12 Characteristics of a Violent Spouse - 2

4.  Blame Shift- An abusive partner blames others for his/her own problems or negative feeling: in fact, he/she is quick to shift blame on his/her partner even when it is so glaring that he/she is in the wrong and has played the fool. The selfish tendency makes it difficult to admit his/her fault and make amends.

5. Quick to accuse of cheating: Where there is violence, there cannot be total trust. Instead, there will be so much suspicion and fear of being abandoned or dumped for another person who probably is more humane and caring. Any wonder then that at the slightest provocation, your partner accuses you of cheating on him or her.

6. Poor self-esteem and hypersensitivity: A violent partner has low self-esteem and low self-control. He/she is afraid of being disrespected. He doesn’t believe in himself/herself or his/her ability to win his spouse’s respect and love.

7. Cruelty to children or pet animals: There is the constant displacing of anger or what we call transferred aggression, which oftentimes, is turned towards the children, or other occupants of the house (pets inclusive). Sometimes, these innocent kids are denied the usual goodies, school fees, feeding allowance, clothing, fun and outings, especially when their parents (the spouses) are caught in the web of passionate anger.

8. Use of force during sex: Sexual violence, also referred to as “marital rape” is a form of violence whereby sex is used to hurt, degrade, dominate humiliate and gain power over the victim. It is an act of aggression. Forced sexual activity and sexual sadism are often accompanied by threats. It is an abuse.

9.Physical assault: The violent has learned to use physical assault as a means to handle anger and frustration, or guilt and lacks the communication skill to handle these emotions. This may take the form of kicking, biting, hitting, pushing, and choking and assault with weapons. Pregnant women who are victims of physical abuse often sustain injuries to the abdomen and subsequently, to the unborn child. A victim of severe abuse may have bruises on the face, neck, arms, legs etc. There may be signs of swelling of the face or around the eyes. She (and sometimes he) may have a ready explanation for such injuries, not wishing to raise any suspicion on the part of relatives, neighbours or co-workers.

10. Verbal abuse and put-down: Oftentimes, words are even more hunting than physical beating in the sense that they subject their victim to emotional/psychological torture. This form of violence has the power to destroy a victim’s self-esteem over time. Although not as visible as physical/sexual violence, the scars are traumatic and long lasting. It comes in varying degrees, ranging from intimidation. e.g. looks, gestures, yelling, smashing things or destroying the victim’s property to threats to harm a child or children and keep them from the victim, thereby isolating the victim from family and friends.

11. Belief in rigid gender roles: This attitude, which oftentimes is associated with men, stems from the fact that he has learnt that male dominance is ultimate. He may have grown in a home where male dominance over female was modelled physically or verbally. He believes in a traditional male sex role or has developed a strong negative attitude towards women. The root cause is embedded in oppressive attitude towards women, which have existed for hundreds of years. Even today, there are numerous societies where a woman is treated as the property of her husband and he is seen as having the right to use physical force in relating to her, if necessary.

12. Always charming to others: How sad that whereas an abusive spouse may appear charming to others, he/she makes the partner feel like one “walking on eggshells”. A violent spouse gives false impression to every other person except those at home. He/she is so nice, sociable, and kind-hearted, willing to give (if need be to spend his/her last dime) on those who solicit for help. For this reason, he/she has numerous admirers outside, who definitely will have difficulty believing the spouse or children’s allegation against him/her. “No! I don’t believe it. That man/woman can’t be so cruel. No! He/she is much an easy-going, ever-loving person. If at all it’s true, then he/she must have been pushed to the wall. He must have been provoked beyond measure. I think he/she should be excused.”  These are some of the explanations/excuses that people give for a violent spouse’s misdeeds. The purpose is understandable. Obviously, he/she is deceptive and bent on discrediting every allegation from within. So, while he receives a lot of acceptance and accolades from outside, those at home live as one treading on dangerous grounds. They have no respite from pressure and tension; in fact the whole house is held spellbound with fear, except when the one in question is away from home. 
(To be Continued) 

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