“It’s just a slap.” You told yourself.
“My boyfriend would never hit me again.” You believed.
“I’ll leave if he hits me again.” You promised.
…and yet you stayed.
That’s the thing about domestic violence— DV victims often believe that it arises from anger issues and that anger can be managed. However, anger is never the only reason for domestic abuse— it stems from ‘wanting control and power over your spouse or partner.’
It also arises from misogyny, patriarchy, or abusive upbringing. That’s why you never see your partner beating or hitting their boss, parents, or friends— why is it always you?
One slap in two years of relationship accounts for countless slaps throughout the relationship. Once you forgive them and continue the relationship ignoring that mistake, they will know it’s forgivable. They would know there’s a loophole to somehow get away from domestically violating you— using your love against you.
“I’ll never repeat my mistake, baby! Please, don’t leave me. Hey, you have hit me too. I have forgiven you; you should also give me one chance.” He cried and begged until you forgave him and continued the relationship again.
The truth is, it never stops at a single blow, no matter how hard you want to believe it! It never does!
Each time you forgive your partner for hitting you, the abuse will escalate. They will get bolder and bolder with every forgiveness you offer them. Each time they hit you, they would get greedier for the power of control it brings along.
‘Is it okay for my boyfriend to hit me?’ I think you already know the answer!
It’s never normal or okay to physically injure someone; it’s a crime. When unattended, it will grow into a mold and pull you towards the most toxic relationship of your lifetime. Physical abuse never comes from a loving heart. A loving partner would never want to hurt you, irrespective of the situation.
Why do people abuse others?
- They abuse to have power over you.
- They abuse to instill fear in you.
- They abuse to control your life as per their demand.
Did your boyfriend hit you during an argument? He hits you because he doesn’t want to open up to your opinion/perspective or accept the fact that you both have different personalities. He hit you for you to shut up and agree to what he is saying. Such partners want to be right and want their women to be silent.
Did he hit you because he was jealous of your colleagues? He hits you to instill fear in you, to make sure he has power over you and that you know what happens when you cross a line.
Please leave! An insecure relationship that works on ‘controlling behavior’ would hurt you physically, mentally, and emotionally. I cannot stretch this enough! I know you love him, but you shouldn’t love him at the cost of your physical and mental well-being. Love shouldn’t hurt you.
Men and women are built differently, and we all know that. If your boyfriend still chooses to lose control and hit you despite knowing he can and will severely injure you, he’s not the man for you. The right man would know how to control his emotions and talk things out more responsibly. So, please leave for your own sake, leave them!
(Please note: Being built differently doesn’t give women the right to hit men, either. Physical abuse remains physical abuse irrespective of gender.)
Why does my boyfriend hit me?
Hitting someone can never be excused with the statement, ‘I lost control in the moment of fury.’ This situation worsens when your boyfriend excuses himself after committing domestic violence.
Ask yourself, would you hit someone ‘in the moment of fury?’
- Would you hit a waiter because he spilled coffee on you accidentally?
- Would you start beating people in a debate because they are on the opposite side of your perspective?
- Would you beat your friends for having other friends?
It sounds absurd and infuriating, doesn’t it? Even when we have the most difficult and complicated time of our lives, we never resort to hitting someone. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with abusers, and it’s never the ‘moment of fury,’ as they would like to make you believe.
Their desire to hit you is well-calculated, dominant, and has been suppressively on their mind for a while. This is called ‘the cycle of abuse.’ We’ll discuss this soon enough. For now, let’s discuss the psychology behind ‘why does your boyfriend hit you.’
They want to execute power
That’s what a patriarchal society teaches men— that men have power over women. That’s probably what your boyfriend grew up watching. When a woman refuses to submit to their partner’s demand, they execute power through violence.
Instilling fear in a woman makes men feel more powerful and in control of their superior hierarchy. This trait doesn’t develop overnight— it grows like a parasite from the very start. Men driven by patriarchal power often grow up in an environment that belittles women and forces women to submit to men’s needs, desires, and power.
