What do you picture when you think of an abusive relationship? Perhaps you think of bruises or screaming matches, but what about drained bank accounts or frosty silence?
Because domestic violence isn’t frequently discussed, there are many misconceptions that circulate around it. We’re hoping to spread awareness and bust some of the following myths with this article.
Misconception # 1: Leaving the relationship should be easy
- There are many factors that may make it difficult for someone to leave an abusive relationship. These could include such things as: shared pets, children, cultural demands, financial dependency on the abuser, and the threat of worse violence should you choose to leave.
- In addition to these ties, there is also the emotionally manipulative aspect of such relationships. Abuse usually occurs after strong feelings for a partner have developed.
- “Think of someone you really care about and whose opinion you respect- if they started lashing out at you. . ., could you leave right away and never speak to them again? For most of us, the answer is no.” (Source)
Misconception #2: Abuse is always physical
- Many assume physical violence must be involved in an abusive relationship, but that is not always the case. Other forms of abuse such as emotional, financial, or digital abuse are common but often overlooked.
- Look forward to our future blog post offering an in-depth explanation of the various types of abuse.
Misconception #3: If someone needs help, they will ask for it
- Once someone realizes their relationship might be abusive, they will need support in planning for their safety. However, many people may feel ashamed, guilty, scared or isolated, and therefore hesitant to reach out for help. Make sure your friend knows that you will provide a listening ear and resources if they need them.
- Only 1 in 3 teens tell anybody about their abusive relationship (Source)
Misconception #4: Abusers are always putting their victim down
- Many abusers are charming and charismatic in most settings. The abuse doesn’t usually start until their partner has developed strong feelings. You may be “swept off their feet” and find it hard to recognize the signs of abuse as they slowly build up.
- Violent episodes may be followed by tearful apologies and loving, kind gestures. Such tactics are designed to make you question their your misgivings.
- To learn more about this phenomenon, read our blog post on rationalization.
Misconception #5: You would know if your friend was abusive to their partner
- Many abusers are friendly and warm on most occasions. If they were constantly cold and cruel, their partner would have less reason to stay!
- Sometimes, you’re the only one who sees the manipulative side, and being believed can be devastating.
- If someone discloses abuse to you, taking them seriously is critical. Doing otherwise can lead them to question their judgement and remain in the dangerous situation.
These are only a fraction of the common misconceptions surrounding domestic violence and abuse. We hope you learned something new! If you did, comment below to let us know what you found most surprising.