Characteristics of Partner Violence
CJ 333 Section 02
Professor Michael Pozesny
January 21, 2014
Domestic violence is an ever growing problem in the United States. It is becoming increasingly difficult to narrow down specific traits that an abuser would have. There have been several studies on the characteristics and styles of abusive personalities. Any combination of certain traits could be a dangerous situation. Domestic violence and intimate partner violence is not particular to any age group although men are the majority abusers. There are a few characteristics that could antagonize an abusive situation such as mental health issues, socio-economic status, history of abuse, personality traits, and the effect of substance abuse on each of them. “Mental health diagnoses for batterers range from obsessive-compulsive, paranoid, borderline personality, passive-aggressive, narcissistic, and anti-social” (Gosselin, 2010, p.245). Many times these issues can progressively get worse the longer it goes untreated. For instance, narcissism is a personality disorder which can be very dangerous and unpredictable. “Patients with severe narcissistic personality disorder may present symptoms strikingly similar to those of borderline patients: general impulsivity, severe chaos in relations with significant others, severe breakdown in their capacity for work and emotional intimacy, and para-suicidal and self-mutilating behavior” (Kernberg & Yeomans, 2013, p.14). “Victims stated that more than 40 percent of spousal offenders were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the incident” (Gosselin, 2010, p. 250). Alcohol combined with a mental health issue can create a dangerous situation. An alcoholic suffering from a paranoid personality disorder are suspicious, jealous, distrustful, and detachment. They may exhibit several symptoms. Such as, “A strong tendency not to forgive real or imagined slights and insults. People with PPD nurture grudges for a long time. An angry and aggressive response in reply to imagined attacks by others. The counterattack for a perceived insult is often rapid. Suspicions, in the absence of any real evidence, that a spouse or sexual partner is not sexually faithful, resulting in such repeated questions as "Where have you been?" "Whom did you see?" etc., and other types of jealous behavior” (Brannon, 2009, pp.2). Without proper recognition and treatment, this can turn into a bad situation for those involved. It is all too easy to ignore a bad situation for fear of making it worse. Socio-economic status can impact a relationship in a negative way if the stress is not dealt with in a positive manner. “Poverty increases risk through effects on conflict, women’s power, and male identity. Violence is used as a strategy in conflict” (Jewkes, 2002, pp.1). When the income level is low, men can feel inadequate and can reflect those emotions onto those around them. It is easy to go after those that are convenient such as a spouse or partner. Money and finances can cause quite a bit of stress and when a man cannot control his income, he tries to control everything else around him, such as his wife or girlfriend. He can inflict fear and intimidation as well and attempt exhibit dominance towards people and pets by verbal or physical threats (Gosselin, 2010). A marijuana user that is living in poverty can become an abusive situation. “Relationship conflict, including insults and psychological abuse, is further escalated by the use/abuse of marijuana in groups of offenders who have already experienced high levels of stress” (Gosselin, 2010, p. 250). The high level of stress may be caused by the low amount of money coming into the home. Although marijuana is usually associated with calming effects, in an abusive person that may not always be the case and can have the opposite effect. A person with a violent past can continue...
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