People become abusive for many reasons. They may have grown up with abuse in their own family, where they learned that asserting power and control is the way to get what you want in an intimate relationship. They may have experienced institutional violence, including racism, state sponsored violence, poverty and mass incarceration. They may believe that their role in the relationship or family requires them to always “be in charge.” they may have learned messages about how men and women should act from their communities and the media that reinforced the use of power and control in relationships.
When people are abusive, they often say that their partner or spouse caused the abuse. The abused person is NEVER responsible for the abuse.
DVHopeline advocates can offer information about the dynamics of abusive relationships.