July 16, 2024

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Why Does My Girlfriend Hit Me? Expert Shares 11 Possible Reasons And Ways To Cope

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“Why does my girlfriend hit me?” — Men hesitate to confess this personal crisis. A study says, “Domestic violence against men covers a broad range of violent acts such as physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, or financial abuse.” It’s quite underreported due to the myths surrounding male survivors. According to the CDC, 1 in 10 men have experienced some form of intimate partner violence (IPV). The perpetrators could vary across genders.

Our expert, relationship coach Nandita Rambhia (MSc, Psychology), who specializes in CBT, REBT, and couple’s counseling, addresses the issue of domestic abuse, “Physical violence is absolutely wrong. Regardless of gender, education, or socio-economic status, violence must be treated with the same seriousness and outrage.”

We hope you never reach a stage during the course of your relationship where you find yourself asking, “Is it normal for my girlfriend to hit me?” This article will tell you about 11 potential causes for your girlfriend’s violent behavior and offer helpful tips on how to handle this difficult scenario. By doing this, we intend to raise awareness around intimate partner abuse, encourage empathy, and give victims the confidence to get the support they deserve.

“My Girlfriend Hits Me” — 11 Possible Reasons Why You’re A Victim Of Domestic Violence

Many domestic violence offenders verbally, emotionally, or physically attack without provocation. Anyone who has witnessed domestic violence destroys a family or a relationship may be curious as to why someone would act in such a way in the first place.

Nandita answers, “Abuse frequently signifies a failure on a woman’s part to effectively express and regulate her emotions. It doesn’t excuse the behavior, but it could point to a problem with emotional control and communication.” What then are the primary reasons for abuse? What could be the causes of domestic violence in a relationship that seems happy? We discuss ahead.

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In order to look out for each other, we must be aware of the warning signs of domestic abuse in our families and neighborhoods. And if you are dealing with the “why does she hit me?” crisis personally, recognizing the signs of an abusive girlfriend is crucial for your well-being and safety in the relationship. Knowing these 11 possible reasons for domestic violence in a relationship will help you get ahead of the problem before it escalates even more.

1. Lack of communication skills

Some women may resort to violence when they struggle with effectively expressing their feelings and frustrations. They might not have learned healthy communication techniques or may have grown up in an environment where aggression was used as a means of communication. In such cases, domestic violence can become a way for them to convey their emotions or make their point when they feel unheard or dismissed.

Nandita suggests, “To address abuse, improving communication is essential. Selecting a time period in which there are no conflicts ensures that both the people can communicate without feeling very emotional or overwhelmed.”

Related Reading: Why Do Men Stay On In Abusive Aelationships?

2. Her abusive behavior stems from emotional issues

“My girlfriend is abusive, but I could only leave her after three months of going through that emotional pain. She was manipulative every day. And now she says she wants me to come back.” — Merc, a teacher from Pennsylvania, shares with us. A study states, “Female IPV perpetrators tend to engage in more coercive and controlling behavior than physical abuse.”

People with unresolved emotional problems or past traumas may have difficulty managing their emotions in a healthy way, creating a toxic relationship. These unresolved issues can manifest as intense anger, sadness, or anxiety, which can sometimes lead to outbursts of violence as an unhealthy coping mechanism. 

3. She has anger management problems

Some ask, “Is it normal for my girlfriend to hit me when she’s mad at something else?” Individuals with anger management problems struggle to control their anger when they become enraged. This can occur when they feel provoked or triggered by a situation or person. The problem can be exacerbated by a lack of awareness around coping skills or a history of unaddressed conflicts. If your girlfriend has anger issues, it should involve open communication and support from both sides, not violence.

4. Relationship stress can lead to her anger issues

“Is it okay for my girlfriend to hit me if I made a mistake?” NO. Ongoing conflicts and tension can create a hostile and emotionally charged environment. In such situations, emotions can build up over time, leading to heightened frustration and anger. Stressors such as financial problems, infidelity, or differing expectations can contribute to relationship abuse. Consider going to individual therapy or couple’s therapy in this case, instead of hitting your partner.

Nandita says, “In order to address and avoid violence in a relationship, it is crucial to understand a partner’s triggers and pinpoint the underlying reasons for the mental or physical abuse. There are different triggers, such as stress, unsolved issues, poor anger management, and old traumas that could lead to the relationship abuse inflicted by your girlfriend.”

