Mental Illness and Domestic Violence

There is no one single cause of domestic violence. Some people have anger problems. Some people do not know how to deal with their problems. Some people have drinking or drug problems. Some have a past history that has taught them that is how they should act. Some people have a mean streak. There are many reasons why domestic violence could be part of a relationship. Of course all are tragic and can lead to further tragedy. One of the common reasons it can happen is due to mental illness. This will be an examination of the more common of mental illnesses that are known to trigger violent behavior or, in some cases, false allegations.

One that is more or less understood by the general populace because the word is used non-medically for much the same emotional feelings. However, regular depression is caused by something and is temporary and explainable by the person in question. Clinical depression is an overwhelming feeling of sadness that has no cause and there is no way of knowing how long it will last. People with this do generally self-mutilate – the problem is they may blame you. Also, sooner or later you will probably be blamed for all the perceived problems. They will lash out with either violence or false allegation.

Does your partner have the belief that they can do no wrong? They may have histrionic personality disorder. This can become a dangerous and violent illness with which to deal. Here are some questions you should ask yourself: does my partner have to be the center of attention, are they often inappropriately sexual or provocative, are they shallow emotionally, do they always us their physicality to get attention, are they theatrical, and/or are they suggestible? These are all symptoms of this issue.

One of the more violent mental illnesses is borderline personality disorder. Thankfully it is rare – it accounts for less than 2% of the population but also accounts for 10% of psychiatric outpatients and 20% of inpatients. Here are the symptoms: verbally abusive towards those they know, impulsively does self-damaging acts, makes false accusations to those around them, rushes into relationships, is randomly competent or out of control from situation to situation, has unpredictable rages, cuts people out of her life for trivial reasons, inconsistent and unpredictable. As you can see, this illness is practically waiting for domestic violence to happen sooner or later.

Any of the above could be a recipe for domestic. But, of course, none would come close to what will happen if you are dealing with a psychopath. It may be a common joke to call someone a psycho if they are acting a bit odd but there is nothing funny about real psychopaths. They are pathological liars, have short attention spans, grandiosity, manipulative-ness, recklessness, remorselessness, and the inability to get nervous or have fear. In short, they can get violent and dangerous very easily.

Does your current partner have a habit of going through partners like tissues? Use, discard, pull another? This is probably not information that you will know. But if you do you should also know that that is a trait of narcissistic personality disorder. Quite often they themselves are allowing themselves to be treated the way they think they are treating everything else – they are the ones being used and disposed. They also blame their relationship troubles on everyone else and get more violent as more relationships end.

So, yes, mental illness can be a reason for domestic violence. It is natural to want to excuse or justify their behavior because it is not their fault but the illnesses’. That, however, does not make them any less dangerous. In fact, it makes them a little more dangerous as they are working with a false rationality that is foreign to you. If the illness is making them become violent, they need help. They may not go to jail; they may not be institutionalized, but they do need treated. Any of the above means that they would no longer a danger to you, themselves, and others.

If you are on the wrong side of a domestic violence charge you will want a Pierce County / Tacoma defense attorney. Call or e-mail the law office of Smith & White, PLLC – your free case analysis awaits you.