October is Domestic Abuse Awareness Month

This year was different for many people, especially for those who deal with abuse at home. October is Domestic Abuse Awareness Month, and it is important to keep the awareness of this issue alive especially during quarantine. It is assumed that during the time of the pandemic, families were at a higher risk for domestic abuse because of the stay at home orders. The added stress of the pandemic makes things increasingly difficult for those who deal with any type of abuse.

For this reason, I would like to talk about the cycle of abuse as well as some resources for anyone who knows of someone in an abusive situation as well as resources for victims themselves. The first stage is tensions building within the relationship with the abuser. This can come in many different forms including the breakdown of communication and visible or auditory signs of increased strain on the relationship. This is also a time when the victim can feel like they need to calm the abuser in some way before things escalate.

The second stage is known as the incident. This is when the actual form of abuse occurs whether it be emotional, physical, sexual, or other. These types of incidents can be different depending on the type of abuser the victim is dealing with. Hostile arguments, physical restraint from leaving, verbal or emotional hostility in ways that make the victim question their sanity are all forms of abuse.

The third stage is called reconciliation where the abuser takes on some sort of remorse in which they apologize. This could be where the abuser says that they will never commit the same incident again or begging the victim to not leave them because they will change. Reconciliation could also come out as the abuser denying the abuse ever occurred, blaming the victim for the abuse occurring, or claiming that what had happened was not as bad as the victim perceives. The abuser may also try to normalize the abuse.

The fourth stage is known as the calm, and is also known as the 'honeymoon phase' after the incident and the abuser may sometimes do things they wouldn't normally to 'make up' for what happened. This could be in the form of flattery, gifts, or the relationship between the abuser and the victim may seem like the abuse has been overcome. There is no abuse taking place during this stage of the cycle.

If you or someone you know is struggling with abuse, there is a domestic abuse hotline that can be called 24/7 at (800)-799-7233. If you or someone you know is struggling with their symptoms of abuse, there is help for this as well. Visit https://www.thehotline.org/support-others/help-for-abusive-partners/ to get more information.

If you or someone you know would like access to counseling, please reach out to us at New Leaf by phone at (331)-725-1190 or email us for more information at info@newleaf-counseling.com.