Common Myths

Let’s take a look at common excuses that abusive partners use and talk about why these, like all “reasons,” aren’t justification for violent and hurtful behaviour.

“I was drunk.” / “I was using drugs.”

Substance abuse isn’t an excuse for abuse. Some people drink and use drugs and don’t choose to abuse their partners. Ask yourself: how does your partner act when drunk around their friends? How do they treat you when they’re sober? A statistics teacher would tell you, “Correlation does not imply causation.” Just because two things happen together (like drinking and violence), it does not mean that one causes the other.

“I’m possessive because I care about you.”

Acting jealous, controlling, or possessive is not a way to show someone you care.

 “You got in my face/made me mad/got me wound up on purpose, and I had no choice. I can’t control it.”

Stress and anger issues don’t cause abusive behavior. An abusive partner’s actions are always a choice that they make. If they realize that they have an anger issue-what are they doing about it? Ask yourself: how does your partner react when they are angry with other people (Moved this down)

“I have mental health issues or a personality disorder — ex. I’m bipolar, I have PTSD.”

Some people have mental health issues and don’t act abusive toward their partners. If an abusive partner is dealing with a mental health issue, ask yourself: have they been diagnosed by a professional? Are they seeking help or taking medications? Do they act abusively toward others (friends, family, coworkers), not just you?

 “I am stressed at work”

Everyone experiences different levels of stress at work- if your partner is working, he/she does too. There are ways to deal with stress at work, but taking it out on your partner is not one of them. It is an excuse to abuse. Would they fly off the handle at their boss? Chances are probably not, because they know they can’t get away with that behavior around others.

 “I grew up in a violent home where I experienced or witnessed abuse.”

There are a lot of people who grow up in violent homes who choose not to abuse their partners. Many choose this because of how they grew up — they know how it felt to live in that situation and want healthier relationships for their partner and family. Do you find yourself making these excuses for how you act toward your partner? Or, on the other hand, do any of these excuses sound similar to what you’ve heard your partner tell you when they’re treating you badly?

Being able to recognize excuses for what they are — blames, minimizations, denials — can be a step toward realizing that abuse is never the fault of the person on the receiving end. Remember: abusive partners always have a choice about their words and actions.

Source: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence