Domestic violence may start when one partner feels the need to control and dominate the other. Abusers may feel this need to control their partner because of low self-esteem, extreme jealousy, difficulties in regulating anger and other strong emotions, or when they feel inferior to the other partner in education and socioeconomic background. Some men with very traditional beliefs may think they have the right to control women, and that women aren’t equal to men.
This domination then takes the form of emotional, physical or sexual abuse. Studies suggest that violent behavior often is caused by an interaction of situational and individual factors. That means that abusers learn violent behavior from their family, people in their community and other cultural influences as they grow up. They may have seen violence often or they may have been victims themselves.
Children who witness or are the victims of violence may learn to believe that violence is a reasonable way to resolve conflict between people. Boys who learn that women are not to be valued or respected and who see violence directed against women are more likely to abuse women when they grow up. Girls who witness domestic violence in their families of origin are more likely to be victimized by their own husbands.
Alcohol and other chemical substances may contribute to violent behavior. A drunk or high person will be less likely to control his or her violent impulses.
Goldsmith, T. (2006). What Causes Domestic Violence?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/what-causes-domestic-violence/000344
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
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