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The “cycle” begins with a “set-up” phase: The abuser creates a situation in which the victim has no choice but to react in a way that, in the abuser’s mind, justifies the abuse.After the violence, the abuser may fear being held accountable, and so may apologize or make excuses for his or her behavior, pledge to never do it again, or use gifts as a way of coping with guilt or preventing the victim from telling.Next, however, the abuser may excuse the incident as the victim’s fault, or resume “life as usual” as if nothing happened.The abuser expects that the victim will participate in the cover-up.The violence does not happen randomly, or solely because of stress or substance abuse; abusers use violence to get what they want.This being said, it is important to recognize that the abusers were not “born that way,” but have their own history of developmental and family problems (often being abused) that can explain how they learned to be aggressive.It is commonly accepted that domestic violence is rarely an isolated incident, but is a pattern of behavior aimed at establishing and maintaining power and control over another.
Those who are victimized often keep it a private matter for various reasons: fear, shame, well-intended efforts to preserve the family.Victims generally ask for help only when the risk of violence increases.An important step to help in preventing or stopping violence is recognizing certain risk factors such as jealousy, hypersensitivity and possessiveness, or controlling, explosive or threatening behaviors.How vital it is, then, to understand how to keep family members safe from violence in their homes, and how to heal and reunite families where violence has occurred, when possible.The person being harmed Persons experiencing domestic violence are often termed “victims,” or if the situation has resolved, “survivors,” but it is most important to recall they are children of God, with inherent dignity and deserving our love and respect.
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Aggressors must first become aware of their need for psychological assistance before they can recover and exercise healthier patterns of bonding and communicating.