Tuesday, August 9, 2016

On Characteristics of Victims + Offenders in Domestic Abuse via Tolson 4 TEARS*

*Tolson 4 TEARS: Telling Everyone About Rape & Suicide, so no shed tear is wasted


By looking at this picture, no one would ever know that I was in a marriage fraught with domestic violence  I was so familiar with abusive relationships that I did not know what a healthy relationship was like.


In therapy sessions during my twenties, I learned that "People often seek a life partner who serves to resolve issues of the past.” The implication was that I had done so by marrying a man who preyed on my vulnerabilities, repeating what I had experienced as a child via my father, my stepfather, and my older brother. I responded to my therapist's comment by saying that I was not looking for a mate who abused me! My therapist said, “No, not consciously. We sometimes operate on an unconscious level, which may lead to repetition of unhealthy patterns." She encouraged me to become more aware of patterns that pertained to my husband and family.


Lynn C. Tolson
It’s not unusual to do things as we saw them done. When we examine our motives, we make better choices. This illustrates why it is important to understand the dynamics of dysfunction: "If I know why I did what I did, I might do it better next time.” Realizing the characteristics of victims and offenders helps in determining whether it's an unhealthy relationship. You can't see the physical evidence of me as victim in this picture, but you can sense the traits that led me to perpetuate the roles. 

(victims and offenders may have some and/or not have all of these characteristics)

VICTIM

Loyal

Socially isolated

Low self esteem

Believes traditional stereotypes

Often compliant with trivial demands

Suffers from guilt, denies terror and anger

Convinced she is responsible for the abuse

Believes all the myths about domestic violence

May have witnessed or experienced abuse as a child

Attempts to manipulate the environment to maintain safety


OFFENDER

Emotionally dependent

Abused as children (typically)

Loses temper frequently and early

Displays unusual amount of jealousy

Has weapons & threatens to use them

Contradictory, unpredictable personality

Has limited capacity for delayed gratification

Drinks alcohol excessively (and/or other substance)

Commits acts of violence against people, pets, and objects


compiled by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story
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