“We often use betrayal trauma theory to describe children who have experienced child abuse. But the same betrayal occurs with IPV [intimate partner violence]: a partner who you trust, can be vulnerable with, who should be building you up, is in fact inflicting abuse. It’s a betrayal of what’s supposed to be a trusting relationship.”
-Noelle St. Vil, Asst. Prof. at University of Buffalo’s School of Social Work [1A]
Intimate partner violence and betrayal can leave deep and long-lasting scars. Most support focuses on helping women escape abusive relationships . Few resources teach survivors how to move past abusive relationships and form healthy, new ones.
According to research published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence [1B], there are four barriers to establishing such new relationships:
- Vulnerability/Fear. Women who have experienced an abusive relationship may create an emotional “wall” to protect themselves from further hurt. This wall can remain in place even after a sexual relationship has been initiated.
- Relationship Expectations. Women who have experienced an abusive relationship are likely to expect that all relationships will eventually deteriorate into violence.
- Shame/Low Self-Esteem. Of course, low self-esteem is likely to impact the selection of a new partner. When conflict occurs (as it does in all relationships), women who have experienced an abusive relationship will revert to feeling unloved and unlovable.
- Communication Issues. Women who have experienced an abusive relationship may have difficulty communicating that experience to their new partners. The less communication, the less likely a new relationship will last.
But that these barriers exist does not mean they cannot be overcome.
“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit” (Ps. 34; 18).
[1A and 1B] Journal of Interpersonal Violence, “Betrayal Trauma and Barriers to Forming New Intimate Relationships Among Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence” by Noelle St. Vil, et al, 6/2/18, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0886260518779596 .
 Science Daily, “Intimate partner violence doesn’t end with the relationship”, 7/11/18, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180711141351.htm.
FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com