When you revolt against your boyfriend, it hurts their ego and urges them to strike back. They cannot control you through intelligence, so they control you through physical abuse.
Their childhood upbringing and environment don’t justify domestic violence. I have seen men grow in a patriarchal world to completely defy the atrocities against women. So, ladies, don’t settle for any less. This is the bare minimum.
Men who grow up witnessing abuse in the family, especially abuse done by the father to the daughter/wife, will come to agree that physical abuse towards women is normal and very much needed.
Children often mirror their parents, so if they had a physically abusive father— they most likely would adapt to a similar personality. They will believe and reflect their father’s ideologies towards women and may become misogynistic as they grow up.
Again, many men outgrow this injustice towards their mom and revolt against their abusive father. Eventually, they will be able to become a better person despite their past.
If your boyfriend grew up in an abusive household, leave him and advise him to go for professional therapy. You cannot undo years of traumas; he will need professional help. Staying with him will only cause you physical and emotional scars.
If your boyfriend endured childhood abuse, he might be dealing with severe mental traumas, identity crises, and personality issues. He grew up enduring abuse; violence may have become his defense mechanism to control others and protect himself from physical abuse.
- “Beat or get beaten.”
- “It’s alright to beat someone if they are in the wrong.”
- “Some people deserve beating.”
- “Women and younger people are inferior to men. They should know their place. If they don’t, beating them would put them into their place.”
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Unfortunately, boys are too young, scared, or isolated from healthy relationships to develop a better personality.
If your boyfriend is a victim of physical abuse, he would need to heal his mental traumas before getting into the relationship. If you simply accept and forgive your boyfriend’s physical abuse, it will make him believe that he’s right and his father taught him well.
Also, simply addressing and notifying him of his abusive traumas wouldn’t bring a change either. It will take time and professional help to undo those years of trauma. Unfortunately, it will hurt you either way. So, please leave! Pitying him wouldn’t make a change; it might worsen things.
They want to have control over you
‘A controlling man’ is the worst of all kinds— the biggest red flag I have ever encountered. They are excessively possessive, jealous, envious, manipulating, and the biggest gaslighters.
They will gaslight you until it works on you. The minute you revolt against their behavior, they will use physical violence to control and scare you into accepting their ways. Such men aren’t above blaming you for how they react or physically abuse you.
“This wouldn’t have happened if you simply listened to me.”
“You know I warned you over that guy. You saw this coming; you practically pushed me to hit you.”
Such men consider women to be their property— they decide who you talk to and whom you meet. They keep the power to choose your friendships, your curfew, and your outside time.
Initially, they might not resort to physical abuse. They will try to manipulate you against people. However, they will resort to violence when their consistent gaslighting and manipulation don’t work.
It’s even worse when you stand up against them— it makes them believe they are losing their power over you. So, they will try to strike harder to shut you down completely. You should beware of such men.
Signs of an abusive relationship
Initially, an abusive man would appear like any normal man. They usually don’t show their true colors at the beginning. It’s harder to identify an abuser at first sight or in the starting months of the relationship.
Abusers are cunningly manipulative and gaslight their partners to have the upper hand. Look for these signs to identify if you are in an abusive relationship and leave immediately.
Here are some early signs of domestic violence that you must acknowledge before things get worse. Always remember, physical violence starts subtly but gets courageous with every passing forgiveness.
Please identify these subtle but strong abusive relationship signs. If you do detect one of these, leave without any remorse! You deserve so much better.
They are aggressive
- Does your boyfriend lose his calm often?
- Does he bang the wall every time you both have an argument?
- Does he break things to express his anger?
- Does he pass aggressive threats to shut you down? “I swear to god I’ll lose my calm and hit you if you don’t stop talking.”
- Does he throw verbally abusive slurs at you?
“My boyfriend gets angry if I disagree with him, but he has never done anything severe. Just typical yelling.”
“He hasn’t hit me— he just hits the wall.”
“My man always threatens to kick me out, but they aren’t serious.”
“My husband only yells at me; he never beats me.”
“He only choked me lightly. It didn’t even bruise that much.”
