Community Built Knowledge Base => Library: Tools and skills workshops => Topic started by: Skip on August 14, 2007, 06:37:31 AM

Title: 3.03 | Domestic violence  [women]
Post by: Skip on August 14, 2007, 06:37:31 AM
Some simple questions are hard to answer.  I was thinking yesterday that I'm not sure I know what domestic violence is.  It's come up recently from a few members and I thought it might be helpful to talk about what it is and what it isn't in a general sense... .and what to do.

This was published on one public service site:

MYTH: Domestic violence is a "loss of control."
FACT: Violent behavior is a choice. Perpetrators use it to control their victims. Domestic violence is about batterers using their control, not losing their control.  Their actions are very deliberate.

MYTH: The victim is responsible for the violence because she provokes it.
FACT: No one asks to be abused. And no one deserves to be abused regardless of what they say or do.

MYTH: If the victim didn't like it, she would leave.
FACT: Victims do not like the abuse. They stay in the relationship for many reasons, including fear. Most do eventually leave.

MYTH: Batterers are violent in all their relationships
FACT: Batterers choose to be violent toward their partners in ways they would never consider treating other people.    

MYTH: Alcohol/Drugs cause battering behavior.
FACT: Although many abusive partners also abuse alcohol and/or drugs, this is not the underlying cause of the battering.  Many batterers use alcohol/drugs as an excuse to explain their violence.

Survey Results

Here are the results of an informal poll of 43 members conducted on [L4] Staying: Improving a Relationship with a Borderline Partner conducted last week.

I've been involved in domestic violence and there was injury.  
I've been involved in domestic violence and there was no injury.
I have not been involved in domestic violence.
No Answer
I've been involved in severe verbal abuse.
I've been involved in verbal abuse.
I have not been involved in verbal abuse.
No Answer
I've been involved in severe emotional abuse.
I've been involved in emotional abuse.
I have not been involved in emotional abuse.
No Answer

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: NewLifeforHGG on August 14, 2007, 06:37:47 AM
To learn the bpdfamily DV protocol:

(https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/images/mb/emergency.png) (https://bpdfamily.com/discussions/search-info2.htm)

There are different types of abuse. Often victims may minimize the abuse or justify the abuse saying things like: Well I have never been hit not realizing that there are many ways to be abused.

Duluth Model
Enlarge (https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/images/mb/deluth-model.png)

The different types of abuse are:
Physical Abuse
Sexual Abuse
Emotional Abuse
Financial Abuse
Social Abuse
Environmental Abuse
Ritual Abuse

If you recognize these behaviors as part of your life, please get some help.   If you recognize them in someone you know, talk to them and help... .many women (victims) out there are silently crying for help!
Please note: that in most cases I have referred to the victim as a woman and the abuser as a man for easier explanation.

- any unwanted physical attention
- kicking, punching, pushing, pulling, slapping, hitting, shaking
- cutting, burning
- pulling hair
- squeezing hand, twisting arm
- choking, smothering
- throwing victim, or throwing things at victim
- restraining, tying victim up
- forced feeding
- hitting victim with objects
- knifing, shooting
- threatening to kill or injure victim
- ignoring victim's illness or injury
- denying victim needs (eg. food, drink, bathroom, medication etc.)
- hiding necessary needs
- pressuring or tricking victim into something unwanted
- standing too close or using intimidation
- making or carrying out threats to hurt victim
-making her (victim) afraid by suing looks, gestures or actions
- smashing things
- abusing pets
- display of weapons as a means of intimidation

- any unwanted sexual contact
- forcing her to have sex, harassing her for sex
- forcing her to have sex with animals
- uttering threats to obtain sex
- pinching, slapping, grabbing, poking her breasts or genitals
- forcing sex when sick, childbirth or operation
- forcing her to have sex with other men or women
- forcing her to watch or participate in group sex
- knowingly transmitting sexual disease
- treating her as a sex object
- being "rough"
- pressuring her to pose for pornographic photos
- displaying pornography that makes her uncomfortable
- using sex as a basis for an argument
- using sex as a solution to an argument
- criticizing her sexual ability
- unwanted fondling in public
- accusation of affairs
- threatening to have sex with someone else if she doesn't give sex
- degrading her body parts
- sexual jokes
- demanding sex for payment or trade
- insisting on checking her body for sexual contact

