I experienced domestic violence to an extreme only recently in my life. The man was arrested on multiple counts and I now have an order of protection which he has violated. He got some jail time, but not much considering the damage he did to me, my animals, and my life in general.
Domestic Violence comes at you like an invisible ton of bricks. The men (and women – although rare) who perpetrate this crime have a common set of characteristics. Obviously, no one gets into an abusive relationship because they want to. I don’t even believe that most victims of domestic violence “don’t know better” or somehow “attract” these relationships. A lot of smart, educated, beautiful strong, independent, wonderful women get mixed up in abusive relationships at least once in their lives. I’ve been surprised so many times by women who have told me, under their breath “That happened to me, too.” How very sad.
It is a crime that goes unreported all too often. It is a crime that erodes the victims social network, self esteem, resources, home, and life… sometimes gradually, other times quickly. No woman (or man) wants the world to see them as a victim of domestic violence. There is a stigma surrounding it, somehow the victim ends up being blamed for their own suffering at the hands of their abuser. Whether society and the system wants to admit it or not, that is the way it is.
I can’t tell you how many times I was asked, “didn’t you know he was like that before you married him?” “What did you do to make him do what he did?” “Why did you wait to get out?”
Of course I didn’t know he was a sadistic abusive man when I married him
I didn’t do anything to him to “antagonize” the abuse
I didn’t get out earlier because I was afraid he would kill me
I didn’t get out earlier because I was prevented physically from leaving many times
I didn’t get out earlier because I was fearful of what he would do to my animals and home
Most abusive men (people) are sociopaths. They don’t experience feelings the way normal people do. They are not hindered by a conscience. They learn to imitate emotions and manipulate people to get what they want. They have poor impulse control and major control issues. Their motivating factors in life are:
control Over anything and everything in their life. All things are there for their amusement and disposal. Anything that deviates from their arena of control enrages them. They will not tolerate the loss of control quietly or peacefully.feeling anything
– as sociopaths, this requires drastic situations to elicit a sensation they can call a feeling. This is otherwise known as a need for stimulation. Promiscuity, gambling, physical punishment, reckless driving, etc are all behaviors which suit this need.
below is in part from http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html, all about Sociopaths:
- Incapacity for Love
- Lack of Empathy
- Irresponsible and unreliable
- Superficial Charm
- cunning and Manipulative
- pathological lying
- Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them
- Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them
- seeks out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired
- Conventional appearance
- Goal of enslavement of their victim(s)
- Exercises despotic control over every aspect of the victim’s life
- Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim’s affirmation (respect, gratitude and love)
- Ultimate goal is the creation of a willing victim
- Incapable of real human attachment to another
- Unable to feel remorse or guilt
- Extreme narcissism and grandiose
- May state readily that their goal is to rule the world, or they want to be a “Rock Star” or worshiped celebrity.
For a psychopath, a romantic relationship is just another opportunity to find a trusting partner who will buy into the lies. It’s primarily why a psychopath rarely stays in a relationship for the long term, and often is involved with three or four partners at once,...To a psychopath, everything about a relationship is a game…” The ”...movie ‘Sliding Doors’...” illustrates this point. In the film, the main character comes home early after just having been fired from her job. Only moments ago, her boyfriend has let another woman out the front door. But in a matter of minutes he is the attentive and concerned boyfriend, taking her out to dinner and devoting the entire night to comforting her. All the while he’s planning to leave the next day on a trip with the other woman.
The lover displays typical psychopathic characteristics because he falsely displays deep emotion toward the relationship, ...... In reality, he’s less concerned with his woman’s depression than with making sure she’s clueless about the other woman’s existence. In the romance department, psychopaths have an ability to gain your affection quickly, disarming you with words, intriguing you with grandiose plans. If they cheat you’ll forgive them, and one day when they’ve gone too far,...” they will try to make a quick escape before being arrested and having to deal with the consequences of their behavior. ”...By then they’ll have a new player for their game….”
”...how do we prevent ourselves from becoming close friends or getting into a relationship with a psychopath? It’s really almost impossible, say Seto and Willson. Unfortunately, laments Seto, one way is to become more suspicious and less trusting of others. Our tendency is to forgive when we catch a loved one in a lie. “Psychopaths play on this fact,” he says. “However, I’m certainly not advocating a world where if someone lies once or twice, you never speak to them again.” What you can do is look at how often someone lies and how they react when caught. Psychopaths will lie over and over again, and where other people would sincerely apologize, a psychopath may apologize but won’t stop.
