The Routine Makes It Easier to Stay in Abusive Relationships
The cycle of violence and abuse typically consists of three phases: tension-building, abuse, and honeymoon. The first two phases describe themselves and the honeymoon phase occurs after the abuse and gives the abuser a chance to beg the victim's forgiveness or otherwise convince the victim to stay. Over time, the tension-building and honeymoon phases tends to shorten or disappear, leaving us to wonder why abusive relationships can last so long. This routine makes staying in an abusive relationship manageable; both victim and abuser come to accept this routine as normal.
The Abuse Routine Over Time
After enough cycles of violence and abuse come to pass, the tension-building phase becomes short or nonexistent. The victim sees the abuser as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, quickly changing from one persona to the other. As you can imagine, when the victim finds themselves living in a world where punishment occurs even if there is no crime, their feelings of anxiety and fear grow strong. At the same time, the stress of feeling constantly fearful (consciously or not) weakens the victim's mind and body and creates fertile ground for brainwashing (Brainwashing: Learn How It's Done So You Can Undo It).
Simultaneously, the honeymoon phase shrinks to relative nothingness too. With the victim weakened and apologizing for every problem in the relationship, the abuser no longer feels the need to make amends. Instead, the abuser uses the victim's weakened state to get on with the business of brainwashing.
Free to Live in the Routine of Domestic Abuse
At this point in the abusive relationship, the routine officially begins. The abuser can now freely abuse without apology and does not experience much backlash from the victim. If the victim continues to fight the abuser, then their resulting threats to leave, call the police, take the children or something equally as relationship-ending, falls flat because the victim does not follow through on the threats. Likewise, both partners know that if the victim pushes the issue at hand, it will result in the abuser hurting the victim's feelings or body. The abuser's stated or implied threat to hurt the victim is real, and both partners know that too.
Instead of pointlessly expending emotional/physical energy on a domestic disturbance, the partners fast-forward through the drama in their minds instead of in reality. This is easy because the drama has only one end: the abuser wins whether the victim can admit it or not. Brainwashing allows the abuser to win pretend arguments too. This shortcut past the drama is the routine that makes consistent abuse manageable for both victim and abuser.
Why Abusers and Victims Prefer the Routine
Both abuser and victim prefer the routine because it enables the abuser to feel in control and the victim to feel safer. After accepting the that the abuser will explode when the victim makes a decision contrary to the abuser's wishes, it becomes deceptively easy for the victim to convince themselves that they are making their own decisions instead of choosing to stay in the abuser's good graces (and out of danger).
If you asked a current abuse victim about the routine, they would not say they feel safer because they do not realize the danger they face. They love their partner, and it follows that you do not fear someone you love. Perhaps you get angry, frustrated, mean or spiteful, but the victim is so far out of touch with their fear that they will not see the routine as safe, if they see it at all.
Most likely, the victim will view the routine as a period in the relationship that
- has minor problems that will work themselves out,
- lacks intimacy,
- will be better when, or
- is perfectly perfect.
The victim comes to see the routine as normal and the abuse as merely a side note not worth mentioning. The victim's high anxiety-induced stress level becomes normal too. After years of the routine, domestic abuse victims often find themselves diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.
To the abuser, the routine proves their power over their partner. The abuser acts out when the victim says or does something the abuser would not say or do. However, during the routine, there are far fewer threats to the abuser's ability to control. Nevertheless, the abuser will abuse in the backwards thinking that it keeps the peace.
The routine exists due to brainwashing and dependency of the abuser and victim on one another. The relationship holds no love no matter how often the partners say "I love you." In fact, the only reason to call it a relationship is that there are two people going through the motions of creating family and career. There is no relating to one another and no real love during the routine or any other part of the abusive relationship. Even so, when both the victim and abuser accept the routine's dynamics, they lay the foundation for a long-term abusive relationship.
Holly, K. (2014, September 22). The Routine Makes It Easier to Stay in Abusive Relationships, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2014/09/the-routine-makes-it-easier-to-stay-in-abusive-relationships
Author: Kellie Jo Holly
So it seems the only real solution is leaving. Is there no capacity for change? Or do I need to remove myself from the situation & allow him to do the work, for once? I've been in this relationship for 15 years, and we have a 6yo son together. We own & operate a business together as well.
Yesterday was the first & only time I ever told him I was leaving; I told him I'm staying with my parents for a week, that I'm not coming to work, and that my son will be with me.
He's begging to speak to me. I don't know where to go from here. Hotline, counseling, groups? This is a complete revelation. I don't know what to do with it.
