person
7. Perpetrators states their anger is justified but your anger is used against you as a weakness
8. You are gaslighted
9. You are called names and put down more often than made to feel good
10. You are not given “unconditional, positive, regard” or “limitless good for how we view the other” in the relationship which is the definition of what love is.
11. You are lied to and told you are crazy
12. You feel “stuck” or “hostage” or “trapped” in the relationship
13. You betray your “gut” and believe the barrage of lies in order to stay safe
14. You keep hoping your partner will change and love you like in the beginning of the relationship
15. Your partner gets angry, verbally (or physically, emotionally, etc.) abuses you/children, then “grooms” you by stating “had a bad day” or “you don’t understand their stress” or makes other excuses in hopes you will overlook this “cycle” and not have any expectation except that YOU bend and change to their needs and overlook your own.
Batterers for the most part don’t seek out treatment on their own. Batterers usually do not suffer any psychological or emotional pain from their actions and don’t believe there’s anything about themselves that needs fixing. They blame, justify, minimize their actions, attitudes and beliefs and see themselves as superior to everyone around them. Because they have experienced very little consequences for their negative predatorial power and control behaviors, that attitude is reinforced over and over. Even when faced with a court case, more likely than not, they manipulate the judge, attorneys, and other professionals associated with the case that they are the victim of the abuse and that the true victim is really the perpetrator. This seems to work since domestic violence is the only crime where a victim has to prove he/she is a victim. The entire court system for family court is set up to collude with a batterer creating another
Power and Control driven individuals cause power imbalance. If you think you are in a relationship with one of these individuals, seek support and assistance immediately. Your very life may be in danger.