At the root of domestic violence sits the need for one person to control or exert power over another.
Adding alcohol to an already volatile situation can cause it to escalate, and the combination can become deadly. However, taking alcohol out of the equation does not mean the violence will end.
Alcohol and the abuser
When alcohol removes the last of a physical abuser’s inhibitions, they may be unable to maintain self-control, which could lead to violence. However, while alcohol and violence are often found together, alcohol is typically not the primary cause of the abusive behavior. Alcohol may be an aggravating factor, but an abuser was most likely a victim of domestic violence with a long family history of abuse.
Alcohol and the victim
The result of alcohol consumption by the victim can be equally dangerous. It may cause a typically passive person to fight back or even antagonizing their abuser. This is one of the reasons domestic violence gets worse over time. The harder the victim tries to reestablish control over their lives, the more desperate the abuser becomes to prevent it.
Signs of abuse
There are obvious signs of domestic violence, such as black eyes, bruises, and broken bones. However, more subtle cues may reveal a victim behind the scenes, such as when someone who used to be outgoing becomes withdrawn or stops accepting invitations. Other telltale signs include isolation from friends and family or extreme nervousness.
Though it is counterintuitive, the connection between alcohol and domestic abuse may not be as direct as it seems. Often, a physical abuser has not had a drink, and most people who drink do not become violent. While alcohol may ignite the violence at times, it is typically not the root cause.