My book is due for release this year, it has been a work of passion and I am proud of the work I have done because I know the difference it will make. This extract is the end of the chapter where I explain the Cycle of Violence including its impact on businesses

Threats 

Threats are used in tandem with helplessness which only adds to the confusion of the abused person. One-minute their abuser is completely helpless the next they are threatening, it is common for abusers to threaten animals and suicide still plays a part in this behaviour. As the abused person is already suffering from learned helplessness they are an easy target to threaten, often they have no financial independence and are scared of being left alone. The abused person often feels like nothing could be worse than the abuser leaving.

These threats confuse the abused person as they fear being left and yet the hate what the abuser is doing to them. The abuser flicks through these behaviours so quickly that it is hard for the abused to really get a grasp on what is happening. They go from feeling really strong and in control to being completely frightened.

Strangely one of the threats that are commonly used is to threaten to out the abused person about how their life truly is and blow their cover of appearing to have a perfect life. As the abused is unsure of what is really happening to them and how much of it they ‘asked for’ and deserved their fear of people finding out is terrifying. They think people will think they are weak and/or stupid to let this happen or alternatively they may be scared that people will judge them as the aggressor.

There is no way that anybody can ask for or deserve to be abused.

The tactics used in the pursuit phase are designed to confuse and make the abused feel somewhat to blame for what has happened. The abuser is once again gaining control and the incident is all but forgotten. They are now ready to move back to the honeymoon phase.

From the information above it is clear that it is important for employers and HR departments to have a knowledge and understanding of the Cycle of Abuse as their employee will have different requirements and understanding of what is happening for them. They may disclose the abuse only to clam up and deny anything is wrong in fact they are likely to claim the opposite and say their relationship is a good one.

If line managers and colleagues have an understanding of what is going on for the abused person they can offer more support and empathy. It will increase their well-being and productivity as they will be less frustrated and confused by what is happening to their employee/friend/colleague. They will also in a work environment where there is a Domestic Violence Policy in place. So they know the help and support available both internally and externally.

Line Managers will be able to share the burden and be clear on the company policy which will mean they understand their boundaries, the support available and are better able to focus on the job they were employed to do.

For a line manager to suspect or even know that one of the people that report into them is in a domestic violence relationship is a lot of responsibility to carry and in some cases damaging to their own mental health. Knowledge is power and in the case of the Cycle of Abuse, it gives the power to understand why the abused person is behaving in a certain way and why it can so quickly change.

Lisa McAdams

About Lisa: Lisa is a survivor of domestic violence who shares her story openly; along with knowledge and understanding of abuse and her experience from her time in corporate to help companies develop an organisational culture of empathy and understanding.

She helps by bringing insights on this complex and emotional subject, ensuring managers understand the issue, the signs and how to communicate with those impacted by domestic violence.

Lisa is passionate about educating workplaces so they can ensure women in abusive relationships remain in the workplace. Because employment improves outcomes and can ultimately save lives.

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