“For every moment you stay in such a relationship, the violence and abuse eats away at you, piece by piece, until there is nothing left of you…You look at your reflection and you are a shadow of your former self…in fact you are a ghost” (Royles, 2013)
In simple terms domestic violence is a pattern of behaviour or an action which abuses or violates another. It is an abuse of one person’s power, control and influence over another.
Yet domestic violence is not at all simple, it is extremely complex because it involves Verbal, Emotional, Physical, Psychological, Sexual and Financial elements, and these elements show themselves in many different forms, and the impact and effects on those suffering either directly or indirectly can and often are devastating leading to long term trauma, physical injury, emotional vulnerability, psychological imbalances, and even death through suicide or murder.
Domestic violence can, and often does have the ability to damage and destroy lives forever, and yet despite this real risk of damage and turmoil, the majority of those being abused in some way, don’t fully recognise the risks which are apparent. This is generally because they might have learnt to minimise their own thoughts, feelings, behaviours and actions, in order to still be able to function and exist within the relationship or within the ever present atmosphere, and cycle of behaviour caused by their partner, ex partner or close family member who is abusing them.
Where a legal process is activated, there can be a sense of losing even more control of the situation, and the formality makes the process seem devoid of empathy, understanding or compassion. It is a difficult journey to go on, and one that can potentially further impact on the emotional, physical, psychological and financial wellbeing of those involved.
In order to come out of the situation as intact as possible, key components need to be in place in order to enable a positive outcome.
For this to happen a case needs to be built, along with key information and documentary evidence being compiled to make your case robust. taking a case through the appropriate channels can often be painful and distressing.
In a way in order to enable a positive outcome, individuals need to be in a healthy place emotionally and psychologically, in addition to being in a place of clarity and fully functioning…when domestic violence is present this isn’t where many individuals are. There is confusion, distress, sorrow, grief, loss, anxiety and anger.
Which is where ROYLES comes in…
I provide the investigation, and case-building service for individuals who have experienced domestic violence, who have reported it to the appropriate authorities such as Police, Solicitors etc, and have been told that there is ‘insufficient evidence to go ahead with a prosecution’ By reviewing you case, investigating further, gathering evidence and compiling a ‘robust’ case to re-present to the authorities, or to instigate a private prosecution. I also help individuals negotiate their way through this difficult time in their lives.
This information can then be used by the individual themselves, or be provided to a legal representative so they are in a stronger position to focus on the legal documentation and legal system steps. We work with the individual from an emotional perspective and provide the safe environment and platform to work through the emotions, and explore ways to help the individual to look at options to repair, recover, and rebuild the self…
If you have experienced domestic violence and feel that you have not been supported, taken seriously, or helped by the authorities to get justice and clarity then get in touch…
How can I help you
The services that I offer through ROYLES LTD, helps individuals hold onto ‘what matters’ through: Investigation, Case-building & Emotional Support.
Why am I in a position to help?
1) I’m a former police officer who spent my career investigating, gathering evidence & building cases
2) I’m a qualified psychotherapist & able to provide the emotional & psychological support needed to negotiate through this process; which is a unique service that I offer
3) I’m a national & international ‘expert’ on controlling behaviour & domestic violence so I’m not phased by ‘bullies’ either (www.tinaroyles.com)
If you need help with preparing a case, having a case reviewed, or an investigation into an issue or dispute please get in touch 🙂
So What is Domestic Violence and What are the complexities?
Domestic violence sometimes involves, a type of conditioning or grooming pattern by the person who ‘perpetrates’ the abuse. The conditioning or grooming can be built up over both a short yet intense or lengthy period of time. It can be one of the main influences and key factors for a person who is being abused to stay in the relationship. It is also why, when some have an opportunity to leave and to break free, they are in fact unable to do so, out of fear and uncertainty.
Fear of a number of things, such as fear that they may never be left alone by their partner. Fear that they might not be able to cope in the ‘world’ without their partner. Through fear of loneliness. Loss of a sense of love and belonging.
Uncertainty of what will happen to them, or any children, where will they go, where will they live, what support will be offered, how will they cope financially and emotionally, what will others think and say, will they feel secure and safe, or will they be ‘walking on eggshells’ and always constantly looking over their shoulder.
There are many different names given to or associated with the term domestic violence, such as domestic abuse, intimate partner violence, abusive relationships, etc which can bring an element of confusion for the abused partner, especially when it is referred to as family violence, or violence against women. (As domestic violence happens regardless of gender or sexual orientation).
The term domestic violence has historically not been a specific criminal offence although countries are constantly exploring new ways of addressing and combating the problem.
Domestic violence has been like an ‘umbrella word’ within a number of legal and advocate systems for a multitude of other offences that encapsulate the behaviours that emerge in an abusive and violent relationship such as for example; assault, harassment, unlawful imprisonment, kidnap, rape, murder etc.
This ‘umbrella word’ has no social, historic or trans-generational boundaries – it can and might happen to anyone of us at any point in our lives.
Whilst a lot of information is available around the physical impact of domestic violence, it is often the emotional, psychological, and controlling element of it that is hard to comprehend for most, therefore here I will focus on this.
When you hear someone say verbal abuse what is it that springs into your mind?
