Domestic Abuse Misconception #16: The abuse seems rather mild right now and I can assume it will stay that way. The reality is that most abuse escalates over time. You cannot assume that the little digs at your dignity, the belittling, the overriding of your decisions, the jealousy that seems kinda sweet....you cannot assume that these relatively minor means of manipulation and control will indeed stay minor.
Most abuse starts small. In fact, most abusive relationships start with what is called "love bombing" wherein the abuser showers the victims with so much adoration and affection that she is, in effect, a fish that is hooked and then reeled in.
The abuse starts gradually as the abuser tests the boundaries and pushes the line bit by bit and the victim might not even notice, much like the proverbial frog in the increasingly hot water.
Escalation can get severe. It can get dangerous. Abusers who have never been physically violent before can suddenly turn dangerous. As I mentioned in Misconception #7, in 28-33% of domestic abuse murders, there was no prior physical abuse. This is the ultimate escalation.
I have shared before that abusers don't just get better on their own. In fact, it is rare for them to change at all. But I also need to note that abusers rarely sustain over time the same level of abuse. Most abuse will get worse over time. It is important to learn the signs of escalation as well as seek help from those who are equipped to give it.
Here is an excellent article on escalation.
(Note: In all of my posts I use "he" for abuser and "she" for victim for simplicity and because, in the majority of cases, the abuser is male. But it can be the opposite with a female abuser. Dynamics of abuse can also happen in same sex relationships.)
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