Home > Free Essays > Family, Life & Experiences > Relationships > Abusive Behaviors in Close Relationships

Abusive Behaviors in Close Relationships Essay

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Sep 10th, 2020


It is common to say that love brings pain to the people who love and their loved ones. Usually, the individuals accept this phenomenon as an axiomatic truth saying that this is the paradoxical nature of love. This paper attempts to approach critically the phenomenon of hurt pain that may exist within love and be caused by people to their loved ones. In this essay, the causes of the individuals’ abusive behaviors towards their loved one will be identified and discussed.

Types of Causes

The ways one may hurt their close ones are multiple and various. The caused pain may be physical (parents beating their child, one partner hitting another), or emotional (betrayal of one’s trust, lies, cheating). It would be true to expect that every individual who has been in a close relationship of any type (romantic, friendly, familial) has been hurt at least once in the course of that relationship. That way, the hurt is often seen as one of the attributes of love, an opposite without which love cannot exist.

In terms of hurt produced in a relationship between two people, it is important to discuss how it is directed. In other words, an individual may hurt the ones who love them but for whom they do not feel the same way. Also, an individual may hurt the ones for whom they feel love. Psychologically, pain may occur in a relationship between two people who love each other may due to two primary patterns –unintentional and intentional. In the former pattern, one of the loving individuals causes pain to the other without realizing it. The realization may come later; however, at the moment when the damage is done, the one who is causing the pain is unaware of it. Intentional pain for the loved ones is strange and difficult to explain or rationalize, but it may be caused for different reasons.

Lack of Reciprocity

Rather often, one individual may feel love towards another without being loved back. In this case, the first individual exposes themselves to a risk of getting hurt as love makes them vulnerable. At the same time, the object of love who does not share the feeling may be insensitive in this situation. In fact, the unresponded love itself is causing pain to the person in love, so no violent actions are required to make them feel hurt, unwanted, and lonely (Ben-Zeev 2009). In a situation of this kind, the object of love is involved in the events without an agreement. Just like the one who is in love cannot control their feeling, the object of love cannot control who develops this feeling towards them.

Unintentional Causes

The cause mentioned above can be characterized as one of the unintentional sources of pain. Another cause of this type may occur in a relationship where both partners are in love. Unintentional causes of pain are understandable and easy to explain. As lovers spend a significant amount of time in each other’s company, the number of potential reasons for one to be hurt grows (Ben-Zeev 2009). For instance, a comment said without thinking or a certain behavioral pattern of one of the lovers may be offensive to the other. For example, one of the partners may feel lonely and disregarded if the other spends too much time at work or occupied with their hobbies that do not include their beloved.

Naturally, when an individual has a feeling as warm as love to another person, they do not want to cause them pain, make them suffer, or even see them upset over something. However, one cannot be in control of their behaviors 100% of the time and also consider each possible effect they may produce on the partner. As a result, unintentional causes of pain appear from time to time, and it is up to the couple to decide how to overcome moments of crisis.

Intentional Causes

When it comes to intentional pain caused to loved ones, the causes of this type may be divided into two main categories – the pain caused in response to pain, and the hurt that is believed to be helpful in the long term. Discussing the first behavior, it is important to mention that psychologists explain aggressive and abusive behaviors as the results of inner pain experienced by the perpetuator (Strelcheck 2016).

In psychology, this phenomenon is called “transference” and is characterized as one’s attempt to move their feelings and get rid of them by transferring them to another individual (Strelcheck 2016). In other words, an aggressive individual acts that way because they are overwhelmed by the inner pain that they begin to take it out on the others.

Logically, the question is why do people hurt the ones they love when they want to transfer their pain? Of course, it would be more reasonable to take it out on someone else and prevent the close ones from being hurt.

However, there are several explanations to this behavior. First of all, the loved ones often come from the circle of individuals whom one sees the most often (Strelcheck 2016). As a result, they are more likely to be around when an individual suffering from inner pain has an outburst of emotions. Secondly, love assumes vulnerability; in other words, an object of love is able to produce a powerful effect on one in terms of both positive and negative emotions (Strelcheck 2016). Easily triggered by a close person, an individual in pain may become aggressive and feel an instinctual need to protect themselves using a counterattack.

Finally, in relationships between close people, there may be situations where one believes that causing pain to the other could bring a positive outcome in the long term. In such cases, the pain is a result of a good intention. A typical example of such situation is a punishment of a child administered by a parent. Causing emotional and physical pain to children, parents believe that they teach a valuable lesson preventing and protecting their offspring from future dangers and errors. However, punishments of this kind may be driven by rational decisions as well as irrational emotional outbursts where frustrated parents feel powerless and begin to view punishment as the only way to reestablish their authority.


As a feeling, love is unconditional by nature. Feeling love towards someone, an individual wishes their object of love to be pleased and happy. The sufferings of one of the partners often upset the other. That way, when one of the beloved causes hurt to the other it may occur either uncontrollably as an outburst of emotions and desire to protect oneself or rationally as a choice based on positive intentions.


Ben-Zeev, A 2009, . Web.

Strelcheck, M 2016, (Part 1). Web.

This essay on Abusive Behaviors in Close Relationships was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

801 certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:


IvyPanda. (2020, September 10). Abusive Behaviors in Close Relationships. https://ivypanda.com/essays/abusive-behaviors-in-close-relationships/


IvyPanda. (2020, September 10). Abusive Behaviors in Close Relationships. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/abusive-behaviors-in-close-relationships/

Work Cited

"Abusive Behaviors in Close Relationships." IvyPanda, 10 Sept. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/abusive-behaviors-in-close-relationships/.

1. IvyPanda. "Abusive Behaviors in Close Relationships." September 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/abusive-behaviors-in-close-relationships/.


IvyPanda. "Abusive Behaviors in Close Relationships." September 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/abusive-behaviors-in-close-relationships/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Abusive Behaviors in Close Relationships." September 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/abusive-behaviors-in-close-relationships/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Abusive Behaviors in Close Relationships'. 10 September.

Powered by CiteTotal, referencing maker
More related papers