The Domestic Violence Cycle – 3 Ways the Abuser Manipulates
Early this year talk show host Oprah Winfrey featured an episode on the domestic violence cycle. She interviewed one gentleman who told her what it was like when he was physically assaulting his wife, “It made me feel invincible.”
The first word that comes to mind is frightening. The fact that hurting the one he allegedly loves made him feel invincible is a mind-boggling concept. But so it goes with many abusive spouses. The whole relationship is about power and control. It not only manifests itself with physical and verbal abuse but it feeds into one of the central components of this type of relationship. Manipulation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calculates that over five million people each year become victims of domestic violence. Out of those over four million are women. Yet in spite of that an overwhelming number of the victims refuse to leave their abuser. It seems obvious that they should but they don’t.
All kinds of theories are floated about as to the reason the domestic violence cycle continues. Unfortunately many tend to lay the burden on the victim. Specifically what they should or shouldn’t do. Too often what the abuser is doing to make sure the victim stays exactly where they are goes unaddressed.
1. The Plea
They are so sorry that they pushed the victim down the stairs or beat them until they loss consciousness. They promise on a stack of bibles that they will never ever do it again and beg for forgiveness. And then they may add the extra touches. Tears, intense remorse and they would feel so bad if the victim left them that they might commit suicide.
No way someone would fall for that especially if it happened previously, right? Wrong. The victim is in the middle of a metal and emotional cyclone. Up is down, bad is good and the only thing that makes sense to them is the fact they really do love the person who is asking to be forgiven. So over and over again regardless of how many times it happens they always wind up accepting the plea.
2. The Buttons
It is along the lines of the plea except it does not necessarily include tears or remorse. It does however contain the emotional triggers that can send the victim back on that roller coaster (not like they ever got off of it) and keep control; firmly in the hands of the abuser.
A quiet word or a gentle touch can do the trick. Take that romantic vacation that the victim has always wanted. Anything will do as long as it keeps pulling on those emotional strings. In a way it’s like saying forget all the bad stuff that happened before and just concentrate on the love being shown at this very moment.
3. The Harm
This is unadulterated manipulation on full display. When the victim decides they have had enough of this insanity and attempt to leave the relationship, their risk factor increases about 75%.
The abuser does not sugarcoat it. They tell the victim point blank what will happen to them. They also paint a frightening and constant picture letting them know there is no way out except feet first. After a steady diet of abuse you can believe this one gets the victim’s complete attention.
There are all kinds of tricks but the end goal to the domestic violence cycle remains the same. Keep the victim exactly where they are and exercise complete and total control of the relationship. As the statistics show, it works.