Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 131–140

“It’s Going to Make the Whole Tower Crooked”: Victimization Trajectories in IPV


    • Department of PsychologyNorthern Illinois University
  • Ban Hong (Phylice) Lim
    • Department of PsychologyNorthern Illinois University
  • Michelle M. Lilly
    • Department of PsychologyNorthern Illinois University

DOI: 10.1007/s10896-012-9476-7

Cite this article as:
Valdez, C.E., Lim, B.H.(. & Lilly, M.M. J Fam Viol (2013) 28: 131. doi:10.1007/s10896-012-9476-7


Interest in the mechanisms by which childhood maltreatment can lead to adult intimate partner victimization (IPV) is growing, though limited research has examined these mechanisms from the direct perspective of the victims. Using qualitative methods to examine childhood histories in a sample of 23 IPV survivors, we identified two trajectories, childhood emotional trauma and childhood physical trauma, which lead to revictimization in adulthood in the form of IPV. The emotional trauma trajectory was associated with a desire for intimacy and deficits in navigating interpersonal relationships. Problematic interpersonal schemas and a fear of loneliness swayed many of these women to stay with an abusive partner. The physical trauma trajectory was associated with desensitization and normalization of violence. Problematic interpersonal schemas, and the belief that the experience of violence is normal, promoted tolerance of IPV. Implications for research and intervention are discussed.


Child maltreatmentChild abuseIntimate partner violenceRevictimizationFamily violence

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012