It’s a reality of life that couples sometimes disagree–sometimes even loudly. Sometimes, an argument can get out of hand, leading one to accuse the other of domestic violence. If you’ve recently been arrested over such an argument, and it’s your first offense, you might be able to explain it as a disagreement that went too far. But if this is not your first time being accused of domestic violence, but perhaps even the third or fourth, that suggests a pattern of abuse. As uncomfortable as it might be, it’s probably time to look at the underlying causes behind these behavior patterns. In many cases, if not most, it comes down to a need to exert power and control over your partner.
Power dynamics in abusive relationships can often be subtle and sometimes quite overt–but so prevalent is the dynamic of control in abusive relationships that California has even passed a “coercive control” law, which enables victims to seek a protective order simply by providing evidence of a “pattern of behavior that unreasonably interferes with a person’s free will and personal liberty.” The bottom line is that if you are a repeat offender, there’s a high probability that you have control issues regarding your partner. So, let’s delve into this idea and see what we can learn.
Understanding Power and Control in Relationships