Domestic violence is any violent, aggressive, or abusive behavior in a relationship between partners, wherein one tries to gain or maintain power and control over another through destructive means.
Anyone who has been living with or has been married to someone with an addiction problem knows that addiction can change the person you once loved into someone totally different. Addiction has that effect on relationships, especially on marriage. At times, the addicted person tries to wrestle power over the spouse, becoming a master manipulator and lying about everything: money, job, routines, and so many more.
Domestic violence happens often in this scenario and can involve the following:
- Emotional abuse: making the spouse feel bad, lowering their self-esteem, losing their self-worth
- Physical abuse: hitting, punching, or physically hurting the spouse; denying medical care; forcing them to take drugs
- Psychological abuse: making them believe that their suspicions are all in their head, instilling fear and paranoia
- Sexual abuse: forcing the spouse to perform sexual acts against his or her will
- Financial abuse: not providing financial support to the spouse, cutting off his or her access to financial resources, making the person financially dependent on the addicted spouse
Other forms of domestic violence may not be as blatant but can still be exhibited by:
- passive-aggressive behavior as punishment to the partner, such as deliberately being counterproductive, refusing to be intimate, refusing to take on responsibilities
- name-calling using insulting names
- crossing boundaries when it comes to the person’s privacy, such as secretly going over the person’s emails, diary, social media account, etc.
- threatening the person’s life
- neglecting the partner
Why is Domestic Violence Prevalent in Families with Addiction?
Domestic violence, though not confined in addiction, is prevalent in families or relationships where one or both partners engage in addictive behaviors. When people are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they lose control over themselves, as well as lose their inhibitions. They are more likely to engage in behaviors that his or her partner does not agree with.
At times, in order to hide the addiction, the addicts try to control the whole family dynamics, to destructive results. They turn to abusive behaviors that anger their spouse, resulting to fights and even violence. In fact, experts in this field believe that addiction and domestic violence share the same characteristics:
- both are a result of loss of control over one’s behavior
- the addict continues to use or drink despite negative consequences
- both share increased tolerance–addiction and violence becomes the norm and even get worse over time
- both have negative impact on the family and the children
- both have an effect over sexual relationships, intimacy
- both change how affectionate one partner becomes towards the other
- both are vicious cycles
In addition, addiction causes domestic violence because:
- alcohol and drugs lowers the person’s inhibitions
- substances cause them to indulge in impulsive behavior
- addiction causes failure to think rationally and therefore results in poor decision making
- Some drugs that cause paranoia can have an effect on the dynamics of relationships
Addiction Is No Excuse
However, addiction is not an excuse for domestic violence. Once the addicted partner is sober, it is easy for him or her to blame drugs or alcohol for hurting the partner. They may easily feel remorseful, and even try to make up for everything. They may also blame their addiction. However, this is no justification for violence in the home and in the relationship.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, seek help for yourself and your partner immediately. Most importantly, your personal safety is number one priority. Instead of listening to your partner make excuses for hurting you, understand that your spouse may need help for his or her addiction. As long as they continue with their ways, their apologies, remorse, and excuses are all in vain.
If you need help for yourself or your loved one who is addicted or suffering from domestic violence, call us NOW! Get in touch with our Recovery Specialists today: