Understanding Domestic Abuse

Understanding Domestic Abuse

There are hundreds of ways in which a person may experience domestic abuse. They can be understood as, what I call, the C.A.P.E.R. Dynamics. Sadly, the vast majority of domestic abuse is men abusing women or children. Therefore, I will use the pronoun “he” for the abuser and “she” for the victim. Of course, domestic abuse occurs in gay couples as well.

CONTROL-When one person attempts to manage the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors of another.

ANGER-The abusive person has limited emotional expression. He can appear happy but all other emotion comes out as anger. He does not take responsibility for his emotions but blames others for how he feels.

POWER-External strength given to the abuser through society. It can be through his physical stature, status in society, finances, gender, spiritual beliefs, or a family system.

ENTITLEMENT-A belief system that allows the person to be abusive.
Examples are: I am superior to you.
What I think, feel, believe, or do is always right.
What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine.
I own you.
You need to do what I say, when I say it.
If I compromise, I am weak.
I need to teach you a lesson.
You do not have a right to an opinion that differs from mine.

REVENGE-Taking anger out on another through emotional, verbal, physical, sexual, spiritual, or financial abuse. Any single one of these is domestic abuse.

Dawn Strommen, MA LP is a psychologist at Reimann Counseling Clinic in Maple Grove, MN who specializes in domestic violence.