Also called "Psychological or Verbal Abuse"
- false accusations
- name calling and finding fault
- verbal threats
- playing "mind games"
- making victim think she/he is stupid, or crazy
- humiliating victim
- overpowering victim's emotions
- disbelieving victim
- bringing up past issues
- inappropriate expression of jealousy
- degrading victim
- putting victim down, not defending her
- blame the victim for things
- turning the situation against the victim
- laughing in victim's face
- silence, ignoring victim
- refusing to do things with or for victim
- always getting own way
- neglecting victim
- pressuring victim
- expecting victim to conform to a role
- comparing victim to others
- suggested involvement with other women or men
- making victim feel guilty
- using certain mannerisms or behavior as a means of control (eg. snapping fingers, pointing)
- threatening to get drunk or stoned unless... .
- manipulation
- starting arguments
- withholding affection
- holding grudges and not really forgiving
- lying
- threatening to leave or commit suicide
- treating victim as a child
- having double standards for victim
- saying one thing and meaning another
- denying or taking away victim's responsibilities
- not keeping commitments
- insisting on accompanying victim to the doctor's office
- deliberately creating a mess for victim to clean
- preventing victim from getting or taking a job
- threatening her with anything (words, objects)
- refusing to deal with issues
- minimizing or disregarding victim's work or accomplishments
- demanding an account of victim's time/routine
- taking advantage of victim's fear of something
- making her do illegal things

- forcing her to have an abortion
- denying that the child is his
- insulting her body
- refusing to support her during and after pregnancy
- refusing sex because her pregnant body is ugly
- demanding or pressuring her for sex after childbirth
- blaming her that the baby is the "wrong sex"
- refusing to allow her to breastfeed

- taking victim's money
- withholding money
- not allowing victim money
- giving victim an allowance
- keeping family finances a secret
- spending money foolishly
- pressuring victim to take full responsibility for finances
-not paying fair share of bills
- not spending money of special occasions when able (birthdays etc)
spending on addictions, gambling, sexual services
- not letting victim have access to family income

- controlling what victim does, who victim sees, talks to, what victim reads and where victim goes
- put downs or ignores victim in public
- not allowing victim to see or access to family and friends
- change of personality when around others (abuser)
- being rude to victim's friends or family
- dictating victim's dress and behavior
- choosing victim's friends
- choosing friends, activities or work rather being with victim
- making a "scene" in public
- making victim account for themselves
- censoring victim's mail
- treating victim like a servant
- not giving victim space or privacy

- assaulting victim in front of the children
- making victim stay at home with the children
- teaching children to abuse victim through name calling, hitting etc
- embarrassing victim in front of the children
- not sharing responsibility for children
- threatening to abduct children, or telling victim they will never get custody
- putting down victim's parenting ability

- buying off children with expensive gifts
- not showing up on time for visitation or returning them on time
- pumping children for information on victim's partners etc
- telling children that victim is responsible for breaking up the family
- using children to transport messages
- denying victim access to the children

- using scripture to justify or dominance
- using church position to pressure for sex or favors
- using victim, then demanding forgiveness
- interpreting religion or scripture your way
- preventing victim from attending church
- mocking victim's belief's
- requiring sex acts or drugs for religious acts


- locking victim in or out
- throwing out or destroying victim's possessions
- harming pets
- slamming doors
- throwing objects
- taking phones and denying victim access to the phone

- deliberately driving too fast or recklessly to scare victim
- driving while intoxicated
- forcing victim out of the vehicle (when angry)
- pushing victim out of the vehicle when it is in motion
- threatening to kill victim by driving toward an oncoming car
- chasing or hitting victim with a vehicle
- killing victim in a deliberate accident
- denying her use of the vehicle by tampering with engine, chaining steering wheel or taking the keys

- mutilation
- animal mutilation
- forced cannibalism
- human sacrifices
- suggesting or promoting suicide
- forcing victim to participate in rituals or to witness rituals

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: turtle on August 14, 2007, 08:43:15 AM
Thank you for sharing this.  It's amazing that I can read something like this and, even after all this time, I'm still shocked.  Shocked that I ever let someone treat me this way.  The longer I'm away from it, the less impact it has and it's good to be reminded of the hell I endured and how subtle it all was in the beginning.  So many of the behaviors listed here started out so small.  Boy, they weren't small in the end! 

