The internet has been in some kind of frenzy since Tuesday as news of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's domestic abuse linen was washed in the public; how Brad had physically abused Angelina and their children on a private plane ride in 2016. We can also recall the trial of Johnny Depp Vs Amber Heard which took place from April-May 2022, where despite every lies made up by Heard, Johnny became the first man to ever argue with a woman and win; of course with receipts lol. There was also the news of previous domestic violence stories amongst others including the one of a Nigerian singer that was allegedly beaten to death by her husband earlier in the year. This causes us at the Motherland to raise a brow about the increased cases of domestic violence in these recent times.
Abuse is to inflict physical, emotional or psychological harm on someone or something. It is to treat someone or something with cruelty, or violence in most cases, repeatedly. There are four main forms of abuse; physical, emotional, sexual and neglect. We're mainly focusing on domestic violence today which is under physical, emotional and even sexual abuse. Domestic violence can range from subtle displays of hostility, and other violent physical abuse such as choking, beating, burning the person with cigarettes, etc.
It is quite unfortunate that majority of the victims of domestic violence are women although in some cases Johnny Depp and other men have been on the receiving end of this violence. A conversation we're really not ready for is the fact that a lot of men are abused at a very young age which is one of the reasons they act the way they do. As you can see, everything has consequences and so does abuse.
Most abusers certainly do not look like they have the tendencies to do such things as everyone battles with their own demons and dem no dey write that kind thing for face. There are a couple of factors that fuel domestic violence which are; the belief that domestic violence is acceptable (for instance, the man thinks that the best way to shut his partner up or show that he has power or control over her is by beating her, tying her up or choking her), substance abuse, unemployment, mental health problems, lack of coping mechanisms amongst others.
Looking at this Brad Pitt's story, I am reminded of one of the housemates on the recently concluded Big Brother Naija reality TV show; Segun Olusemo (Shegz)
who was seen abusing a fellow housemate; Bella Okagbue all through his time in the house verbally, emotionally and since he couldn't abuse her physically as it's against the rules of the game, he would resort to throwing things around. That brings us to the characteristics of an abuser because like I said earlier, it's usually hard to tell because they do not write those things on people's foreheads or beside people's names and most especially because these abusers are always on their A game, knowing what to do at the right time and what to say to take your whole world spinning to cloud nine and back.
An abuser is usually a narcissist, empathy lacking, self- absorbed human being. They are usually known to psychologically manipulate their victims to make them believe that their abuse and violence is as a result of the victim's insufficiency rather than the abuser's desire for power and control over them. Also, most abusers are known to have low self esteem, sudden bursts of anger, lack of control, discipline and discontentment.
There is usually a pattern of abuse which starts from the time of conflict where the abuser begins to abuse the victim verbally which usually leads to physical fisticuffs, aggression where the victim cries and pleads for help telling himself or herself that they're not going to go back to the abusive relationship no matter what. The next stage is the manipulative stage where the abuser feigns remorse for his or her actions, resumes buying gifts and doing gestures, starts talking about reconciliation; making you know that the reason you were abused was because they love you and they were just trying to correct you or would go as far as telling you that they will discipline you and nothing will be done about it (as in the case of Amber Heard and Johnny Depp) and even convincing you to go back to the relationship which you do despite your decisions because they are always good with their words and this cycle keeps going until the victim has the strongest will power to leave or the victim dies in a fisticuffs match.
Gone are the days when the African culture will encourage you to stay with an abusive partner because our society strongly frowns at divorce as there's an increase in domestic violence death rates, not to talk of the emotional, psychological damage it leaves on its victims and the children of the victims. Sources have it that even after the Brad battle for joint custody of the kids with Jolie, the kids are hardly seen with him which could be as a result of the traumatic experience from the abuse. The truth is abuse is never a palatable experience because it breeds serious mental health issues and PTSD.
Can an abuser change?
Well, if the person is willing to know why he or she is that way (could be mental illness spanning from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety and delusional disorders, etc) which needs to be diagnosed and gotten help as soon as possible, if it is substance abuse, it's easier to diagnose because you can already tell where the problem is coming from and check into a rehabilitation center to get the help needed.
Is it advisable to stay with an abuser?
Separation is always needed when dealing with an abuser. Identifying the manipulative patterns of the abuser overtime would give you reason to leave that situation or relationship knowing that however they abuse you, they are always going to have an even better way of making it up to you just so that the cycle continues. Once you identify these patterns, do yourself the favor by leaving just like Angelina Jolie did.