if you use violence in your relationship, you are a batterer

Angry ManBatterers come from all walks of life – all cultures, all incomes, all ages, and religions. They are experts on the psychology of power, control, and violence. If you believe that some types of violence – maybe pushing, pulling, hitting, destroying things, throwing things, or getting in your partner’s face – are a normal part of a relationship, then you are in denial; furthermore, your violence will probably increase over time.

There is absolutely no justification for violence against your partner
Batterers vent their anger by putting themselves into situations where they have an excuse to push, shove, grab, or hit. Most batterers never think of themselves as people who could be so abusive that they would be arrested for it. All batterers will tell you that they never intended to leave bruises, blacken eyes, break bones, or cause heart attacks. The sophisticated abuser loves to attribute their violence to “causes” like child abuse, biology, and family dynamics. Those certainly play a part (although not all batterers come from violent homes), but the ultimate “cause” is the choice to use violence.

What if I was just trying to defend myself?
Almost every abuser will claim self-defense when they are arrested. More often than not, batterers tend to blame their partner for their abusive behaviors.  Some may even describe themselves as victims who are only trying to defend themselves against their partners. The truth is that batterers are always responsible for their own behavior. Victims should never be held responsible for the behaviors of their abuser.  Batterers are experts at blaming everyone–her, him, their childhood, the police, their drinking, their stress level, whatever—everyone and everything is at fault for the violence they committed – except themselves. No one deserves abuse or violence, and no one can be blamed for it but the abuser.

It wouldn’t have happened if I was sober.
Alcohol and drugs do not CAUSE violence, but enough of them can make violence seem reasonable. If you have ever used force on a partner, you always have the potential to do it again and must always be alert and always ready to de-escalate. Watch your negative self-talk, put your hands in your pockets, or call time-out and go for a walk. Alcohol and drug use are not compatible with keeping you, your partner or your children safe.

Can I stop the violence?
Yes, but only ii you are serious about learning to live a violence-free lifestyle. Batterers are intimidation experts and surround themselves with people who won’t confront them. The only way for them to change is to experience the consequences of being abusive, one of which is being confronted and challenged about it. This usually happens through the legal system – by being arrested, convicted, jailed, and forced to attend a Batterers Intervention Program.  The possibility to return to using power, control, and violence will always be present, which is why they are still considered batterers, even when they have been nonviolent – much like an alcoholic who doesn’t drink, is still an alcoholic.

If you use violence in your relationship, or if you know someone who does, consider contacting a Certified Batterer Intervention Program for assistance. Wild Iris can refer you to a batterer intervention program that is designed to help people understand and change their abusive behavior.