We have thirty years of experience in family and relationship therapy. We teach healthy parenting skills especially with difficult adolescents and young adults. We help families deal with addiction as well as depression and anxiety that affect the family system
CYCLE OF VIOLENCE
Fear of Abandonment
Primarily comes from early experiences of disturbed or anxious attachment that usually happens in early life. The source of love, positive regard, is lost, intermittent, or experienced as hostile and where there is some level of neglect. An example would be the loss of a parent or loved one or a parent whose care is anxious or neglectful, like a parent who is substance abusive or has mental illness such as bipolar disorder or a borderline personality disorder.
Because these early experiences of disturbed attachment are created before a rational understanding is possible, they create a deep context of fear and insecurity that is held in a kind of altered state of consciousness unavailable to our everyday consciousness.
Lack of Trust
In order to make sense of and defend against the primary anxiety/insecurity created by these early insecure attachment experiences, we create attributions, or conclusions, about the world. These attributions can be very powerful in defending ourselves against the fear and insecurity developed by attachment disturbances. They can even become conditions of worth. One of the most potent and powerful attributions that come from anxious or insecure attachment is “You can’t trust love” or “You can’t trust love because it will leave.”
When we become close to someone and experience being in love, we become vulnerable to the fear of the loss of this love. The more we surrender ourselves to love, the more insecure we can feel. Jealously comes out of our sense of fear that we do not deserve love and that love will leave. If love leaves we could die.
When an insecure individual’s security is threatened and their underlying attributions that “one cannot trust love” or “love will leave” are triggered, their most direct way to assuage their fear is to increase control over the situation or, in this case, their spouse or relationship. The greater the underlying fear, the greater is their need for control. For the violent individual, this level of need for control becomes maladaptive.
An individual with limited psychological resilience, trust in self or the world as safe, limited capacity to contain or modulate frustration, and an underlying vulnerability to a sense of lowered self-worth will resort to anger as a protest and a protection when their sense of security is threatened and their underlying attributions are triggered. This kind of behavior may have been modeled for them in the past in their family of origin.
When the spouse is perceived to resist the control, anger turns to physical or emotional violence or control.
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