Fear as the driver of Domestic Violence, Power and Control

In my previous blog. I had a quick look at the use of fear as a means of power and control.  I did talk about how fear can produce instinctive reactions of fight or flight.  In the instance of power and control issues fear produces a conditioned response.  The person who uses fear in their arsenal of control has learnt to do that usually by witnessing such power abuse, or by being a victim of such behaviour.  Now I believe that deep down on an instinctive level perpetrators of violence and abuse know that what they are doing is wrong.  I know that this is kind of counter intuitive but it really drives at an important aspect of the whole discussion that I wish to have around fear.

We might well ask ourselves if someone knows what they are doing  that is they are cognisant of the results of their actions and know it to be wrong then why would they continue.  There are some people who have mental health (psychiatric) disorders but generally they do not know that what they are doing is wrong so we will put them aside for the moment. There are others who have so called personality disorders, these are sometimes hard to distinguish from psychiatric disorders however they generally have some idea that what they are doing is wrong.   Then there are others who know no other way to behave (still not an excuse) and another group of people who are deliberate in their actions. Apart from the people who truly suffer from  psychosis the major driver in the above groups of people is fear.  And they will not change because of fear.

The first fear I will look at is the fear of outcome.   What will happen to this relationship if I do not control it.  Now there may be a number of outcomes in a relationship if people stop using power and control (or violence) .  Some of these may be seen as negative some as positive.  Most people will concentrate on the short term outcomes that they may face.  Largely these are centred around accountability.  If people give control away there is some likelihood that they have to take responsibility for their actions and pay a price .   This price may range from short term separation to divorce, it may involve court or police action and they may have relationships with their families seriously disrupted.  This is the first barrier to change.  These perpetrators are really caught up with how awful these things may be in their life and will go to extraordinary ends to avoid these happening such is the strength of their fear of these outcomes.  The biggest fear in amongst these kind of situations is the unknown.  People imagine all sorts of possible outcomes. some of which are rational fears and some are completely irrational.  With the fear of becoming irrational myself through lack of sleep I will leave my blog here for the day.  I will continue with this subject in my next blog.

Take care

Paul

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