Related Reading: 9 Reasons Your Girlfriend Is Mean To You And 5 Things You Can Do

5. She could be modeling the behavior she learned from family

If someone grew up in a household where violence was normalized, had an abusive parent, or witnessed family members resorting to violence as a means of resolving conflicts, they may be more likely to replicate that behavior in their own relationships. This is often a learned behavior, where individuals view violence as an acceptable or even expected way to deal with problems. 

Nandita suggests, “A good starting point for dealing with male domestic violence in a relationship is making your partner understand the need for therapy to deal with deep-rooted issues. During the recovery period of the abuser, both partners must be compassionate and cooperate with each other in order to pinpoint triggers, pursue therapy as needed, and create more constructive dispute resolution techniques.” 

6. Jealousy and insecurity have taken hold of her

Many may wonder, “Is it okay for my girlfriend to hit me if I flirt with someone?” The answer is a resounding no; violence is never acceptable — even if you’re micro-cheating on her. Feelings of jealousy and insecurity can be powerful emotional triggers in a relationship. This person may become fearful of losing their partner or believe that their partner is being unfaithful. The aggressor may believe that using violence will prevent their partner from leaving or straying, even though such actions are harmful and counterproductive.

Related Reading: 7 Signs You Have A Verbally Abusive Wife And 6 Things You Can Do About It

7. She struggles with substance abuse

Substance abuse is a huge red flag in general, as it involves the excessive use of drugs or alcohol, which can have a significant impact on an individual’s behavior and decision-making. According to Nandita, when under the influence of these substances, a person may experience:

  • Impaired judgment
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Decreased self-control
  • Intensified negative emotions, which amplifies conflicts

This leads to mental or physical violence as a way to cope with or respond to perceived threats or stressors. If you’re wondering “What should I do if my girlfriend hits me every time she is under the influence of alcohol or drugs?”, it’s crucial to take immediate action to ensure your safety. Tracy (name changed), a reader, wrote to us: “My toxic girlfriend beats me when she’s drunk. But it only happens once a month or so. Is my girlfriend abusive or should I be understanding?” 

Yes, Tracy. Your partner is abusive. Nandita adds, “Aggression and impulsive behavior seem to rise with substance misuse. Drugs and alcohol have been shown to worsen underlying emotional problems. However, addiction treatment reduces hostility while also enhancing general mental and physical health.”

These are the possible reasons why you are facing domestic violence

8. “Why does my girlfriend hit me when I’m doing well in life?” For power and control

Do you often sit alone and wonder, “My girlfriend is abusing me ever since I asserted myself a little. Why does she do this?” Domestic violence is a deliberate pattern of behavior used to establish authority, superiority, and surveillance toward a partner.

Some control-freak women use violence as a means to assert power and control over their partners. This is often part of a pattern of abusive behavior aimed at maintaining dominance in the relationship. The abuser may employ various tactics, such as intimidation, threats, or isolation, to make sure the partner doesn’t leave them. 

Related Reading: Relationship Bully – What Is It And 5 Signs You Are A Victim

9. Unresolved resentment may have built up

In some cases, past issues or unresolved resentments within the relationship can build up over time, creating a toxic emotional environment. When an individual holds onto these negative feelings without addressing or resolving them, they may release their frustration through physical aggression. Intimate partner violence is used as a way to express their pain, anger, and resentment in a relationship when they feel unable to communicate their emotions effectively.

Chess, a skater from L.A., shares with us, “One day, I finally gathered the courage to reach out to my friend: ‘Please don’t laugh at what I’m about to say. I’m serious. My girlfriend hits me, what should I do? I know she’s mad at me but she won’t tell me the reason.’ Reaching out to trusted people is essential, that’s what I’ve learned from my ordeal. Men face quite a lot of stigma in this area and are often mocked.”

