Abusers abuse for power. I’m sorry if you feel like that is an oversimplification but power is the ultimate reason. Some abusers were raised getting hit, some were raised in a culture where violence is normal, others just get violent in frustration. But if you strip it all away, abuse ( verbal/emotional, financial and physical) is about power.
What kind of power?
Jacobson and Gottman did a research study on abusive husbands and learned a great deal about heterosexual relationships that involve violence. They wrote a really good book about their research, “When Men Batter Women.” In their book they talk about two different kinds of batters; Pitbulls and Cobras.
Pitbulls are often charming and often do not abuse or become violent with people outside the home. They believe that they are at risk of abandonment and they will lash out when they are afraid the object of their affection plans to leave them. They will control, manipulate and confuse the person they swear to love the most. They will also even deny the abuse. This gaslighting can often cause their love object (or victim) to believe she crazy.
Cobras are in need of independence. They want to do what they want, when they want the way they want. If that is not possible, they can become violent. Cobras are often violent outside of the home and typically have criminal records.
I bet you're wondering what the appeal is... Well, neither pitbulls or cobras start hitting o the first date. It starts slowly. The pitbull may convince his partner that he wants to be protective of her and that he is just to head over heals in love, it can't be helped. The cobra is a master manipulator and con artist. He will tell the woman exactly what she wants to hear, then when she is convinced that he shares the same dreams she does, he will be free to begin the abuse.
How they are the same...
While their motivations for violence may be different, abusers do have some things in common.
- They are impulsive and it is often difficult to predict what will cause the violence. This can leave their family walking on eggshells around them wondering what they will do next.
- Once the abuser has started their attack, the is often no way to end it early. While the instinct to run away is a good one, there is research to suggest it can cause the violence to escalate. *This is not a reason to accept it.
- Drugs and/or alcohol are often around. This does NOT excuse the behavior. It is thought to lower inhibitions and an abuser may even drink or use drugs so that they can blame the chemicals later for their bad behavior.
No one deserves to be abused. Abuse is not acceptable. NIf you or someone you know is being assaulted by a partner or family member you can call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 800.799.7233 or visit their website. Keep in mind that your online use can be monitored so consider using a different computer or phone to look up local resources.
As always, I’m here. If you are ready to live your best life, call me and let’s get started!