Abuse that leads to domestic violence includes controlling behaviors that attempt to manipulate another person. There might be a great deal of verbal and emotional abuse that includes name calling, putting down the person, and engaging in activities that will help the abuser maintain power over the other individual, this is domestic violence. The Duluth Model of Power and Control as well as the Duluth Model of Equality showcase specific behaviors that are indicative of abuse, while the Duluth Model of Equality focuses on specific behaviors that indicate a healthy relationship that is safe for all parties and children.Most characteristics of a person are developed over their lifetime, which is why researchers point to domestic violence as learned behavior. Many children see in their homes abusive relationships that stem from drug or alcohol use, fighting due to money problems or neglect, or any variety of hardship within a home which leads them to have a skewed perception of what a relationship between people is supposed to be like, all they see is domestic violence. This is the information they take with them into their own relationships and the cycle of abuse continues. In many cases of domestic violence, the abuser feels entitled; let’s use respect as an example; and if they don’t receive respect from their partner, they lash out at them. Whether this action is a learned behavior or not, abusers can choose how they treat other people. No one is entitled to belittle another person, harm them in any way, or kill them.For any individual looking at serious relationships, consider the behavior of the other person. If they exhibit personality traits that can lead to violent behaviors, the relationship should be evaluated. Some things to consider: is the person violent or aggressive, do they feel the need to have control, is the other person jealous of other relationships, does your partner have extreme mood shifts, do they have access to weapons, do they come from a family that was violent and not loving, and are you concerned with any of your partners behaviors.It is best to address certain concerns with behavior with caution. Women tend to stay in abusive relationships for many reasons, fear being one of them, and that they love the person that hurts them. It can be said that if someone truly loved you they wouldn’t hurt you physically. That’s hard to chew when you’re in a relationship, but it really is the truth.”I love the enthusiasm of our interaction, but when we get on a heated roll, I hate the destruction of our mutual ambush.” Sound familiar?Sometimes violence in a relationship can go two ways: from him to her and from her to him. You may have heard me refer to this as interactional relationship abuse.It is relationship abuse wherein each party carries the control alternating overpowering the other. In the example introducing this article we see a stage ripe for an interactive discussion, heated argument and the use of abusive behavior to get one party to listen and enlist in the belief system of the other.This common interaction invariably runs havoc when the couple is not practiced in “cooldown time-out” protocol. And moreover, verbal, emotional and physical violence can erupt for couples who are not accustomed to mutual respect and honoring the space and integrity of one another.Failed Cooldown Time-OutWhen one person is flooded with their own intensity and/or experiencing the outpouring of the other person, a time-out may be requested…simply to diffuse the energy and cool it down. Both individuals appreciate the concept; however, in the heat of the moment, one party may not let up and let go. And herein lies the problem.For example, let’s say person A declares, “Time-out” and person B feels compelled to remain on the pursuit of closure and fulfilling their unmet needs from the unfinished interaction. This then is the stage for an “abusive aggressor-violated victim” assault.Then this assaultive behavior becomes the trigger for subsequent abusive aggression on the part of the violated party. Before you know it, you are entangled in a romantic free-for-all with two bulls locking horns until one falls down.Successful Cooldown Time-OutNow since we know that we choose our behavior-it does not choose us-we can appreciate the fact that those accustomed to failing at cooldown attempts can instead be successful. Here are some pointers to practice…1) Be mindful of what sets you off.2) Cultivate sensitivity to your own internal cues of escalating emotion.3) Hold reverence for the same in your partner-i.e., their external triggers and internal cues.4) Let the heightened affective state (emotion) be your friend, not your enemy.5) Yield to the signal that intuitively says, “Back off.”6) Trust that you are more likely to get your needs meet when the two of you revisit this exchange…calmed down.7) Choose actions that keep you safe and ensure your partner’s safety over violence at all times.Practicing effective time-out will provide you and your partner with strategies for successfully dealing with conflict. These relationship skills will add to your employing fair fighting routines that maintain honor and respect.
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