10. She’s going through mental health issues

We’ve often heard people say “My girlfriend’s mental health is affecting me.” Underlying mental health issues can contribute to violent behavior in some individuals. Conditions such as Borderline Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Impulse Control Disorders, or any kind of mental illness can affect a person’s ability to regulate their emotions and impulses. Let’s talk about these disorders:

  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): Individuals with BPD often struggle with intense mood swings, impulsivity, and unstable relationships. If she’s suffering from BPD, she may experience intense anger and fear of abandonment, which can lead to outbursts of violence as a way to manage her emotional turmoil or maintain relationships
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD): People with ASPD may exhibit a pattern of aggressive behavior and manipulation in relationships. They may lack empathy and remorse, making it more likely for them to engage in violent acts without guilt or regret
  • Impulse Control Disorders: These disorders, such as intermittent explosive disorder (IED), are characterized by difficulty in controlling aggressive impulses. Such individuals may react violently to minor provocations or stressors, which is a huge sign of possible domestic abuse

Research on domestic violence against men, published in The National Library of Medicine, states that prevalence rates of domestic physical violence against men ranged from 3.4% to 20.3% and factors such as alcohol abuse, jealousy, mental illness, physical impairment, and short relationship duration are linked to a higher risk of men becoming victims of domestic violence. 

Related Reading: Do Men Have Feelings? Why Do They Have Difficulty Expressing Emotions?

11. Her culture normalizes violence

This is one of the key signs of an abusive girlfriend. In certain cultures or communities, physical aggression may be viewed as a legitimate way to resolve disputes or assert dominance. However, this normalization of abuse can create an environment where violent behavior is not only accepted but expected in certain situations. Here’s how it can impact individuals and relationships:

  • Difficulty identifying abuse: Victims of domestic violence in cultures or communities where violence is normalized behind closed doors may have difficulty identifying that they are being abused. They may rationalize or downplay the violence, not making a big deal out of it and believing it’s a customary way of resolving conflicts; so the abuse continues
  • Acceptance of violence: When intimate partner violence is normalized, individuals may grow up believing that physical aggression is a normal and acceptable response to conflicts. This acceptance can make it challenging for them to recognize that such behavior is abusive and harmful, deteriorating their mental health. They may be less likely to seek help or intervention when they are victims of violence. This takes a hit on their self-esteem

Breaking free from the cycle of normalized violence often requires education, strong mental health, and awareness of relationship dynamics. Communities and organizations that work to raise awareness about domestic violence can play a crucial role in helping individuals recognize and address abusive behavior.

If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

Is It Normal For My Girlfriend To Hit Me?

It goes without saying that physical abuse in a romantic relationship is aberrant and completely unacceptable, much like emotional abuse and mental abuse. Respect for each other, trust in one another, empathy, and open communication are qualities that define happy, safe, and loving partnerships. You’re not in a relationship to be your partner’s punching bag. 

An excerpt from an issue of The British Journal of Criminology clearly states, “Some research findings reveal that women are as likely as men to perpetrate violence against an intimate partner.” Conflicts and disagreements are an inevitable element of human contact in a good relationship, but not abuse or violence. For scenarios of domestic violence, a coercive control checklist will prove to be a good paradigm for a professional to assess your state. 

Related Reading: Your Guide On How To Deal With An Angry Person In A Relationship

A coercive control checklist is a tool used to assess and identify patterns of abusive behavior in a relationship. Here’s what it entails:

  • Are you being isolated from your friends and family?
  • Do you feel like your partner has constant surveillance on your activities?
  • Does your partner have financial control over you?
  • Do they manipulate you emotionally?
  • Have they ever hit you? If yes, did they make you feel it was your fault?

By using this checklist, professionals and individuals can better recognize and address situations of coercive control, promoting healthier and safer relationships. No one should put up with abuse, and seeking support and assistance is not a show of weakness; rather, it is a brave move toward ending a damaging cycle.

On Abuse

What To Do If Your Girlfriend Hits You — 7 Ways To Protect Yourself

Remember, playful hitting is different from violence. You may ask, “Is it normal for my girlfriend to hit me on my shoulder with love?” Tell us this. Does it harm you? Does it make you uncomfortable? Does she keep going even if you’re not in the mood to be teased? If not, then you’re still in a healthy relationship. But if you find yourself in a situation where your girlfriend is physically harming you, it’s essential to prioritize your safety and well-being. Dealing with an aggressive girlfriend requires taking steps to protect your well-being and seeking help.

Nandita says, “Seeking expert assistance is crucial when a girlfriend starts to severely mistreat you in your own home. Professionals have the knowledge to delve deeply into the psychological, behavioral, and emotional factors behind the violence. To effectively address these challenges, they can provide direction, methods, and therapeutic approaches.” 

