Big Little Lies, the murder-mystery best-seller and HBO adaptation, has kept audiences on the edge of their seats. Liane Moriarty’s storyline captured the world’s attention because of its good humor and twist-filled plot. But the story also focused people’s attention on an important but often hidden social issue: domestic violence.
(Small Spoiler Alert!)
Among the kindergarten mothers, Celeste White is the envy of all. Celeste is beautiful, smart, and rich. She has the perfect life: a beautiful house, twin boys, and a wonderful husband. But as Celeste admits at the end of the novel, domestic violence can happen to anyone. Far from perfect, Celeste’s life is actually a personal hell because her husband beats her.
Many survivors of domestic violence understand how a relationship’s public appearance can be drastically different than its private reality and how a partner who charms one moment can turn violent the next. Celeste puts into words what many victims feel, “I don’t know why I stay. I don’t know why I deserve this. I don’t know why you do this, why we do this, why this keeps happening.”
Escaping domestic violence is not as easy as it seems either. But with support from friends, family, and a professional therapist, many find a new, safe life after domestic violence.
Thriveworks Media offers counseling for domestic violence. We have helped many clients escape the danger and recover from the trauma.
Domestic Abuse as a Cycle
Domestic abuse nearly always follows the same cycle:
The Honeymoon Phase: Even violent relationships have times of peace and possibly even happiness. It’s what can make the abuse so confusing for victims—they often genuinely love their violent partner, just not the abuse.
The Tension Building Phase: Tension, however, always builds, and often victims feel as if they must appease the violent partner. In hopes of preventing the looming violence, victims may give into outrageous demands, walk on egg shells, or shield their partner from any stress. Violent partners, however, choose not to be appeased.
The Abusive Phase: When the violent partner chooses to act, the abuse may come in the form of verbal, physical, and/or sexual violence. Abuse is never the victim’s fault, and it is illegal. The violent partner may try to blame the abuse on a flaw in the victim; however, harming another person is always a choice. Responsibility always lies on the shoulders of the person who chooses violence.
One survivor illustrated the effects of living in the cycle of abuse, “He would be alternately kind and then fly off the handle for no reason. I always lived in fear of his temper. It was very stressful.” Victims face the injuries incurred during the abusive phase, but living in a stressful war zone has many detrimental effects on a person’s long-term health.
Is This a Potentially Violent Relationship?
The cycle of domestic abuse escalates—that is, each reiteration is worse than the previous. Often, when the cycle begins, the concerning behaviors are so subtle, it is easy to dismiss them. However, these controlling, manipulative behaviors may worsen over time.
Many of the warning signs that a relationship is violent or will become violent center on the idea of control: One partner dominates what the other thinks, says, feels, wear, buys, does, and on, and on, and on.
If you are in a committed relationship, do you recognize any of these behaviors in your partner?
- Showing annoyance that you spend time with family or friends
- Intimidating you or others
- Calling you or others degrading names
- Putting you down
- Harming you, your kids, or your pets
- Coercing you into sex or sexual acts that you do not want or make you uncomfortable.
- Limiting your agency (i.e., your ability to make decisions—such as how to spend money, where to go, what to wear, and more)
- Discouraging you from working or going to school
- Blaming you or others for their behavior
Counseling for Victims of Domestic Violence
Are any of the behaviors on this list familiar to you? Has your partner behaved in these ways or in similar ways? If yes, know that have support from Thriveworks Media. Our therapists understand domestic violence and the harm you may face. We have helped many clients find safety after enduring the cycle of abuse.
Living with a violent partner creates enough chaos in life, so scheduling an appointment for therapy should be simple and easy. When you call Thriveworks Media, PA a person will answer and find an appointment that works for you. Our first-time clients often see their counselors within 24 hours. We also offer convenient session times, and work with many forms of insurance.
We do not want anything to come in the way of you receiving the support you need. Call Thriveworks Media today.