“My husband shouts at me, nothing more.”
You shouldn’t justify his actions because this behavior is not normal. The day isn’t far away when he actually hits you and blames it on you.
“You drove me this far. You made me so angry that I had to hit you.”
An abuser would often try to put the blame on you to justify his actions. Always remember that you are not at fault for their actions; only they are!
They might not have hit you yet, but they are trying to instill fear in you through their actions, which speaks volumes about their nature.
It starts with verbal abuse
No physical violence starts immediately. Initially, abusers will jokingly try to cross your boundaries. Those jokes would soon turn into arguments and possessiveness.
Once your boyfriend realizes that he doesn’t have power over you, he would like to regain that control and power.
Four signs of verbal abuse:
a) Insulting: They would insult you to make you feel bad about yourself— to lower your self-esteem and gaslight you into believing that you are somehow the wrong one.
b) They will verbally abuse you: The minute your partner learns that it’s okay to disrespect you, they will get worse each time. The more you ignore their insults, the more shameful they will get. If they have already started verbally abusing you in private/public— they have lost respect for you. It’s about time they lose their love to control and power.
c) They will threaten you: Do they give you threats— do they tell you to be grateful they haven’t lost it yet? Girl, it wouldn’t be long before their empty threats become more aggressive and true. Arguments don’t give anyone the right to beat someone, always remember that!
d) They try to scare you physically: physical abuse doesn’t only mean hitting someone. Aggressively choking, blocking, man-handling, pushing, strangling, and clutching is also severe and threatening. It’s the safe ground for abusers— they wouldn’t get jailed for man-handling you, but it would successfully instill fear inside of you.
Sexual and emotional abuse
People often don’t consider verbal, sexual, or emotional abuse threatening. Some individuals may never acknowledge that they are being abused emotionally and sexually.
Begging, negotiating, and playing with the cards to demand sex from you aren’t above them. They might not be courageous enough to physically abuse you, so they will try to be sexually abusive to feel control and power over you.
Suppose you have told your boyfriend that you are not comfortable with aggressive sex, and they continue to do it for their own sick pleasures. In that case, they don’t care about breaking your boundaries or you and your needs. Such men are often greedy and selfish.
Emotional abuse is equally worse— they will deprive you of love, isolate you from the world, and gaslight you. They will make you feel guilty about choosing yourself over them. Beware of emotional abuse; a relationship shouldn’t make you feel guilty or bad about yourself.
The cycle of abuse/cycle of domestic violence
As discussed, no abuse happens in the moment of fury. Every cyclic abuser goes through a set of negative emotions before finally losing their calm.
(Please note: this may not apply to every abuser out there. Some individuals simply get the sick pleasure of threatening and controlling you.) Look for these signs of cyclic abuse to save yourself from your abusive boyfriend and escape the cycle of violence once and for all.
If your partner is naturally aggressive, he wouldn’t need much fuel to explode. In fact, he might be searching for the fuel to burst out. The first stage of cyclic abuse is ‘tension build up.’
This tension usually builds from external sources. Your partner cannot lash out or control external stressors, so he swallows those emotions and continues to swell up. These external sources may include their office environment, boss, family, financial issues, illness, alcoholism, drugs, work stress, etc.
The more he consumes and buries these emotions, the more aggressive he will get with time. The unreleased closure will suffocate and frustrate the abuser. The dissatisfaction, anger, injustice, and lack of control may push your boyfriend to the edge.
As their partner, we can often sense their wariness. We may try to comfort them physically or emotionally.
“I cannot talk to my husband without him getting angry.”
If you have been domestically violated before, you might be scared of this situation because you know your boyfriend may lash out at you. You will try to stay on your guard and walk on eggshells to avoid being the punching bag for your husband/boyfriend.
Finally, the build-up tension will blow up. Unfortunately, you are the easiest and the closest target for your boyfriend. They will try to unload their stress on you to get closure and regain control over their otherwise disturbed life.
- They may abuse and blame you for whatever wrong’s happening in their life. They might even blame the relationship.
- They may show aggression by breaking things.