Although ending an abusive relationship can be difficult, it is a brave move toward guaranteeing your health and taking back control of your life. Here are seven steps to protect yourself from physical abuse:

1. Remove yourself from immediate danger

“My girlfriend slapped me twice in a week. I went numb. I kept thinking of reasons why my girlfriend is mad at me instead of calling her out on her abusive behavior,” shares Pete (name changed), a reader from New Jersey. If this happens to you, prioritize your physical safety. 

If possible, leave the immediate vicinity to avoid further harm. Keep an escape plan ready if you are in a domestic partnership. Go to a public place or a friend or family member’s house if you can. Try to remain calm and discuss the worst-case scenarios with your loved one(s) to get them out of your head.

2. Call the authorities

“My girlfriend beats me” is not something we hear often, and societal stigma plays a huge role here. Contact the authorities or emergency services if you are in immediate danger or have been injured. Law enforcement can and should ensure your safety and provide you with legal protection without disbelieving you. 

Related Reading: How Saying Hurtful Things In A Relationship Affects It

3. Seek medical attention

Addressing this relationship issue immediately is very crucial for you. If you have been injured, seek medical attention promptly. It’s essential to document any injuries, as this can be important if you decide to involve the legal system. Especially if you think your partner can perpetuate violence again.

4. Talk to someone you trust

A case study in the International Journal of Environment, Ecology, Family and Urban Studies (IJEEFUS) discussed that men find it much harder to get out of the trauma of violence because of the disbelief and stereotyped reaction from their friends and families. Which is why we cannot overemphasize the importance of seeking help. 

Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or counselor who can provide emotional validation, support, and guidance. Share your experience with someone who can help you through this difficult time. We hope, with time, you go from “Why does my girlfriend hit me?” to “I need to get out of this relationship.”

5. Consider a restraining order

Nothing good can come from staying with someone who hit you. If you fear for your safety and need legal protection, consult with an attorney about obtaining a restraining order or a protective order against your girlfriend. This can legally prevent her from approaching you or your residence or workplace.

is it normal for my girlfriend to hit me
It’s not normal for your girlfriend to hit you and this problem should be addressed immediately

6. Document the abuse

A common question: “My girlfriend is abusing me, what should I do to prove that?” Keep a record of any incidents of physical abuse, including photos, videos, dates, times, locations, and descriptions of what occurred. This documentation can be crucial if you decide to involve law enforcement or seek a restraining order.

Related Reading: My Abusive Wife Beat Me Up Regularly But I Fled Home And Found A New Life

7. Seek professional help

Reach out to a therapist who specializes in domestic violence or relationship issues. If you have been contemplating, “Why does my girlfriend hit me?”, then seeking such guidance can help you navigate the maze of questions in your head. Just so you know, skilled and licensed counselors on Bonobology’s panel are always here for you.

Nandita says, “Because counselors maintain strict secrecy, seeking counseling in situations of domestic violence can create a safe environment. Restraining orders, contacting law authorities to protect immediate safety, or requesting aid from domestic violence shelters and support organizations are just a few examples of legal actions that can be taken.”

Key Pointers

  • No matter one’s gender, educational qualifications, or ‘status’ in society, anyone can be a perpetrator or victim of abuse. Safety should always come first
  • Using physical force in relationships is never acceptable and can result in physical and emotional scarring that lasts a lifetime
  • Violent outbursts of your girlfriend can be a coping mechanism for excessive anger or anxiety brought on by unresolved emotional difficulties and past traumas
  • Hostility in a partner might accumulate as a result of relationship stress, disputes, or tension, which can cause emotional outbursts and occasional physical violence
  • To address the root causes of abuse and create coping and healing methods, professional assistance is advised
  • Seek help from the law or friends/family or social services, document the abuse, get a restraining order, or move out of your house to somewhere safe to get yourself out of harm’s way

The act of violence within a romantic relationship is a deeply concerning issue that demands both attention and action. While it is essential to understand some of the possible reasons behind domestic violence, it is equally crucial to emphasize that there is never a valid justification for abuse. 

Recognizing that you are a victim of domestic violence is the first step toward seeking help and taking action to protect yourself. It is essential to reach out to professionals, support networks, and organizations dedicated to assisting individuals facing domestic violence. It is equally important for society as a whole to raise awareness about domestic violence, challenge harmful gender stereotypes, and promote healthy relationship dynamics. Remember that you are not alone, and there are resources available to help you navigate this challenging situation.  

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