She asked me not to tell anyone! And I promised I wouldn’t. I have in my phone pictures of her bruised body. She sent me pictures of her bruised arm. She sent me pictures of her bruised leg. Purple bruises cover her back where he struck her. She even told me that he had pulled his gun on her. What am I supposed to do? I promised her I would not speak of it to anyone. I hope this story reaches her and enables her to break the silence of her very own domestic abuse. Her exact words, “In the case that something goes down you have the pictures.”

My heart breaks and immediately tears role down my face. I am at work in awe, appalled because I know the coward who is trespassing against my friend. My best friend is being abused. My heart breaks for the many women who fold in their emotions of fearing being alone, being made fun of and being talked about.

Love does not hurt. Love is not painful. It is not jealous. Love is not a strike in the face. Love is not black eye. Domestic violence is real. Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. This is especially true when the abuse is psychological, rather than physical. Noticing and acknowledging the signs of an abusive relationship are the first steps to ending it. No one should live in fear of the person they love. There is help available.

Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to violence. And while physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone. No one should have to endure this kind of pain—and your first step to breaking free is recognizing that your situation is abusive. Once you acknowledge the reality of the abusive situation, you can get the help you need.

Despite what many people believe, domestic violence and abuse is not due to the abuser’s loss of control over his or her behavior. In fact, abusive behavior and violence is a deliberate choice made by the abuser to control you. Abusers are control freaks. And those abusers must be stopped before you be another fatality.

A Common Pattern Of Abuse

Domestic abuse falls into a common pattern, or cycle of violence:

cycle of domestic abuse image

1. Abuse – Your abusive partner lashes out with aggressive, belittling, or violent behavior. The abuse is a power play designed to show you “who is boss.”

2. Guilt – After abusing you, your partner feels guilt, but not over what he’s done. He’s more worried about the possibility of being caught and facing consequences for his or her abusive behavior.

3. Excuses – Your abuser rationalizes what he or she has done. The person may come up with a string of excuses or blame you for the abusive behavior—anything to avoid taking responsibility.

4. “Normal” behavior – The abuser does everything he can to regain control and keep the victim in the relationship. He may act as if nothing has happened, or he may turn on the charm. This peaceful honeymoon phase may give the victim hope that the abuser has changed this time.

5. Fantasy and planning – Your abuser begins to fantasize about abusing you again. He spends a lot of time thinking about what you’ve done wrong and how he’ll make you pay. Then he plans for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality.

6. Set-up – Your abuser sets you up and puts his plan in motion, creating a situation where he can justify abusing you.

Your abuser’s apologies and loving gestures in between the episodes of abuse can make it difficult to leave. He may make you believe that you are the only person who can help him, that things will be different this time, and that he truly loves you. However, the dangers of staying are very real.

We Are Here To Help

A local organization that is willing to assist men and women who are victims of domestic abuse is The Faces Behind a Purpose for You. Our organization has a very strict and confidential intake process. You do not have to worry about your information being compromised. We have an established relationship with the Richmond City Police Department and a few other agencies and organizations within the City of Richmond to transition you from fear to a peace of mind.