Intimate Partner Violence

We have seen what Intimate Partner violence (IPV) is, why individuals have difficulties recognizing the abuse and even if they do, getting out of it. We have seen how IPV impacts both men and women and the psychology of the victims. Let us now see how the victim can break free from such toxic relationships.

First identify whether you are in a toxic relationship or not. To summarize briefly-

  • Do you find yourself fearing an explosive reaction every time you interact with your partner?
  • Is your partner manipulating you, subjugating you, and insulting you?
  • Does your partner usually gaslight you?
  • Is your partner in competition with you and easily disturbed when you achieve success?
  • Does your partner support you and take care of you?
  • Does your partner hurt you physically?

If you want to continue in this relationship –

  • If you and your partner want to work on your relationship, firstly start by figuring out if this relationship can be fixed. This requires the victim to understand and identify patterns of toxic behaviour.
  • Making this relationship work necessitates tremendous efforts from both partners and they need to figure out what is hurting them as an individual and as a couple, and find out ways to resolve them.
  • Explore past experiences and behaviour that can perpetuate current dysfunctional patterns.
  • Abstain from blaming. Accept responsibility for your respective actions and their consequences.
  • The victim has to recognize how the relationship has wrecked their self-esteem and identify how the partner subtly manipulates and makes them feel responsible for mistakes they may not have committed.
  • The couple needs to keep communication open and transparent. Reflect, introspect, analyze and develop a healthy interpersonal relation.
  • Take professional help individually and as a couple.

If you are leaving the relationship –

  • Build a safety net – what possessions you can bring with you, where to stay etc. Think it through.
  • Set a goal to be financially independent.
  • Start by taking care of yourself.
  • Stop talking to your partner as they are often very manipulative and can emotionally coerce you back in the relationship. They may convince you that they are jealous because they love you.
  • Keep minimal interaction – if you have children, and talk only on topics that are absolutely necessary.
  • Do not rush into another relationship.
  • Reach out to support groups or counselors.
  • Confide in a family or friend. Inform local authorities in case you feel threatened.
  • Take help from an experienced family lawyer.

Remember mistreatment, oppression, and violence is not a sign of love.

Although I have referred to several research papers and news items, I would like to state that these are primarily my observations and understandings based on interactions with my clients, and hence are subjective in nature.

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