Abuse and escalation
“He hit me, for the very first time. I was with him for 4 years and this was the first time. I thought this day would never come and he cannot do this. But he did. It was the last strand and that exact moment I decided to quit.”
“The flames were everywhere, along with the incredible pain was my heart-shattering. How can he do these to the woman who stood by him for 23 years? I gave birth to his children and still?”
“The insults and name-calling were getting worse. One day he asked if he slaps me what will I do? I just looked at him in disbelief. Another day right after we had a family dinner and doing the dishes he stood beside me and said that his friend pushed his wife down during a fight. He was curious about reading my expression. An alarm went off in my head. Then he asked what I will do if he did the same.”
These are comments from survivors of domestic abuse.
Speaking with the survivors a common pattern can be noticed most times. No one expected things to escalate and underestimated the length of how quickly the abuse can escalate.
Also, there is an “aha moment” when the victim knows that things might get out of hand. Something clicks and they have a gut feeling that that makes them scared for their own lives, children and loved ones, and/or pets.
If you feel that the abuse in your relationship has escalated, understanding escalation can prevent further harm to you or your family. It is important to know that this fear is valid. It is an instinctive moment that changes everything.
Escalation is when abuse gets worse, either suddenly or gradually.
Abusers typically escalate when they feel they are losing control over the relationship, often because they feel that the independence of their partner has increased in some way or that their partner will leave. An abuser may test out whether they can get away with crossing a line that has never been crossed before, with the intention of creating a new and deeper level of power and control when they fear they are losing it.
Gradual escalation happens more slowly and might look like insults that steadily become crueler and more hurtful.
Sudden escalation happens when abusive behaviors quickly become more severe and might look like an emotionally abusive partner turning to physical violence for the first time.
Over the course of an abusive relationship, it is common for abuse to escalate, and oftentimes survivors find themselves experiencing something they never thought their partner would, or even could, do.
These warnings, escalations, and feelings of the victim are not to be taken lightly.
A timely and safe existing plan can help save lives and sanity.