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Marital discord and domestic violence | Can you tell the difference?

Not getting along perfectly when you live with someone on a daily basis; of course it can happen. But it's not always clear whether it's just a domestic dispute or domestic violence!

That's why we want to let you know about some boundaries that should not be crossed.

Here are 5 questions to help you distinguish between a domestic dispute and domestic violence

1- Is my partner trying to gain power over me through discussion?

Healthy relationship

No, both people feel equal in the discussion and in the relationship. Neither fears the other. The purpose of the discussion is to give one's opinion on a subject, not to control the other. Each person is free to make his or her own arguments about the topic.

Abusive relationship

Yes, I feel that my partner has more power in the discussion and in the relationship. I don't feel equal when discussing a topic. I often feel crushed, belittled, not free to say or do what I think. I am sometimes afraid of his reactions. I walk on eggshells when I talk to him. I feel that what I say or do is never good enough for my partner.

2- What is the purpose of the discussion?

Healthy relationship

Convince the other person of his or her point of view with arguments related to the subject. Everyone feels free to express their point of view. The goal is to express one's point of view on a situation or subject.

Abusive relationship

The goal of the discussion is not really the topic at hand, but rather to dominate the other person. One person does not feel free to express him/herself; this person is afraid of his/her partner's reactions. One person may choose not to express him/herself in order to prevent the other person from exploding.

3- What happens during the discussion?

Healthy relationship

Everyone expresses themselves, the tone may rise, but there are no insults aimed at denigrating the other, nor aggressive gestures. Neither partner is afraid of the other's reaction. Each partner feels free to express his or her own opinion on the subject of the discussion. Everyone feels free to express themselves. If the discussion gets too tense, the partners can agree to talk about it later, take a walk to clear their minds, or simply say that this is a topic on which they agree to disagree. To use the popular expression, sometimes it's best to end it by saying, "We agree to disagree!

Abusive relationship

During the discussion, there is a lot of tension in the air, one of the people is afraid that his or her partner will explode, there may be the presence of various verbal aggressions (insults, yelling, mocking, denigration), threats, violence, throwing objects, breaking an object (e.g. punching a door or a wall), physically attacking the person, emotional blackmail, control, etc. The goal is to dominate and denigrate the other person.

4- Who comes out on top every time?

Healthy relationship

In a healthy relationship, after a discussion, each person can come out a winner in turn or even both at the same time. In fact, in a healthy relationship, the goal is not necessarily to win, but rather to get your point of view across in order to make the best decision possible. Everyone is open to hearing the other's point of view. There is room for compromise and negotiation. Each feels equal to the other.

Abusive relationship

In an abusive relationship, the person who is verbally or physically abusive during the discussion is usually the same person. The other partner who feels attacked may react in the same way as the aggressor or gradually lose confidence in him or her and become more and more withdrawn.

5- What is the impact on the other person during the discussion?

Healthy relationship

There is no particular impact of one partner on the other, because each is equal and each feels free to react and express his or her opinion.

Abusive relationship

The impact is on one of the partners, the one who is being abused in the discussion. This partner may react strategically in order to avoid the other's attacks and may not feel free to react and express his or her opinion. The effect of domestic violence can cause the victim's self-esteem to gradually decline and can have several psychological, physical and economic consequences.

Of course, these clues are only meant to help us understand certain situations, but they are not exhaustive.

If you would like to know more about this subject, do not hesitate to contact Sos violence conjugale confidentially 24 hours a day at: 1-800-363-9010.

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