Domestic Violence - Power and Control

Domestic Violence - Power and Control

All too often, domestic violence and domestic abuse permeate marital and non-marital relationships. Counsel at the Law Offices of Paul M. Gaide understand the various components of domestic violence (not just physical abuse) and the cycles of violence to which you may be subjected. While Counsel at the Law Office of Paul M. Gaide are not psychologists, psychiatrist, or therapists, and are not qualified to medically treat you or address your needs from a psychological or other medical perspective, we are fully capable of assisting you in escaping the immediacy of the abusive behavior and recommending appropriate resources for you to manage the long-term effects of such behavior.

From a simplistic approach, domestic violence and abuse can be viewed as the need of one partner to have power and control over the other. Counsel at the Law Offices of Paul M. Gaide can help you to understand the overall pattern of abusive and violent behaviors which are used by a perpetrator of domestic violence to establish and maintain control over you, the partner. Very often, one or more violent-physical incidents are accompanied by an array of other types of abuse. They are less easily identified, yet firmly establish a pattern of intimidation and control in the relationship.

In addition to physical abuse, types of abuse may include: Coercion and Threats; Intimidation; Male Privilege; Economic Abuse; Emotional Abuse; Isolation; Using Children; Minimizing, Denying and Blaming; and Spiritual Abuse.

  • Coercion and Threats: Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt the partner. Threatening to leave the partner, commit suicide, or report the partner to welfare. Making the partner drop charges. Making the partner do illegal things. 
  • Intimidation: Making the partner afraid by using looks, actions, and gestures. Smashing things. Destroying the partner’s property. Abusing pets. Displaying weapons.
  • Male Privilege: Treating the female like a servant: making all the big decisions, acting like the “master of the castle,” being the one to define men’s and women’s roles.
  • Economic Abuse: Preventing the partner from getting or keeping a job. Making the partner ask for money. Giving the partner an allowance. Taking the partner’s money. Not letting the partner know about or have access to family income.
  • Emotional Abuse: Putting the partner down. Making the partner feel bad about him/herself. Calling him/her names. Making him/her think he’s/she’s crazy. Playing mind games. Humiliating him/her. Making him/her feel guilty.
  • Isolation: Controlling what the partner does, who he/she sees and talks to, what the partner reads, and where he/she goes. Limiting his/her outside involvement. Using jealousy to justify actions.
  • Using Children: Making the partner feel guilty about the children. Using the children to relay messages. Using visitation to harass the partner. Threatening to take the children away.
  • Minimizing, Denying, and Blaming: Making light of the abuse and not taking his/her concerns about it seriously. Saying the abuse didn’t happen. Shifting responsibility for abusive behavior. Saying he/she caused it.
  • Spiritual Abuse: Demeaning your spiritual/religious choices or beliefs, separating you from your spiritual connection to family/culture, suppressing your spiritual expression, denying you access to your spiritual connections, and wearing down your self-esteem until your "spirit" is gone.

Domestic abuse and domestic violence often are circular and repetitive in nature.

While not universal, domestic abuse and violence often occurs in a circular pattern where three phases repeat over and over. Domestic violence is a pattern of abuse in an intimate relationship that escalates over time, and generally includes these three phases:

In the Tension Building phase, one may expect:

  • Abuser starts to get angry
  • Abuse may begin
  • There is a breakdown of communication
  • Victim feels the need to keep the abuser calm
  • Tension becomes too much
  • Victim feels like they are 'walking on egg shells'

In the Making-Up phase, one may expect:

  • Abuser may apologize for abuse
  • Abuser may promise it will never happen again
  • Abuser may blame the victim for causing the abuse
  • Abuser may deny abuse took place or say it was not as bad as the victim claims

In the calm phase, one may expect:

  • Abuser acts like the abuse never happened 
  • Physical abuse may not be taking place
  • Promises made during 'making-up' may be met
  • Victim may hope that the abuse is over
  • Abuser may give gifts to victim

The cycle can happen hundreds of times in an abusive relationship. Each stage lasts a different amount of time in a relationship. The total cycle can take anywhere from a few hours to a year or more to complete.

It is important to remember that not all domestic violence relationships fit the cycle. Often, as time goes on, the 'making-up' and 'calm' stages disappear.

If you need assistance of an experience domestic relations attorney to break away from the circle of violence, contact us for your free initial consultation.