- They will threaten you
- Followed by physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.
Abusers lurk for an opportunity to physically abuse you— that way, they will have the power to put the blame on you. So, they will try to ignite an argument and push you into the fire only to use it against you.
Things an abusive husband says to put the blame on you:
“You made me become this.”
“Your bad personality brings the monster out of me.”
“You are an awful girlfriend, always throwing me at the edge. Look what you made me do!”
This would be your cue to report the abuser and leave the relationship for good. Unfortunately, many women choose to stay out of hope or fear. Once you forgive their mistake and somehow blame yourself for their violence, the next stage will gaslight you horribly.
Always remember, even when you are somehow in the wrong— no one has the right to physically abuse you. Every relationship has problems; couples talk things out and outgrow their past mistakes. It all comes down to communication! On the other, beating isn’t justifiable anywhere!
Once the tension subsides and your relationship faces the harsh reality— your abusive boyfriend will do everything in his power to hide and cover that reality. They will shower you with apologies, love, gifts, and kisses to rekindle the relationship and make you forget about the incident.
This phase is often referred to as the ‘honeymoon stage’ post-abuse. The relationship would start to feel new, romantic, and strong. Your abusive husband/boyfriend would want to make you feel good and manipulate you through your emotions.
“Baby, one mistake isn’t worth throwing what we have. You know, our love is pure.”
This is essentially called ’emotional manipulation.’ They know what cards to play and words to use to make you forget the incident. Forgiving them would be like surrendering yourself to their manipulation.
Calm after the storm
After reconciliation, your boyfriend would show remorse and apologize continuously for the mistake. They will fill you with fake promises of how they would never repeat these mistakes.
They will continue to apologize and promise until you give in. Abusers become very persuasive right after the incident— they wouldn’t let you go out of sight to ensure nobody else gets dust about the incident.
They will keep you close until you agree to forgive them; that’s the only way to be sure that you wouldn’t rat them out to the police or your colleagues. Their fake pretense will almost make you believe that they have changed for good. However, please don’t believe everything that comes out of an abuser.
They act lovingly and caringly to ensure they aren’t at the threat of being exposed. In some situations, your partner may even try to blame others for their deed.
It’s easier to play the blame card to escape that critical position. So, they will create the most sympathetic and sad story to justify their actions. It’s common for abusers to blame their ‘awful boss,’ ‘toxic family,’ or work stress to have an easy escape.
Back to square one
Aggressive and controlling men like the power and control over you. Once they get the taste of it, they would want to satisfy their ego by physically violating you. They become more daring with their abusive acts each time you forgive them.
After a certain amount of time, your partner may never apologize or blame you. He would own up to his deeds like a sick bastard. It’s a vicious cycle for any lady out there. Please reach out here if you are in such a relationship and are scared to leave your abusive partner behind.
Types of abuse in a relationship
“Am I being emotionally abused?”
The term ‘abuse’ doesn’t only refer to physical violence. A person can be abused physically, mentally, sexually, emotionally, financially, and culturally.
Each type of relationship abuse can leave a person with severe mental traumas and scars. So, it is necessary to consider them all when you are in a threatening relationship. Many individuals may never know that they are being abused because it’s so normalized in our society.
Abusers use a set of tactics to manipulate and gaslight their partners. So it may become difficult to identify if you are being abused. Here are all the types of abuse an abuser commits to have control and power over you.
Please note: Abuse is a behavioral pattern for an abuser— it’s not a one-time thing/incident.
Physical abuse isn’t the only endangered situation in a relationship. Here are more signs of domestic abuse to look for and to save yourself:
Emotional abuse drains you mentally and chips away joy from your life, slowly and painfully. It’s dangerous because it’s often subtle and manipulative. It’s also the hardest to recognize and confront.
Society often hushes down emotionally abused victims because emotional abuse doesn’t certify as a major crime. Then again, society never really cares about your mental health until it starts affecting your physical health. However, you are better than that! Society and your family may not care, but you should care about your own mental health.
