We tend to fear the unknown, but perhaps the person we know best is the one most likely to harm us.
Research from the U.S. Department of Justice shows that two thirds of attacks against women are committed by a husband, partner, or someone she knows. An estimated 1,500 women are killed by their husbands and boyfriends each year.
Of course, domestic violence does not stop with women being beaten by men. Although they are the statistical majority of victims, both genders may suffer from domestic violence at the hands of a loved one. Domestic abuse occurs in families of all kinds, including gay, lesbian, and straight couples, reports Psycology Today.
So what makes people hurt the ones they love?
The Psychology Behind Domestic Violence in Texas
Domestic violence is a complex issue, and there are many driving psychological factors behind the actions of domestic abusers. Experts have identified a number of common trends in the backgrounds and thought patterns of those who commit domestic violence crimes.
Here are some of those psychological reasons behind family violence:
Violence During Childhood
Research reveals that people who commit violent crimes were often exposed to family violence at home during their childhood. You are more likely to commit domestic violence crimes against others if you were the victim of domestic violence as a child, or you witnessed a loved one abusing someone else.
As a child growing up in a violent home, you may have learned to see physical and verbal violence as an acceptable way to solve problems and establish control.
When you learn to see violence as normal, you may be hindered from being able to control your emotions, trust those around you, and build healthy relationships.
Even though both genders may commit domestic assault, some believe the attitudes reinforced by the patriarchal nature of historical society create an environment encouraging male perpetrators.
Because of false expectations that men should be stronger, more powerful, and more macho than females, it is thought that men may be driven to violence and rage when their masculinity is threatened.
Destructive Inner Voice
Regardless of gender, you may feel driven to commit domestic violence acts by what some psychiatric professionals call an “inner voice.”
This inner voice is a toxic pattern of negative thinking that may result in you feeling harmed and needing to seek revenge. Examples of destructive inner thoughts may be:
- My partner or family member is laughing at me and I need to teach them a lesson.
- He/she does not respect me and I need to show her who is boss.
- He/she is probably sleeping with someone else.
Understanding the psychological factors behind domestic violence may be integral in its prevention. If you relate to any of these scenarios, it may be worth your time to talk with a professional about it.
Preventing Texas Domestic and Family Violence
By learning to recognize triggers, you allow yourself an opportunity to realize that the destructive emotions you experience — while powerful — do not actually define you.
Separating yourself from these violent impulses can help you see that you have the choice to not act on them.
When you choose not to act on thoughts and emotions generated by childhood trauma, toxic masculinity, or a critical inner voice, you can instead act in the best interest of you and your family.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with domestic violence issues, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
Already facing family violence charges? The consequences that come with being convicted can make it even more difficult to change your behaviors, improve yourself, and make amends to your loved ones.
The best way to stop domestic violence is to tackle the root causes, not hammer someone with punitive measures. Protect your rights and the future of your family.
About the Author:
After getting his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Jeff Hampton began practicing criminal law in Texas in 2005. Before becoming a defense attorney, he worked as a prosecutor for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – experience he uses to anticipate and cast doubt on the arguments that will be used against his clients. Over the course of his career, he has helped countless Texans protect their rights and get the best possible outcome in their criminal cases. His skill has earned him recognition from the National Trial Lawyers (Top 100 Trial Lawyers) and Avvo (Top Attorney in Criminal Defense, Top Attorney in DUI & DWI, 10/10 Superb Rating), and he is Lead Counsel rated.