Yes, I would start with the NDVH at http://thehotline.org and then try to get into as many domestic violence group meetings as you can in your area this week.
In my heart, I hope you take this act of courage and use it to stay away. In the end, most abusers won't change. I don't know what separates the ones that will change from the ones that won't. However, in Patricia Evans' book, "The Verbally Abusive Man: Can He Change?" she presents the idea of a contract. Perhaps you could get the book and prepare a contract this week, too.
The contract I prepared showed me that my ex was NOT going to change. From reading comments in other forums, it appears that the contract serves that purpose for many. Preparing one for myself brought to light just how much abuse I was taking. After writing it, I almost didn't give it to him because my gut said to stay away. Even so, I recommend doing the exercise.
Give him the contract and don't go home until he shows change. Not when he SAYS he's changed, but when he proves change. I hope your parents can keep you and your son for awhile. In my timeline for reconciliation, I gave us a year to decide whether we'd get back together or not. It didn't take but a week to know we wouldn't.
Again, I hope you don't go back home. At least not yet. When you're away from him for a while, your perspective will change. Opportunities will open up to you that weren't there before. I congratulate you for leaving - just simply taking the opportunity and going. If you go back, it could be harder to leave next time. However, it takes an average of 7 attempts before some of us get out. Some people MUST leave the first time and stay gone. It may as well be you!
My boyfriend has BPD and has booked appointments to see a therapist. I'm just wondering whether it's a good idea to stay in the relationship while he goes to see the therapist. I understand that he will be facing emotions that will be uncomfortable on a regular basis and that he may unleash his anger on me. A lot of the time I feel that i want him by my side- even though i know he says a lot of things but doesn't follow through with them. But i don't want to be subject to verbal/emotional abuse any more. Will the abuse subside with therapy?
Now I am seeing I am in this unhealthy place again. I know that it will not " just get better" and further more we are in the middle of transferring . I see th writing on the wall. I should leave -- short and simple I'm afraid and don't trust my decision making
I'm not a stupid person but can't seem to get my head around how to get out of this.
I have been " the good wife " and covered and made excuses for his behaviour all that time , typical behaviour i have now learned that enabled him to carry on and get worse and worse.
4 weeks ago i made the decision to divorce him - needless to say even though he is an alcoholic, an abuser , with no anger control and the true jekyl and hyde personality, he will be telling people that i am mentally ill and that i am the one who needs help not him. Luckily even tho i have hidden this for all these years i did not realise that other people were now realising what has / is going on and are now looking out for me.
I have two reports on him stating that he has denial issues with regard to anger and alcohol- i have not used these in the divorce papers , i am going to keep them as my trump card . I have been warned that he will continue to try and abuse me even after he has left the marital home. Now i realise that i have wasted 45 years of my life on someone who never gave me his love, attention, time, whom i "loved" and protected. Now i need time to be ME and the thought of starting again at 60 and not able to return to my family or home country for financial reasons is scary. But i have found true friends that now look out for me - so wish me luck
Every-time I watch, this grips my soul on how relational each slide is to my experience.
Am I crazy to believe I am a Victim or am I the Monster?
Learn the types of verbal abuse and recognize them when she uses them. Stop using those tactics if you find yourself abusing (it happens to the best of us - we get so mad we start acting like the abuser).
If you decide you are NOT the monster, then there is only one other person who could be that monster. You are the victim of abuse, but you're on your way to survivor status.
We do not know if <em>all</em> abusers have a mental disorder to any degree. Undoubtedly, some abusers are sociopaths and/or narcissists. However, because abuse can also be a learned behavior, implying that some can un-learn it, we must consider each individual separately.
As a rule of thumb, I tend to believe if it walks and talks like a duck then it may as well be a duck. I don't want <em>anyone</em> who walks and talks like a sociopath or narcissist in my life.
The bright side is now I can educate others to the outcome of becoming free as well as what I wish I had wrapped my brain around which was the impact on my children, their precious minds, souls and personalities. Not to mention how they evolve in their relationships as they become young men and women. This has been the shame that I will forever work on for myself and for them to undo the damage they suffered and now carry forth into their families...
Working with women now I find the challenges they face are exactly what I faced as well... It's not enough to just encourage and inspire them to see how life can be different, better when they are spinning in the daily grind of this routine fully embracing the fear and control they feel runs their lives...
It won't stop our plight... to change the lives of one life at a time!!!
You are a survivor. Your enemy is no longer the abuser, but complacency. Read your plan every day so you keep what you're working toward fresh in your mind and action.