It is a common myth that abusers can’t help their behavior, and that they have no control over their actions. This is not true. Your partner does control his/her behavior. Abusers generally don’t attack everyone who irritates them or makes them angry. They stop the behavior when there are witnesses, when the police show up, or if an authority figure (such as a boss or clergy) is present.
Often though, both the abusers and their victims have a million excuses for their behavior.
It’s not their fault, they just have a bad temper…They only do it when they get drunk…It only happens once or twice a year…They had a bad childhood…They’re under a lot of stress at work…I mouthed off, I deserved what I got…It’s not that bad…They’re just passionate…”
The list of excuses goes on and on.
“It was my fault, I did _______________________. And he/she promised that it would never happen again.”
Abusers hurt you, on purpose. This reality can be hard to face, but to get control of you, they will use any means necessary.
I didn’t mean to hit her, she just made me so mad..I read the call history on his phone, he was cheating on me, what was I supposed to do…She brought it on herself…I wanted to cut off my own hand after I had hit her, I love her…
They may even believe it themselves when they tell you they won’t do it again. But as long as the abuser won’t admit he/she has done wrong and won’t get professional help, the broken promises will continue.
“It’s Not So Bad, it’s not like he/she ever_______________”
Sometimes we rationalize their behavior because it doesn’t seem as bad compared to what we see on television, or what we hear about.
They never put us in the hospital…They never hit me with a closed fist…They never threatened me with a gun or a knife…It’s not like that Burning Bed movie [or that What’s Love Got to Do With It movie, or that Medea’s Family Reunion movie], they didn’t hurt me THAT badly…
Don’t compare your abuse to someone else’s situation or to a fictional movie. Remember, it is not the intensity of the violence that’s the issue; it is the fact that your partner is trying to maintain absolute control over you or is taking out their anger, grief, frustration, sadness, or fear on you instead of dealing with their own problems.
Your abuser thinks that it is ok to hurt you (emotionally, financially, or physically) in order to get what they want and to make themselves feel powerful.
And there is never an excuse for that.