Being in a situation of domestic violence, we often tend to underestimate the existing threat, and meanwhile the danger is growing and can not vanish by itself — the psychologist warns Anastasia Kovrov. It proposes5criteria that will help you to understand what is really going on.

domestic violence remains a widespread problem, including in our country. One of the factors that put the injured party in a violent relationship is the lack of social support, which is based on many stereotypes and lack of understanding of the phenomenon of violence. The victim (in most cases, this woman) if they decide to tell about what is happening in his family, then gets from others a lot of tips and recommendations that probably would be in a conflict situation, but are simply dangerous in the event of domestic violence.

For example, many have heard and even say phrases like “in every family there are conflicts”, “conflicts should be solved and not to give up/divorce”, “if you do not understand, it means not explained(a)”, “just do not provoke a conflict, and everything will be fine”, “nothing, make it up” and “lovers — just amuse”. But what if you have made repeated attempts “to discuss and decide" of the situation, but nothing brings the result, and the situation is even getting worse? “Explained” and are still found guilty(-Oh)? Tried “not to provoke" the dissatisfaction of partner, but it's not working? “put Up”, but not for long and certainly not permanently?..

In this case, perhaps it is not about family conflict and domestic violence, and that to perceive, and decide be otherwise. Being in a situation of domestic violence, we often tend to underestimate the existing threat, and meanwhile the danger is growing and can not vanish by itself.

in order to distinguish family conflict from domestic violence, let us consider 5 criteria, which can help to understand what is really going on in family relationships.

Criterion 1: roles

there are two aspects. First, the change of roles. In conflict situations there is a change of roles between abuser and victim, when the partners alternately take one or the other role. In a domestic violence situation, the aggressor is the aggressor, and the victim – the victims, the role of stable, rigid and do not replace each other.

second, the equality of positions. In a conflict situation both partners feel equal: arguing with each other, agree or disagree, seek to compromise or firmly defend their opinion, but it – based on feelings of equality of status of each. In a situation of violence and there is an imbalance of power: one is always take a position hierarchically higher than the position of the other, one is always more power and control in the relationship than the other.

Criterion 2: Emotions and feelings

of Course, in both cases, there is a lot of emotions, including the polar opposite. However, some of the most indicative of emotional processes, indicating domestic violence – is a constant, intense anxiety and fear of the partner, in particular the fear of the unpredictability of his reaction, before a possible aggressive response to the threat posed by the aggressor. Victims of domestic violence describe the feeling is like this: “I live as on a powder keg of stress waiting for his coming, because you never know what he will do, how to react, what will be the mood…”. In a conflict situation, fear is more likely to be associated with the loss of a partner, with the probability of an undesirable solution to the conflict, etc., but nothing is permanent and associated with the personality of another.

Criterion 3: Recurrence

Conflict is an objective clash of interests of the two parties, ie, it has some real, clear both the problem that underlies the controversy. Conflict, as a rule, has the character of a separate, stand-alone episode, which ends with a resolution of contradictions. And this is an important feature of the conflict — to tackle and complete.

domestic violence has a cyclical nature, that is, the problematic episodes occur systematically, with a tendency to become more and more difficult, and is clear and understandable to both the reason for missing. The aggressor gives conflicting messages, which are impossible to tune, even if you try to do it, and always finds reasons for dissatisfaction and accusations. The injured party can neither understand nor predict the cause of the reaction of the aggressor, because the same things cause different effects (“today, not what you say, and tomorrow — what you are silent”). And this points us to the following criterion.

Criterion 4:

the Conflict has for its object the solution of controversies and protection of their interests.

In a domestic violence situation, the aggressor is pursuing a hidden purpose of seizing power over the partner and establish over him total control. In attempts to clarify the cause of the contradictions, the aggressor will leave from the direct answer, give different versions and constructive discussion will not take place.

Criterion 5: Output

As mentioned above, the conflict can be solved, including partners independently, without the involvement of a third party.

domestic violence, in this sense, much more dangerous, it is not the end in itself, it is not easy to stop the efforts of one only of the injured party. Often to escape the cycle of violence the victim is the necessary legal and socio-psychological support.

Considered the above criteria will help to determine if you or your loved ones were in a difficult family situation (about the signs of domestic violence read more here: Signs that your partner — the aggressor. And ways to avoid violence in relationships). It is important to remember that the conflicts are absolutely normal and natural, they arise in families, among friends, colleagues and, indeed, wherever there are people. Domestic violence is an intentional seizure of power and control by one person over another and is a crime.

If you were in a situation of family violence and need support, you can contact the police and/or one of the centers listed on the website of the national coalition of “domestic violence" (Coaliția Națională "Viața fără Violență în Familie", website —

Article in Romanian "Simple certuri în familie sau violență? 5 diferențe":

< span itemprop="author">Anastasia Kovrov
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