Psychopaths don’t seek therapy willingly, says Seto. Rather, they’re pushed into it by a desperate relative or by a court order. To a psychopath, a therapist is just one more person who must be conned, and the psychopath plays the part right until the therapist is convinced of his or her ‘rehabilitation.’
Even though we can’t treat psychopaths effectively with therapy, it doesn’t mean we can’t protect ourselves, writes Hare. Willson agrees, citing the most important factor in keeping psychopaths at bay is to know your vulnerabilities. We need to “realize our own potential and maximize our strengths” so that our insecurities don’t overcome us. Because, she says, a psychopath is a chameleon who becomes “an image of what you haven’t done for yourself.” Over time, she says, “their appearance of perfection will begin to crack,” but by that time you will have been emotionally and perhaps financially scathed. There comes a time when you realize there’s no point in searching for answers; the only thing is to move on.
Taken in part from MW – By Caroline Konrad – September 1999
If you are afraid of your partner, listen to your inner voice and GET OUT
Tell SOMEBODY Secrecy keeps you enslaved. I didn’t tell anyone what was happening to me until the week he was arrested. The abuser often snows your friends and family. They may have no idea. (If you’re even still in contact with them) I was cut off from everyone except my parents.
do not use your computer for personal correspondence or research Perpetrators of domestic violence often install spyware on your computer. I discovered my husband’s spyware on my computer 3 months after my husband had been arrested. It had been installed about 9 months earlier!
If you have been hurt by your partner, document your injuries (at least). Ideally, report the abuse to police, have him arrested, and get an order of protection.
report all violations of your order of protection. NEVER SPEAK TO THE ABUSER AGAIN. You should change your locks and get an unlisted number.
When you get an emergency order of protection, write down EVERY incident of abuse in as much detail as you can. Do not let the advocate rush you. Take your time. Use as much paper as you need.
Request financial compensation from your victimizer in your emergency order of protection This is very important! I was so stressed out and rushed through the whole process I didn’t even know this could be ordered by the judge when my emergency OOP was granted. It is usually a standard part of the form that can be checked off. Because I was not aware of this, my husband has not paid for any damages or provided ANY financial support since his arrest. He perpetrated over 100K of damages to my home and personal property.
Go the the emergency room and be thoroughly examined to document all your injuries. This will assist in prosecution. Often all the injuries will be hidden under your clothes because the abuser hits you were it will not show. The doctors can document your injuries. I had so many bruises all over my body that the doctors were horrified. You would never have known if you saw me walking down the street. I was also severely dehydrated and didn’t know it.
Stay at a shelter if you can They will protect your privacy, give you moral support, advocate for you, and offer therapy. Take your children with you.
The most dangerous time for a woman (or man) in an abusive relationship is when s/he is trying to leave
If you are in an abusive relationship, have an emergency bag packed and keep it at a friend or neighbors Don’t let the abuser know. Include important papers, id’s, some money (if you can), some photos, documentation of your abuse (hopefully a journal, perhaps in your own personal shorthand which he will not understand or question) or whatever else you might need if you had to make a quick escape.
If you own a home and your property was destroyed by your abuser, report it to your insurance company You are covered to replace your damaged property under “criminal mischief” or “criminal damage to property”. The insurance company will tell you “NO” 3 times (standard operating procedure.) Keep in mind you will have to talk about what happened to you, so be prepared and be strong if you want to recoup your losses.
Document all your damaged property and injuries with photos (use your cell phone if you have to) Save all your receipts and keep your photos safe. You will need this documentation to file a claim and prove to the insurance company of what you had before he destroyed it.
Find a temporary place for your animals to stay, specially when you are preparing to leave. I learned this the hard way. My husband poisoned my dogs the day he was arrested.
Your cell phone will dial 911, even if you don’t have service or the sim card is removed. My husband didn’t know this the day he was arrested! He broke all my phones and removed the sim card, but I was still able to reach 911 with a broken phone after 3 attempts.
Write down The National Domestic Violence Hotline number, and USE IT:
I will add more as I think of it. Sorry this is so long. I wish I had known these things when I was trying to get out. I hope this can help at least one woman.
You are not alone. You matter. You are loved. You are here for a reason. You deserve to live terror free. You have a right to be here.