Domestic violence is an incredibly pervasive problem in our state, but if we ever want to truly stamp it out, it’s going to take more than putting offenders behind bars. We have to get to the root of the problem and work to alter behaviors that in some cases may have gone on for generations or be due to uncontrollable personal factors.
If you have been charged with domestic violence, an experienced Fort Worth criminal defense attorney may be able to get your charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed by arguing that you don’t need punishment, but help. In this post, we’ll explain the most common reasons why people tend to engage in acts of domestic violence, and what help is available to you.
Experience of Abuse as a Child
Domestic abuse is a learned behavior. Some people have learned it from popular culture or friends, but most pick it up from their families of origin. If you were abused as a child, or if you witnessed abuse when you were a child, you are at a higher risk of abusing others in your adulthood.
It’s not just imitation, either. If your parent gained control over others through abuse, you will be prone to seeking control over others through abuse. If no one ever stopped the abuser or reported them to authorities, you may not even realize that abusive actions are punishable by law.
Bottom line? Many people with abusive backgrounds simply repeat the past in their adult relationships. They use abuse to deal with their own lack of self-image and anger problems. They often struggle to trust others and may not form healthy emotional connections due to past abuse. People who were abused as children may need psychological treatment more than punitive measures to learn a healthier way of relating to others.
Destructive Thought Processes
Two kinds of emotional dynamics typically exist in an abuser’s mind. One is that they listen to an internal critical voice when triggered. Another is that they believe another person is responsible for their happiness… and unhappiness. Let’s look at both destructive thought processes in detail.
If you have an internal critical voice, you may respond defensively in stressful moments. Thoughts like “I’m not legitimate unless I gain the upper hand in this situation” or “She’s making me look weak” are common defenses that pit you against your partner. When you see your partner as an enemy who is threatening your sense of self-worth, you may be tempted to retaliate with abuse.
If you secretly think that another person makes you whole or happy, you may have what some psychologists call a fantasy bond. If your partner does something that displeases you or arouses anger or fear in you, domestic violence may result.
The more you listen to either of these destructive thought processes, the more likely you will be to act out when provoked. Counseling can train you to stay calm when provoked, choose non-violent ways to handle anger, and gain a healthy sense of self-esteem that doesn’t depend on another person.
Usually someone with control issues will have anger issues. Abusers typically want total control over victims. If the victim is unable to perform up to the abuser’s expectations of control, the abuser may lash out in anger. The abuser may also believe that the behavior is justified by the victim’s actions, because the abuser feels provoked or threatened. Abusers with control issues need psychological help to overcome distorted thinking patterns.
How a Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help
An experienced Texas criminal defense attorney who has handled domestic violence cases in the past will be aware of the many different reasons that lead people to act out and will what to say to increase your chances of being admitted into a treatment program rather than put behind bars. Reach out today for a free consultation and learn about the options for your case.
About the Author:
Brandon Fulgham has an in-depth understanding of both Texas law and Texans themselves. Before practicing law here, he received his undergraduate degree from TCU, and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduation, he worked in District Attorneys’ offices as a prosecutor, building cases designed to put people behind bars. Now, he uses that knowledge to protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth, making sure they receive the strongest possible defense when they find themselves on the wrong side of the law. He has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, Fort Worth Magazine, and others.