For as long as I can remember, I have been of the belief that there is a definite relationship between abuse and the use of alcohol or drugs or whatever is the substance of the day. I am not saying that substances cause abuse but I do believe that most abusive behavior grows in dimension when the abuser is under the influence. In the vast majority of articles that I have read, in talking to other people that I know who have been abused and in my own situation, the addition of substances always resulted in the worsening of the abuse.
…I have been of the belief that there is a definite relationship between abuse and the use of alcohol or drugs or whatever is the substance of the day. I am not saying that substances cause abuse but I do believe that most abusive behavior grows in dimension when the abuser is under the influence.
I am not sure whether the substances are the direct cause or whether being under the influence allows for the abuser to relax and let loose without any care or efforts to control the behavior. It may actually stem from a combination of both factors. Based upon the information that I have gathered, there seems to be a definite correlation between abuse and substance abuse and the escalation of both at the same time.
Pick up any newspaper these days or check out the internet or listen to your local newscast and you are likely to hear about a bad end to an abuse situation. It seems like the number of deadly crimes are increasing and the intensity of the abuse is growing. I remember what it was like when my ex-husband was not drinking. He was actually a nice person and he was very apologetic for his previous bad behavior. But, as the amount and length of the daily intake of substances increased, the person that I thought I knew took on a whole different persona.
To date, most focus has been placed on the person who is being abused and making efforts to remove them from the abusive situation. While I completely agree that we need to make every effort to remove every abused person from their abusive situation, not much is being done with regard to the abuser unless the actions result in death or severe disfigurement. If the abuser is allowed to be free, the substance abuse usually increases and there will be escalation of the behavior with either the current victim(s) or new victims.
As the next generation grows up in abusive situations, they are learning the behavior but in addition, they are being psychologically damaged as children in ways that most adults can’t understand. Exposure to the abusive behavior of adults creates all sorts of guilt and fear and doubts and depression and insecurities in these children who will carry all of this into their adult years even if a finger is never placed upon them. And even if a child is not physically abused, it is highly unlikely that they aren’t, at the very least, being mentally abused.
I believe the time has come for some action to be taken against abusers before their abuse of both people and substances advance to the point that results in terror and torture and even death. There are ways to keep the abusers away if we can get the laws enacted that already exist. However, many times, the abusers are people in power or are those who are able to buy their way out of any situation. Perhaps we need to reconsider the portion of our “Pledge of Allegiance” that says, “with liberty and justice for all”.
If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, you can seek help through the National Domestic Violence Hotline – 800-799-SAFE (7233) – 1.800.787.3224 (TTY).
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.