Domestic violence, also known as intimate partner abuse, is any maladaptive behavioral pattern perpetuated by one partner in a relationship to intimidate, control, humiliate or manipulate the other. It can take many forms, leaving victims emotionally and physically traumatized.
Domestic violence is a national crisis that deserves more attention and understanding. There are many myths around what causes people to hurt their partners. Here is the truth behind some of the most widely believed misconceptions.
Myth: Domestic Violence Is Rare
Fact: According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, this issue is so widespread in the U.S. that more than 10 million adults experience harm from their partner every year.
Myth: Domestic Violence Victims Are Usually Low-Income Women
Fact: Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, regardless of age, race, gender identity, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status. CDC data suggest that 23.2% of women and 13.9% of men have experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner during their lifetimes.
Myth: People Can Leave an Abusive Situation Anytime
Fact: The most dangerous time in any relationship involving domestic violence is when the victim tries to leave. Often, the decision to get away from an abuser involves many complex factors, especially when children are involved. Threats of harm keep many people trapped in abusive relationships. Some abusers rely on techniques like gaslighting to isolate their victims from friends and family and instill a sense of self-doubt that may make them question whether they can successfully live without their partner.
Myth: Domestic Violence Is Only Physical
Fact: There are many ways for one partner in a relationship to abuse the other. These harmful behaviors can include stalking, bullying, emotional manipulation, belittling, threatening, harassment and financial control.
Myth: Abusers Have Problems With Impulse Control
Fact: People who commit any form of domestic abuse are highly aware of what they are doing and act deliberately. For example, someone who hits their partner may be careful to do so in a way that won’t leave visible bruises. An abuser might also go to great lengths to ensure the relationship looks healthy and well-adjusted to outside observers, which can make it more difficult for their victim to get help from family and friends.
Myth: Victims Encourage Their Abusers
Fact: There’s no evidence that domestic violence victims share any specific personality traits that make them inclined to seek abusive relationships. The abuser is always responsible for their harmful behavior and the consequences that result, and it is never the victim’s fault.
Myth: Domestic Abuse Is a Private Family Issue
Fact: Besides the long-term physical and psychological impact on those who experience it, intimate partner abuse can have many societal implications, including medical and legal fees.
Myth: Substance Abuse Causes Domestic Violence
Fact: While abusers may blame their actions on being intoxicated, that is only an excuse. After all, many people who use alcohol or drugs do not harm their partners. However, some victims of domestic violence may start drinking or using drugs to numb the pain, thus leading to a worsening substance use disorder.
Transform Your Life at Cumberland Heights
You deserve to have a wholesome, well-adjusted and mutually beneficial intimate relationship. If your partner is harming you, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE as soon as possible. Their advocates will advise you on what steps to take to get yourself to safety.
At Cumberland Heights, our compassionate team will create a personalized plan for your journey toward substance use recovery. We offer gender-specific treatment and 12-step immersion to put you on a path to health and happiness. We encourage you to ask for help today.