Who’s really hurt?
Abuse hurts the one on the receiving end. But it also hurts the one doing harm.
We promised not to lecture here, but it is worth reviewing the injuries and impacts. Yes, abuse hurts the one on the receiving end. But it also hurts the one abusing. read all the way to the bottom to learn why.
Impact on the victim
Physical abuse can injure the victim, sometimes leading to lasting consequences. This is obvious, right? Generally speaking, women are more impacted by physical abuse because men are often physically stronger and heavier than women. This means women are more prone to injury than men. Regardless of gender, none of us have a right to injure someone else.
Fear of injury
Even if you have not injured your partner, aggressive, violent behavior like throwing or breaking things, slamming doors, or driving erratically can make our partners afraid that they will be injured at some point. Again, there are some gender differences here. Women are more likely to fear being injured because of their typically smaller size. In either case, however, causing our partners fear is damaging to them and to our relationship with them.
To put this in perspective, think about being in a business partnership with a UFC champion – one that is 3 weight classes heavier than you – and who uses mixed martial arts abilities whenever you disagree. Would you feel like it is a partnership? Of course not. That’s how one woman described feeling when she feared her husband was going to use physical force in an argument, even if he didn’t.
Victims of domestic abuse can feel trapped, ashamed, and isolated. They may blame themselves or not want other people to find out, perhaps out of a desire to defend their relationship and the loved one who is abusing them. Even if the abuse is emotional, it systematically erodes the victim’s self-confidence and damages them psychologically.
Impact on the one doing harm
We covered the legal problems battery could cause. But here’s something you might not have thought about: abuse hurts the one doing harm. That’s right. Abuse hurts you. Here’s how.
Broken or tainted relationships
Abuse destroys relationships. Many people will leave a relationship that feels physically or emotionally abusive. A quick re-read of the information above, and who could blame them? Even if that person stays, abuse destroys the good qualities of a relationships. What do we want in a relationship? Respect, admiration, love, and intimacy are common answers. These can only be earned and can never be forced. Ultimately, we want a partner who wants to be with us rather than one who fears or resents us. For more about getting what we value, see this blog post.
Most of us not only want to be respected and admired by our partners, but also by others. However, society views those who hurt others, especially those perceived as weaker, very negatively. Committing acts of domestic violence is a huge barrier to getting the respect and admiration that we desire. Out founder Michael talks more about respect in this blog post.
We are created with a natural sense of right and wrong. When we do wrong, we feel bad about what we’ve done. We feel guilty. That feeling of guilt is a good thing and it is there to motivate us to do something different, something better, next time. People who repeatedly ignore guilty feelings for prolonged periods of time end up feeling bad about themselves (shame). In other words, we start to believe we are a bad person rather than we have done something bad. Doing something wrong can be corrected. A belief that we are flawed, however, is hopeless. Shame is not part of how we were created, but rather something we make up in our minds. To believe you are an inherently bad person is to believe a lie. For more on this subject, go here.
Abuse hurts the one doing harm not only through legal consequences, but also through relationship losses, how others perceive us, and how we feel about ourselves. We want something better for every person.