Every 15 seconds a woman in the U.S. is a victim of domestic violence. Statistics show that 60 percent of men who abuse women also abuse children. Women abusing men is on the rise. There are three types of abuse: physical, sexual and verbal abuse. Abuse is a pattern, there is never a last time.
How do you know if you are in an abusive relationship? The behavioral characteristics of a batterer are: isolates you from friends and family, overly possessive, intimidates you, controls finances, discounts your accomplishments, blaming, impulsive, intolerant, humiliates, checks up on your whereabouts, displaces anger on child or pet, never is wrong, and overly dependent on you.
The cycle of violence includes three phases. Phase 1:
Tension building.Phase 2:
The honeymoon/remorse phase.
The cycle repeats itself with the violence increasing. Without long term counseling, batterers lack the understanding or the emotional resources to change, no matter what they tell you. You and your children are in danger. Studies show that children exposed to domestic violence suffer the same emotional symptoms similar to combat soldiers.
Should you consider leaving, you must prepare a comprehensive safety plan. What to have: phone numbers, shelter numbers, secret code words for you and the children, rehearse the plan to leave the house, have four destinations to go to, remove weapons from the home, keys, clothes, cash, medicine, important papers for you and children, insurance papers, custody orders, restraining orders, divorce papers, address book, personal affects, care for pet, open a bank account and get a job.
Do not tell your spouse where you are under any circumstances. You are most at risk when leaving an abusive relationship. Call the National Resource Center for Domestic Violence 1-800-537-2238. Clare Heicklen is a marriage family therapist with an M.A. in clinical psychology. She has worked in private practice in adult, child and family therapy and is a member of the American Associationf or Marriage and Family Therapy. She can be reached at email@example.com .