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The home is the most important place on earth; it is where we are fed not just physical, but emotional and spiritual food. The home forms the foundation for our beliefs and how we view others, and it acts as an ecosystem where events should interact harmoniously for the good of those in the environment. The words “home” and “violence” don’t seem to belong in the same sentence, yet domestic violence must be addressed because it is a life-threatening sickness that can and has destroyed entire households. Today’s article does not seek to help you live with this disease, but to teach you how to recognize it and encourage perpetrators to get help and victims to get out.

Violence, as with all behaviors, does not come out of a vacuum. It has a starting place, generally with a child having to watch or endure terror as someone they love or they themselves are beaten, not just emotionally, but physically. Over time, the child has to develop coping skills; these skills will determine whether they will be abused or become an abuser once they form their own household.

An abuser is hard to spot at first; they can be charming and kind, and they often establish themselves as a parental figure or a true friend. They can seem to have their stuff together and portray you as the one in constant need of guidance. This pattern can start by them constantly pointing out your shortcomings, which then snowballs into insults, humiliation, frustration, withholding of love or sex to maintain control, and creating an atmosphere of fear and dominance through a barrage of physical and emotional pain.

The person on the receiving end of this abuse is generally paralyzed with fear. Because their security and stability is threatened, they operate in a constant state of confusion and exhaustion, with little or no confidence or any idea about how to get help. An abused individual’s defenses have been infiltrated and obliterated. If you are reading this, and you recognize yourself as a victim, my prayer for you is that God will give you the courage to leave.

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