So you’ve entered into a relationship with a survivor of domestic abuse.
Here are some things you should know:
Trauma response can look like narcisstic sociopathy.
When engaging in relationships with survivors of domestic abuse, it is important to recognize that the survivor may be triggered “out of the blue” and suddenly be in survival mode: fight, flight, freeze, fawn, fall, or folly.
This is trauma response.
Until the survivor exits from the reactive survival mode, the survivor may respond with fight, flight, freeze, fawn, fall, or folly…
The survivor, when in survival mode, is unable to communicate, and unable to exercise self-control.
This may result in those around the survivor feeling attacked, and those around the survivor may become defensive or disengaged.
This may further trigger the survivor, and may result in the further downward spiral of the survivor.
The survivor must learn to disengage from the perceived conflict.
The survivor must breathe and let it go.
The amount of time that it takes the survivor to come back to the present moment is dependent on the length of the abusive relationship, and the amount of work the survivor has put into healing and letting go.
Why do victims of domestic abuse have “so much evidence” (which often leads others to believe the evidence must be fabricated)?
Most victims are not believed after reporting a crime; so like the pendulum swinging from one extreme to the next, they became meticulous and hyperfocused in an effort to have evidence for the next hearing.
Ironically, some Judges then chastise the victims for having “too much” evidence.
1 out of 4 women and 1 out of 7 men experience domestic abuse. The numbers are most likely higher than this statistic; many victims are hesitant to report domestic abuse.
Too often, victims are charged with domestic abuse, as law enforcement officers receive so many calls, and become so frustrated at the number of repeat calls, that eventually, they become biased against the victim.
Oftentimes, abusers are cunning. After all, this is how they sicked their victims into the cycle of abuse. Some strategies include gaslighting, and isolating victims, who frequently have low self esteem.
This is why the mission of Domestic Violence Support Services is to educate (community members and victims) and empower (victims).
If you know someone, or if you are someone, who is caught in the cycle of domestic abuse, you can help (yourself) by helping to break the cycle of abuse.
Domestic abuse is costly to our communities. Law enforcement responds to domestic abuse cases, which means they are not able to respond to other calls.
Domestic abuse is a cycle, which means it will continue. And when victims are placed in jail, prison, not believed, the perpetrators continue the cycle of abuse.
We learn from our environments. Children then become abusers, and sometimes victims become abusers as well.
We can break this cycle through educating our community, and our Justice System, including jurors, bailiffs,and Judges of the coercive ways perpetrators fool (and intimidate) those who enter the Courtroom.
Do you remember “Leave It to Beaver”‘s Eddie Haskell? Do you remember Ted Bundy (the rapist and murderer)? Pause a moment, and you will begin to see the trickery that emanates in our communities; the wolves in sheep’s clothing.
That being said, be mindful of not falling into the trap of being hypersensitive. Be mindful of not swinging the pendulum so far that you fall into the trap of being fooled.