Look for these signs of emotional abuse and observe the mentioned emotional abuse examples to understand your situation:
They use ‘guilt trip’ to use you
Does your partner constantly make you feel guilty about your life decisions, preferences, and when you prioritize yourself?
“It’s alright. I never was a priority to anyone before— I would not be a priority now. I understand; I’m unlovable.”
Initially, you may feel bad about your partner and their sad life. However, you will soon realize that they are using emotional manipulation to get their way around.
Imagine this, you and your partner planned a date night together. However, you had to cancel it at the last minute for a personal emergency. Is your boyfriend understanding of your situation, or does he guilt trip you over something you have no power over?
“Yes, your busy life. You are always too busy for me. I understand; I’m not a priority.”
A healthy relationship would never put you through a guilt trip— always remember that!
They butcher your self-esteem
“My husband hates me. I hate myself; I don’t deserve love.”
Do you also have such thoughts? Does your boyfriend/husband make you feel unlovable? Dump/divorce him right now!
A relationship should empower, strengthen, and embrace you. If it makes you feel insignificant, less important, inadequate, and inferior— it’s not the relationship you want. Such individuals wouldn’t leave a chance to bring you down and make your life miserable.
They want to bring your self-esteem down to have power and control over you— to make you believe that you are unlovable and then use your lower self-esteem to have their way into your life.
Their insults and mockery often start subtle— they will call it constructive criticism and honesty. However, you will constantly find them insulting or mocking things you have no control over.
“You look fat. Please, it’s embarrassing.”
“Hide your teeth. They are too big.”
“Quit that dream already. It’s not worth it.”
They wouldn’t shy away from insulting you publicly to further bring down your self-esteem.
They will gaslight you
Abusive men never accept their faults and will gaslight you into believing that ‘these conflicts’ are somehow your fault.
Their gaslight often paints us in the wrong light. It’s not far away when you start questioning and doubting yourself. You might even blame yourself and apologize for things you have never done.
They make you feel unloved and unworthy
Emotional abusers are often unempathetic. They make you feel unheard and insignificant. An abuser would often dismiss your emotions as ‘being childish’ and ‘dumb.’
They are never there to comfort or console you, but mocking your emotions isn’t below them.
They isolate you
Abusers often want to ensure you are isolated from the world to not seek help from the outside world. They usually isolate you cunningly. You’d constantly find them bad-mouthing your friends and family until they profusely sow the seed of doubt in you.
The isolation will further make you codependent on your emotionally abusive husband/boyfriend.
Sexual abuse is ugly but can go easily unnoticed in relationships and marriages. Sexual abusers beg, manipulate, and gaslight you into providing them sexual pleasure. They might even use ‘guilt’ to receive sexual favors from you.
Sexual abuse accounts for everything that goes without your consent. If you are uncomfortable and they continue to force/beg you to have sex— it’s considered a sexual crime.
Coercive control usually happens in marriages and live-in relationships where the abuser has full access to your daily routine and safety. It’s a manipulation that isolates you from the world, monitors your daily events, and operates your decisions.
Coercively controlling behavior includes having control over all sorts of decisions in your life—
- Where you can go and cannot go.
- Who you can talk to, and you cannot talk to.
- Who you can meet and cannot meet.
- If you can get a job or not.
- If you can continue your education or not.
- What you should eat and what you should not.
Coercive control includes stalking you and checking your phone for daily updates. Your abuser might even make you keep call records to know who you have been with.
Coercive controlling is a type of covert abuse that often stays hidden— coercive abusers do everything in their power to keep their tactics hidden from the world and keep you isolated along with that.
Covert abuse can be easily hidden from the world and thus is the safe zone for abusers. It may include emotional and mental abuse. However, covert abuse can also include physical and sexual abuse— they simply hit you at places that can be easily covered.
What is mental abuse?
Mental abuse is a type of emotional abuse that broadly focuses on gaslighting a partner into believing they are the wrong or incompetent in the relationship.
It’s also called psychological abuse because it makes the victim doubt their reality and sense of judgment. Abusers will often try to size down the severity of their assault to manipulate you into believing that it wasn’t a big deal.
