By Rikki Schwab
February includes Valentine’s Day, and a lot people relate this month to love. We love all kinds of things throughout our lives, especially pets and people. When we fall in love, it can be hard to embrace because of the fear that it may one day not exist, or won’t be the same. There are people who unfortunately never experience true love, empathy and compassion from other people and end up desperate to be loved, wanted and needed.
I am not saying there is anything wrong with these individuals, but this desperation can lead to issues in relationships and life itself. Sometimes young women will date a man a lot older because they don’t have or haven’t had a father in their life. Others have been abused and either run away from relationships to drugs, etc., and feel no self worth, or they need a lot of love to validate them.
When this occurs, people end up in abusive situations that may include domestic violence — a significant issue in relationships, but also for law enforcement. Many officers have been killed on domestic violence calls because during an arrest, the abused person turns on the officer to protect the abuser.
Any time emotions are involved in a situation, it can be very intense. This is why there is the term “crime of passion.” In this passion and pain, people get lost, and their passion is expressed in a violent way. In the heat of an argument we may say things to hurt someone because they hurt us in return. It’s in these situations that escalation occurs and we may get to a point of no return. One person bashes another, and they lash out to “hurt more.” In the end there are two broken people, and words cannot be taken back.
It’s important to recognize patterns of escalation in relationships so that we have the ability to take a step back and breathe. As females we want to talk until it’s fixed, and men want to take a break and come back later. Everyone has their own way to regroup and re-address the problem.
If you are in a relationship where everything is bliss, and then there is a violent episode, you need to get out. This bliss will most likely return, but so will the violence that follows it. This priming occurs with abusers, even those who commit sex crimes. The first few months of relationships are the romantic phase. This is when we feel a strong connection and can’t get enough time together, but after this phase is when we see if we can bond and move forward together.
In an abusive relationship there is romantic phase, abuse, romantic phase, abuse, etc. The pattern keeps repeating. And after the abuse, there is flowers, and apologies, and “it’ll never happen again,” “I don’t know what happened to me, I just get so mad,” or “it’s your fault.” Next thing you know, you are accepting blame for someone else’s poor behavior and trying to fix yourself.
If you see this behavior, then you need to get out while you can. No one should control you, or your thoughts. And whether male or female, no one has the right to put their hands on you. This is not love. This control and these violent episodes will continue to escalate. Remember that we are all worth something, and there is someone, somewhere who will need us. Please remember there is help if you need it.
Rikki Schwab is the Winthrop Town Marshal.