Domestic violence among teens generally is physical threats toward a partner or their families. It is also possible for them to experience it from family members. It presents itself in various ways.
It is important to realize domestic violence can happen to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, straight or gay. Anyone can be abused, and anyone can be an abuser. Even being a former victim doesn’t mean you can’t abuse someone else.
Relationships also have cycles of violence. That is why it is important to teach teenagers how to recognize that once they start dating. If they can identify patterns, then they can see an abusive relationship sooner and get out.
The cycle of abuse is different depending on the scenario. Abuse between two teenagers it can start out romantic and nice. Then it might soon change.
When it comes to a family cycle of abuse, it can be so ongoing that the teen can’t even realize it is happening. They might also see it as normal.
This is when the abuser starts to make the relationship less than perfect. It is common for an abuser to pick fights for seemingly no reason. They can cause the teen to feel like they’re walking on eggshells or have to watch what they say and do.
They might start being jealous of the teen’s other interactions even if they’re innocent. This easily turns into controlling behavior.
Soon the abuse will lead up to an explosion or crisis. The teen’s abuser might get violent or threatening. They could sexually attack them or force them to have sex when they don’t want to.
They could throw things or break them in front of the teen. They might even just verbally abuse them in explosive ways. Partners often want to intimidate their victims so that they feel in control. They may even say they have a right to act this way or that the victim caused it.
This is when the teen can be scared or worried. They might try to break up or run away from the relationship. It’s possible they may fight back this first time.
Of course, the abuser realizes that they might have pushed too far. They “apologize” to their victim, often in a roundabout way and shifting blame. They might blame their victim for having caused them to lose control.
If the abuser was using drugs or alcohol, they may try to blame their actions on that. They can say they want to change, but end up never following through. It can be relieving and confusing when the abuser admits they did wrong and promises to change.
They can sugarcoat it by buying the teen gifts or saying what they want to hear. Often the abuser will be extra attentive and loving. They might even claim they want to get better for the victim or ask them to help them change. None of these are good apologies.