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You hear a lot about domestic violence and abuse – most often having to do with how a lady’s boyfriend, partner, or husband lashed out and hit her. In fact, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, almost 20 people are physically abused by their partner each minute.
This equates to more than 10 million people in a year, meaning one in three women experience some form of physical violence by their intimate partner.
And it’s even scarier when it’s you who is being abused and on the receiving end of domestic violence. Physical abuse in an intimate relationship is called intimate partner violence, and you don’t deserve to be hurt; plus, it’s against the law.
If you are wondering, “Is it normal for my boyfriend to hit me?” I’ve got everything you need to know and what you should do.
Is It Normal for Your Boyfriend to Hit You?
No, it is never normal or okay for your boyfriend to hit you. Violence is never okay, no matter “why” your boyfriend hit you – whether you provoked him or not.
Even asking whether violence in a romantic relationship is okay is painful, because we want to believe and see the best in those we love. If your boyfriend “accidentally” hits you once and promises to never hit you again, know that the next slap, shove, or punch is coming.
If you think that hitting is a sign of passion, love, or healthy possession, it isn’t.
When you are in a romantic relationship with someone, you are their equal, and your relationship should be a partnership, because you are partners. You should be on equal terms with each when it comes to power, respect, and value.
There should be a balanced give and take between you because no healthy relationship is a one-way street. The foundations of a happy and healthy relationship, which include love, trust, loyalty, boundaries, and respect, aren’t present in an abusive relationship.
Violence destroys equality and power in a relationship, and the person who hits is in control (or tries to be).
Remember, if your boyfriend hits you, that isn’t all he is capable of doing. The National Domestic Violence Hotline also states that one in four women are victims of severe physical violence, including being beaten, strangled, and burned, while one in 10 women have been raped by their partner.
5 Reasons Why Your Boyfriend Is Hitting You
There are various reasons why your boyfriend is hitting you. While it could be beneficial for you to understand the reason why and ask your boyfriend to change or go for therapy, you still need to know that a romantic partner hitting or abusing you in any way is never okay.
Here are the main reasons your boyfriend is hitting you:
1. He Is Controlling
A study published in 2011 found that women are more likely to experience physical abuse in a relationship if their partner is controlling.
A man who is controlling asserts dominance over you. They make the decisions, so they are in control, and any needs you have are completely and utterly disregarded, dismissed, and disrespected.
Your boyfriend may start out by subtly controlling you, but pretty soon, he’ll start hitting you – or worse – especially if you defy or challenge him.
2. He Had an Abusive Childhood or a Traumatic Past
It’s like the popular saying, “monkey sees, monkey does.” If your boyfriend’s childhood, was one filled with abuse, he may think it’s normal to hit you because that’s what his dad did to his mom (and quite possibly to him too).
Your boyfriend’s traumatic and abusive past doesn’t make it okay for him to be physically violent toward you now, though it does explain – but never excuse – his current abusive behavior.
3. He Is Insecure and Has Low Self-Esteem
A man who feels insecure and has low self-esteem wants to exert control, gain power, and prove his worth by devaluing you. When he hits you, he feels “manly” and like he has control and power over this area in his life because he feels powerless and worthless the rest of the time.
It’s likely that an insecure boyfriend will feel triggered and hit you whenever you’ve achieved something (like that promotion you wanted) and he doesn’t achieve something in his life. Even a slight jibe at his fragile ego will set him off.
4. He Has Anger Issues
If your boyfriend has anger issues, he doesn’t have a healthy way to self-regulate his emotions and keep them in check. And so, he hits you when he gets angry.
5. He Believes You Asked for It
Your boyfriend may believe that you are asking to be hit and that you provoked him, much like “ladies ask to be raped when they wear miniskirts or low-cut tops.”
It’s likely that he feels frustrated, and then he unhealthily expresses that frustration (and perhaps even anger) by hitting you.
What to Do When Your Boyfriend Hits You: 9 Steps
You may think that your situation isn’t so bad. Your boyfriend just hits you now and again, and some women have it way worse than you. You may also think that you deserve to be hit, like it’s punishment for something you did in this life or a past one.
But honestly, you are worthy of love and a healthy romantic relationship.
