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Domestic abuse impacts both victim and abuser

Domestic+Abuse+-+Though+the+incidence+of+Domestic+abuse+has+been+decreasing+steadily+over+the+years%2C+it+is+still+a+very+prominent+issue.
Domestic Abuse - Though the incidence of Domestic abuse has been decreasing steadily over the years, it is still a very prominent issue.

Domestic Abuse - Though the incidence of Domestic abuse has been decreasing steadily over the years, it is still a very prominent issue.

Domestic Abuse - Though the incidence of Domestic abuse has been decreasing steadily over the years, it is still a very prominent issue.

by Jarah Cotton, Staff Writer

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According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 7 adult males and 1 in 4 adult females in the United States have been subjected to extreme physical violence by an intimate partner.

The most grievous effects of domestic abuse, however, are psychological. Victims are left with critically low self-esteem and unnaturally high anxiety levels; anomalous alterations to their psyche that disrupt their ability to perform daily tasks.

“Domestic abuse transforms capable, competent, and independent women,” Licensed Psychologist Anneli Riisma said.  “Their self-esteem plummets and their functionality decreases as well.”

Similarly, those capable of remorselessly abusing someone close to them exhibit certain characteristics. Abusers are narcissists who see violence as an acceptable means of communication. Their victims are deserving of their treatments in their eyes, and they usually blame others for their actions.

“Abusers mentally destabilize victims, and occasionally leave them after they’ve inflicted serious psychological damage.” Riisma said.

Often times, however, abusers cannot fathom leaving their partners because they are just as dependent on their partners as they have worked to make their partners on them. A review study conducted by Robert Bornstein of Adelphi University indicates that people emotionally dependent upon their partners are more likely to become abusive.

Bornstein’s study indicates that emotionally dependent individuals, particularly males, can be intensly jealous and possessive in relationships. They also have difficulty controlling their anger when their partner dopes not abide by their requests, which leads to physical violence.

In other cases, abusers are simply mimicking behaviors they have seen from role models.

“They have seen those types of attitudes in their own home and were taught that that is an acceptable way to handle and respond to those situations,” psychology teacher Barbara Beyke said.

Abusers are typically extremely charming and well-liked, a ruse that both draws victims in and helps them to keep them isolated. People do not believe the victims initial complaints and accusations because the abusers are seen as so agreeable and nice to outsiders.

Abusers slowly begin the process of controlling their victims, and subtly increase the severity of their abusive acts so that the victim does not realize that what has been happening to them until they are so isolated and dependent that they feel as though they have no way to escape.

“It’s called the boiling frog effect,” Riisma said. “If you were to boil a frog alive, you could not just throw them into a pit of boiling water or they would jump out of the pot. If you gradually increase the temperature to boil, however, you could boil the frog alive before they ever recognized that they were in danger.”

Domestic violence is cyclical in nature. Tensions build, usually due to an argument or act of disobedience, then the actual act of violence occurs, followed by the honeymoon phase, during which the abuser expresses his remorse for his actions.

The honeymoon phase is, in itself another form of psychological abuse. They manipulate the victim into believing that they are responsible for the abusers actions, that they made the abusers hurt them by disobeying. They convince victims that they love them and are the only ones that could do so, which deters the victims from leaving.

Victims who are able to escape this cycle need support and patience from loved ones. It is important that they are reminded that they are not alone.

“The loved ones of abuse victims need to remember that they are not in the victim’s shoes,” Riisma said. “It is important that they do not leave the victims isolated, but instead help them remember that they are loved.”

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The student news site of McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Georgia
Domestic abuse impacts both victim and abuser