How do you define violence?

JGirl

Confident
I know that this probably seems like a really dumb questions but I am wondering what kinds of things are considered violence vs abuse?

Today I remembered an intake worker's reaction when I told her about things that my x had done. I didn't think that these things were violent but she acted like he was extremely violent and urged me to get myself and my kids away from him right away. I discounted it at the time because I did not see him that way, but now I am questioning both his actions and those of others in my life. Remembering this has me questioning my perceptions. I perceive violence to be something that causes extreme physical harm or the threat of extreme physical harm or death.

I will find it helpful if others can share their views/information about what violence is with me.
 

bellbird

Sponsor
I think that violence is strongly dependent on context.

I have a number of scars on my body, left by a number of different people, one of which led me to recovering in the ICU for three days, but none of which could be considered violent acts as they were all made following my consent (surgeries).

I guess I would consider violence to be the act or intent of causing harm. Where harm is wounding without consent.

I was going to say where harm is an overall detrimental effect, but even if my surgeons had caused lifechanging and lasting complications, that still wouldn't have been considered a violent act... unless of course they did it intentionally, and therefore without my consent.

Eta: pondering further whether my SH scars that were self-inflicted could be considered due to violent acts, if technically I consented (is consent even a thing when it's only yourself involved?), though I suppose I also wasn't entirely of sound mind in the moment.
 
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arfie

MyPTSD Pro
i don't hear the question as dumb, jgirl. i am frequently amazed at how many definitions there are for words and concepts we hear daily.

i opine that there are non-physical forms of violence. making someone feel bad about themselves is emotional violence. systematic emotional abuse can be even more harmful than physical beatings.

i also hold that there are non-abusive forms of violence. when i need to spank my 2 year old to reach her through a tantrum, the spank is violent, but not abusive.
 

Friday

Moderator
I have a very high tolerance for a LOT of kinds of violence, and virtually none whatsoever for others.

As an couple examples?

- I’ve sparred with most of my boyfriends. Which means I’m getting hit/kicked/thrown… a lot. Just over the course of an hour. But someone snarling “move!” and shoving past me? Just ended our relationship.

- Most of my boyfriends have also had combat PTSD, and peridically I’ve found myself shoved into a wall with their arm across my throat, or thrown to the ground, etc. and I’m shouting at them to wake the f*ck up, &/or breaking grips, etc. There’s a tolerance zone in there, for how frequently &/or how badly I get hurt before they blink back to life, as well as how they respond before/after, precipitating events, etc., but?…there’s NO tolerance zone for them being pissed off about something and even attempting to intimidate me, much less lay hands.
 

enough

MyPTSD Pro
when blood shows up, that was violent. when a dangerous weapon is brandished, we are close and getting closer. A person can act violently but unless a punch is landed, it was just an act. Sticks and stones are violent, the names may be hurled with violent intent but even hate speach is just vibrating air and doesn't even raise the dust without amplification.
looking at measuring systems for things like tornadoes and earthquakes, violent is reserved for levels that cause damage to trees or buildings (sometimes humans).
 

Muttly

MyPTSD Pro
I struggle with this too. Don't want to take over your thread but am really curious.

Like, if you are hit but it doesn't leave bruises, is that violent? What if it's a pinch that's ground in and twisted and meant to really hurt. Is that violent?
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
I think violence is essentially anything done with the intent to hurt someone.

Like variable degrees. Obv. Verbal abuse isn't the same as beating someone up and punching someone else isnt the same as self harm. N suicide is a violent act but isn't quite murder, imo.

Violence is just aggression that's acted on, whether it's verbal/physical, against yourself or someone else.

The level of violence that is acceptable in a relationship is different imo. N kinda very personal. Dependent on a million different factors.

So I don't think violence should be determined by what one person puts up with, it's complicated.
 

Renly

Learning
I read somewhere that relational violence is anytime a person exerts power and control over another person - basically there is a power imbalance instead of mutual respect. The expression of that power doesn’t have to be physically or sexually violent…which is what many tend to think of. Emotional abuse, coercion and other “gentler” forms are important to recognize…because more often than not the violence escalates over time in relationships with these power imbalances. I think trauma survivors often have skewed ideas of what violence looks like (I know I certainly did) based on our life experiences and thinking “well that’s not so bad.” Maybe diving into it a little deeper with your therapist would be helpful and you can get more clarification.
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
i also hold that there are non-abusive forms of violence. when i need to spank my 2 year old to reach her through a tantrum, the spank is violent, but not abusive
Not looking to debate whether spanking is right or wrong or whatever, but I am curious about how to tell whether violence is abuse or not?
 

JGirl

Confident
I seems like this is a very complex topic.It looks like a common theme here is intent.
So could one say that any act with the intent to harm another is violent and that there is a degree of violence that depends on the severity of the outcome?

there are non-physical forms of violence. making someone feel bad about themselves is emotional violence. systematic emotional abuse can be even more harmful than physical beatings.
I find it interesting to consider violence to be something that can be non-physical. I my view has been similar to @enough, that violence needs to be physical.

- I’ve sparred with most of my boyfriends. Which means I’m getting hit/kicked/thrown… a lot. Just over the course of an hour. But someone snarling “move!” and shoving past me? Just ended our relationship.
I can relate to this. One of my ex boyfriends and I used to play fight. We would punch each other and try to outdo each other. If someone when past a pain threshold they would say stop and that was the end. One day I changed the channel on the tv. He slapped me in the leg and called me stupid. I dumped him right after.

You were referring to all of it as violence.
I am asking myself if being pushed in anger with a a baby in my arms-was that violence?
I find it confusing because my son and I didn't get hurt physically. That was the only physical thing that my x did in the 15 years we were together.

I struggle with this too. Don't want to take over your thread but am really curious.
Like, if you are hit but it doesn't leave bruises, is that violent? What if it's a pinch that's ground in and twisted and meant to really hurt. Is that violent?
Not taking over at all. This is exactly the kind of thing I want to discuss. I can view being hit as violence toward someone else but I struggle to call it that if it is toward me.

The level of violence that is acceptable in a relationship is different imo. N kinda very personal. Dependent on a million different factors.
I think that the amount of violence that people will tolerate is a different topic altogether. It does not define where or not it was violence in the first place.
 
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