“I didn’t hit you that hard. See, you are not even bruised. I was being playful.”
“I didn’t hit hard; you are just so fragile. You can hit me with the same intensity, and it wouldn’t bother me one bit.”
Slapping, punching, kicking, and beating a person is the extreme level of physical abuse one can use against someone. However, there’s more to physical abuse than beating and punching. Each one is punishable by the law.
- Strangling, choking, throwing, and pushing a person to cause harm or instill fear is considered a crime by the law.
- Threatening a person of physical abuse.
- Scaring a person with sharp objects, a lighter, cigarette burns, or other objects.
- Pushing a person violently or restraining them by force.
Why do people stay in abusive relationships?
My condolences go to every woman still enduring battles for her kids or financial situation. I understand why so many women choose to stay in an abusive relationship, and the factors are limitless.
a) She may be struggling financially, which may never be as easy as it sounds. We often advise victims to simply leave their abusive partners. The woman in question often doesn’t have a place to go or the money to support herself. Their abusers often make them incapable of supporting themselves.
b) She may be too scared to leave: Victims of domestic violence are more scared of their abusive husband/boyfriend than anything. They don’t trust the law and constantly fear that things will backfire on them and their abusive boyfriend will worsen.
c) They don’t have family support: It might sound bizarre, but many families aren’t ready to support their children, especially if the relationship was against their will.
d) They don’t trust the law: Filing an FIR and winning a case against their abusive partner is a luxury many cannot afford. If they somehow lose the case, victims fear that their boyfriend/husband may make their life a living hell.
“I hit my boyfriend,” or “I slapped my boyfriend in retaliation; the court would never hear my appeal.” No, they will! The court knows how to differentiate between what is reactive abuse and what is mutual abuse.
e) They stay for their kids: When a woman is financially incapable of supporting her child, she would rather continue to accept the abuse than leave her kids with their abusive father.
How to get out of an abusive relationship?
What to do if my boyfriend hits me again? You leave, you fight, and you strike back. You are not weak; you are a woman! So, give your best when striking them down! Some women believe there’s no hope of getting out of the relationship because they are weak and incapable.
Trust me, there’s still a way, but you must fight for yourself. There are multiple women’s shelters, domestic violence support groups, and programs to protect women against domestic violence. You start by protecting yourself, and the law will help!
a) Please talk to your family/friends for support.
Your abusive partner will make sure to isolate you from the world. I would still urge you to get the word out and seek help externally. If your family isn’t ready to help you, your friends will give away the world to save you. Make amends and get the word out.
b) Strike back.
They can only scare you until you allow them to scare you. Strike back in defense until help reaches you. Reactive abuse is your chance to fight back under the protection of the law. Reactive abuse isn’t the same as mutual abuse. Mutual abuse is done by both parties to intentionally injure their partners. However, reactive abuse is self-defense against domestic violence. Give your best!
c) Collect evidence and leave.
You’d need the plan to get out of the relationship without making your partner suspicious. So, make a plan and execute it with calmness. I don’t want you to be scared while making the escape.
Be bold and ready to strike back if something goes wrong. Keep safety tools (it can be pepper spray or pockets full of pepper) for yourself to fight when needed.
Don’t hesitate to put the pepper right in their eyes when they strike you because they wouldn’t hesitate to hurt you.
As soon as you reach the police station, file an order of protection, restraining orders, or domestic violence charges. The laws may be different from country to country. However, both laws apply to married/divorced/live-in couples.
How to get a restraining order? You would need evidence to support your complaint. You can record or have a tape of your husband. Your bruises and medical reports would be enough as well.
d) Don’t surrender to their fake apologies.
If you are a victim of emotional abuse, please don’t fall for their words. Love shouldn’t make you feel insignificant. The minute your partner starts disrespecting you is the time you should leave! No one should make you compromise your self-respect or self-love.
You will find domestic violence helpline numbers for each city on google. Don’t hesitate to reach out! The longer you wait, the bolder your abusive partner will get. It’s better to get hurt overcoming a traumatic breakup than to endure an abusive relationship.
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