Arrests for domestic violence are on the rise in Minnesota, which begs the question: why do people commit acts of domestic violence in the first place?
In this post, we’ll detail common reasons people may be prone to committing acts of domestic violence, and what you can do if you have been accused of committing a crime.
Common Reasons for Domestic Violence in Minnesota
There are psychological reasons for the actions of many who commit domestic violence offenses. If you have been accused of committing a crime of domestic violence, contact an experienced attorney to discuss psychological reasons that can be used as a defense to your charges.
Domestic violence is a learned behavior. Most people learn it from their families, and others learn it from their peer groups or from popular culture. You are at an increased risk of committing violent acts against others if people committed violent acts against you as a child.
Your risk also increases if you viewed a loved one abusing someone else – even if you did not experience abuse yourself. If your father or mother used abuse to gain power over others, you could also seek to gain control over people through abuse.
If you were exposed to abuse as a child but no one held the abuser accountable for his or her actions, you may not realize which actions are penalized in the Minnesota court system. An experienced criminal attorney can explain the offenses and their associated penalties, as well as which defenses might work for you if you are facing charges.
People who use domestic violence against others can often benefit more from psychological treatment programs than incarceration. Treatment programs can help an offender learn what healthy relationships look like. They can teach offenders to trust other people and make emotional connections. Treatment also helps abusers to improve their self-image and control their anger.
Abusers often have two distinct thought patterns: that the victim is always wrong, and that the victim is responsible for the abuser’s happiness. These distorted thought patterns are strong contributing factors in acts of domestic violence.
A person who sees another as always wrong will find ways to criticize. In moments of stress, an abuser will feel defensive and place the victim in a negative light. You may have struggled with thoughts like “I need to regain the upper hand” or “She always pushes my buttons.” If you see the other person as a threat to your self-image, you may feel led to retaliate with violent acts.
Abusers who see their victims as producers of happiness often have a problem with a fantasy bond, because no person is truly responsible for another’s happiness. Those with fantasy bond issues can be triggered when their victims are displeasing or do something to arouse fear or anger.
These distorted thought patterns can wreak havoc on your emotions, leading you to seek release through physical actions. By receiving counseling, you can learn to develop a self-image that doesn’t depend on another person, stay calm when you feel threatened, and choose other ways to handle your anger that don’t involve violence.
A person with control issues will often have issues with anger. People who abuse others seek to control their victims through various tactics. If a victim cannot live up to the abuser’s expectations of control, the abuser may get angry and become physical. If the abuser interprets the victim’s actions as provocative or threatening, he or she may feel that physical violence is justified.
The only way to change a controlling mindset is through psychological help. Regular counseling can help an abuser seek self-control more than control over others and learn healthier ways of relating to people when angry.
The Question of “Why?” May Help You Defend against Minnesota Domestic Violence Charges
A conviction for domestic assault will result in up to 90 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. A conviction for aggravated assault will result in up to three years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. Prior convictions can increase the prison sentence to five years and bump the fine up to $10,000.
Getting to the root of “why” an act of domestic violence occurred does not excuse that act. However, it can go a long way towards providing context and a bit of understanding. More importantly for someone who has been charged, it may be used as a mitigating factor that can reduce the charges or penalties you have to deal with.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).