What is the image that you already hold, and where have those thoughts or messages come from?
As a qualified psychotherapist I often work with individuals and couples where their relationships have come into difficulties; whether they have drifted apart, the communication between them has become fraught or stopped, whether they have fallen out of love, whether there has been infidelity on one or both parts, perhaps little irritations have become serious issues within the relationship and the atmosphere has become tense, and conflict and arguments have become ever more present in their daily lives.
As part of the nature of relationship counselling many things come into play, but what I hear most often is the phrase; ‘well everyone argues in a relationship, its natural’. In fact research has indicated in the past that 70% of couples who seek relationship counselling have an element of domestic violence within their relationships.
Domestic violence isn’t the odd argument that most couples engage in, it is an issue where certain behaviours, patterns, threats, communication and action cause injury or the threat of it to another by way of criticism, intimidation, manipulation, abuse of power over another, exerting dominance to gain control, systematically conditioning the other to be compliant, pressurising someone to think, feel, behaviour in a way which is harmful emotionally, and physically to their overall health and well being, and abusing them in every possible imaginable way.
It is about the tone of voice, the emphasis on how the words are used and spoken, it is about how this form of communication is used to knock the others confidence, using put downs to humiliate, making jokes at the others expense, to break down or erode the others self esteem, to make them question every judgement or decision making ability.
To outsiders looking in, some of the points above may sound strange or perhaps trivial, and if taken in isolation may not seem to have such a detrimental impact and affect. However if any of these behaviours continue, or are coupled together, it creates a pattern and overall picture of the unhealthy, negative and damaging relationship that the victim is subjected too.
So no, domestic violence is not the battle of wills, the one off disagreements, or differences of opinions. It is not about the way in which someone has learnt to debate, or be assertive.
It is about how one person becomes aware of, and learns that by using communication they can get their own way, their needs met, or pain soothed. They do this by abusing their position or trust, through threats, humiliation, intimidation, bullying, manipulation, coercion, control and abuse. They work on perfecting this behaviour by practice and by frequency, amending it to fit with their individual criteria over time.
Often emotional abuse works hand in hand with verbal abuse, because the words are used to cause hurt or pain through criticism, name calling, allocating blame, and creating confusion for the victim. There is then a sense of the ‘goal posts constantly shifting’ and the victim feels lost and doesn’t know how to react, act or what to say for the best. They are then constantly walking on egg shells, on edge or looking over their shoulder in a state of anxiety and fear.
Most perpetrators will blame the victim, saying they must have provoked or caused the behaviour. So in essence telling the victim that it is their fault that they were shouted at. If they ‘towed the line’ or did ‘what was expected’ then everything would be alright.
At first a victim might be strong enough not to absorb this blame, and might resist the notion that it was somehow down to them. However most perpetrators will continue to break down any strength and inner resolve, until a victim feels responsible, takes the blame, and begins to own the guilt. Leading often to withdrawal from others through shame, embarrassment, disgust, self hatred, and through fear.
Without support and intervention the emotional abuse penetrates internally and becomes apparent through elements of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, a dependency on alcohol or drugs as a means of alleviating the pain, or in an attempt to cope, or turning to food as a way of comfort; so over eating or actually as a way of exerting control in their own lives some turn to limiting their own food intake and become anorexic.
Others may feel so consumed with pain, anger, hurt, isolation that they begin to self harm out of a belief it will somehow release some of the emotions, or as a way of reaching out for help. Others; (including myself in the past) feel that they are trapped in the relationship or the situation and cannot see how things will change, they may begin to lose hope and see no other way out so will attempt suicide and for some they will actually succeed in taking their own lives.
It is often hard to explain to someone who has not experienced the nature of domestic violence either directly or indirectly how your resolve and strength can be eroded and lost sufficiently, that you feel so worthless, and unimportant, consumed with pain and self loathing that you think the world would be better off without you, and that your only option is contemplating suicide.
“I began to drown out the thoughts in my head with a bottle of Vodka. Not content with drowning out these memories, I wanted to block them out forever. I reached for the packet of Paracetamol and after a while I felt myself drifting away.” (Royles, T. 2013).
Some people cannot comprehend such a decision, and often call those that take this course of action selfish and cowardly, when in fact those that contemplate this are working from the rationale that it is the only option and that others would be better off.
Such is the power of emotional, verbal and psychological abuse.
Yet these elements of abuse have historically not been taking into account or in fact been taken seriously and although there is a slight shift in some countries to attempt to include or begin to focus on these elements; sadly it will be many decades down the line where domestic violence is addressed appropriately and as a whole.
It is not just with society in general, that a mindset needs to change around violence and abuse so that it is seen as unacceptable, but even within the mindsets of those who claim to have an awareness of what domestic violence is, or for those that have suffered domestic violence directly or indirectly, there is still the need for awareness of the full nature and elements of what domestic violence entails, and the complexities it brings, and the impact and effect that it has, is brought out into the open so that more people who are suffering can recognise what is happening to them, and become aware of the support and resources that are potentially available for them in order for them to seek help.
“If you leave, you will be able, over time, to rebuild some of the broken and damaged pieces. If these pieces are left broken and damaged, they continue to cause harm, and in effect they have the potential to become a ticking time bomb inside you” (Royles, 2013)