And you shouldn’t develop battered woman syndrome, thinking you should stay in an abusive relationship because there are good days when your partner is loving and kind.
Say no to domestic violence and abuse. You can plan a safe exit strategy and leave the relationship.
It is difficult to leave an unhealthy or toxic relationship, so here’s a step-by-step guide on what you can do when your boyfriend hits you or otherwise physically abuses you:
STEP 1. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline
One of the first things you should do when your boyfriend hits you – whether it’s the first time or the hundredth – is to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline on 800-799-7233. Or you can text them on 88788.
The hotline is a support service that’s open 24/7, free, and confidential, and the advocates (or operators) can help you in English, Spanish, and other languages. The service can listen, help you identify abuse, create a personalized safety plan, and give you options in an emergency situation.
STEP 2. Secretly Do Research
When you are in an abusive relationship, such as a boyfriend hitting you, it’s important to do research in secret.
Visit the library and use the computers there to search for local women’s shelters or message friends and family (whom you can trust) to help.
STEP 3. Secretly Pack Your Essentials and Have an Exit Plan
It may not be safe for you to just get up and leave the relationship. You may fear that your boyfriend will come after you and do something far worse than just hitting you.
It is a valid fear to have, so it’s vital to secretly pack your essentials.
You can even leave a burner cell phone, cash, clothes, hygiene products, important documentation (like your social security card) and medication in a hidden location like a bus locker or at a friend’s place.
Make sure not to pack too much; you don’t want your boyfriend to suspect that you are leaving and then lash out at you.
You also need to form a safe exit strategy:
STEP 4. Document Your Abuse
It’s essential to keep records of your abuse so your boyfriend can’t deny it.
Keep written documentation, such as text messages, or make videos, and keep the evidence in a safe location. You’ll need this evidence if you decide to take legal action as it’ll help you and your lawyer build a case against your abuser.
STEP 5. Call the Police
If your situation becomes life-threatening or your boyfriend hitting you threatens your safety, you may need to call the local authorities – aka the police.
If they have probable cause, they’ll arrest your boyfriend, and you should file charges.
STEP 6. Seek Medical Attention
Your boyfriend hitting you may also take a really violent turn where you need medical help with your injuries. Go to the nearest ER or visit your healthcare professional so your injuries can be tended to.
Tell them you’ve been abused. The doctor may be able to advise you on the best next steps, help you make a safety plan, and document your abuse, which may come in handy later.
If you need to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the police, or your friend or family member, the doctor may let you use the privacy of the exam room to make the call.
STEP 7. Go for Therapy
Being abused, even hit just once, takes a toll on your mental health. It’s possible that you’ll need counseling or therapy to help you deal with what happened to you.
STEP 8. Build a Support Network
Having a support network is essential, and it’s even more important when your boyfriend is hitting you. Your support network, comprising your trusted inner circle, can be there for you during the abuse and after.
They can be a vital part of your exit plan, and they can also help ensure you don’t go back to your abuser.
STEP 9. Consider Legal Action
It’s illegal for a boyfriend or any romantic partner to abuse you, and you can take legal action. Consider getting a restraining order, pressing criminal charges, or suing your abuser civilly.
Taking legal action helps you get justice, and it could stop your abuser from physically abusing you or other girlfriends in the future.
Final Thoughts on “Is It Normal for My Boyfriend to Hit Me?”
A healthy relationship doesn’t have space for physical violence because it’s filled with love, reciprocity, respect, trust, and loyalty. It’s not fair to be in a relationship offering anything less. If you are a victim of domestic violence or abuse, you certainly never deserve to be hit by your boyfriend.
You are enough because you exist. And you are worthy of love.
You can make the decision to get out of the relationship, and there are safe ways to get help. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, tell friends and family about the abuse, document the abuse, go for therapy, create a safe exit plan, and build a support network to be there for you.
It’s not always easy to tell if you are in a healthy or toxic relationship, so use these 7 important differences to help you know whether you need to get the hell out of Dodge.
And remember, emotional abuse is abuse (and real). It’s essential to read up on the major emotional abuse red flags in a relationship so you don’t have to question whether you are being abused (just because there aren’t any physical signs).