I think the hardest thing to realize about abusers is that they don't present all these things things full blown to us in the beginning.  If they did, we'd run like hell.  Instead, they chip away at our self esteem -- a little more each day until we feel we cannot think for ourselves, much less defend ourselves, or make the decisions we need to make to improve our lives.

I'm so glad you, and so many others of us, have gotten out.  When I read things like this, I think it speaks to OUR characters -- that we were finally able to speak up for ourselves (even though we we beaten down and destroyed) and we said -- NO MORE!  I'm proud of all of us.

And for those who are reading this that are still in abusive relationships, I hope those of us who have gotten out are an inspiration.  You CAN get out!


Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: Silas Pseudonym on August 14, 2007, 10:55:45 AM
Many people do not recognize themselves as abused.  Even when they do, cannot see the magnitude of the behavior or understand how they have been changed by it... .while they are still in the relationship!  It is always worse once you get out!

One point that needs to be emphasized is the increased danger to the abused for leaving or planning to leave.  Most deaths occur within 18 months of a break-up.  There is a risk as long a 5 years after.

There is a post on MSN today about the increased use of technology against the abused. Spyware on computers can be difficult to detect.  Virus scanning will detect & eliminate it, BUT when the abuser has access to the computer, the virus software is VERY easy to disable.  Use a library or other anonymous computer for planning (including a different E mail address!).  One technique I never thought of until reading this today, was the use of GPS on the victim's car (yes aftermarket!).  It could be use to track her to a shelter, or across country!  

We do not think like them, so we must take care to protect ourselves with careful planning & execution of the escape.  Get help at this stage.  Stress interferes with clear thinking.

One last thing... .some behaviors do not sink in as physical abuse, & no matter who says emotional abuse can be as bad, they are wrong.  Unless you do it yourself, it won't kill you.  People do die... everyday & it is often NOT planned, it all just spins out of control... .The worst happens.

Physical abuse includes, punching walls & other types of direct physical intimidation.  Pushing, shoving & throwing objects (even when they miss!).  It does not have to be frequent to be effective in getting results.  Just the memory gets the abuser his way... .threats work.

Those of you reading, who have not addressed this situation, please start to recognize this is not love & any person treating you this way is not loving you.  They only serve themselves!


Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: oceanheart on September 02, 2007, 01:29:22 PM
Thank you for the info!

The barriers to leaving: Why Women Stay

My therapist uses the Power and Control Wheel (http://www.ncdsv.org/images/PowerControlwheelNOSHADING.pdf) as a visual aide and stresses that the behaviors continue and only get worse. It basically provides the same info NewLife has, just in a different format.
Also, Barriers to Getting out of Abusive Relationships (women) (https://tinyurl.com/y6l6op6h) might be helpful.

Situational Factors

  • Economic dependence. How can she support herself and the children?
  • Fear of greater physical danger to herself and her children if they try to leave.
  • Fear of being hunted down and suffering a worse beating than before.
  • Survival. Fear that her partner will follow her and kill her if she leaves, often based on real threats by her partner.
  • Fear of emotional damage to the children.
  • Fear of losing custody of the children, often based on her partner's remarks.
  • Lack of alternative housing; she has nowhere else to go.
  • Lack of job skills; she might not be able to get a job.
  • Social isolation resulting in lack of support from family and friends.
  • Social isolation resulting in lack of information about her alternatives.
  • Lack of understanding from family, friends, police, ministers, etc.
  • Negative responses from community, police, courts, social workers, etc.
  • Fear of involvement in the court process; she may have had bad experiences before.
  • Fear of the unknown. "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't."
  • Fear and ambivalence over making formidable life changes.
  • "Acceptable violence". The violence escalates slowly over time. Living with constant abuse numbs the victim so that she is unable to recognize that she is involved in a set pattern of abuse.
  • Ties to the community. The children would have to leave their school, she would have to leave all her friends and neighbors behind, etc. For some women it would be like being in the Witness Protection program--she could never have any contact with her old life.
  • Ties to her home and belongings.
  • Family pressure; because Mom always said, "I told you it wouldn't work out." or "You made your bed, now you sleep in it."
  • Fear of her abuser doing something to get her (report her to welfare, call her workplace, etc.)
  • Unable to use resources because of how they are provided (language problems, disability, homophobia, etc.)
  • Time needed to plan and prepare to leave.

Emotional Factors

  • Insecurity about being alone, on her own; she's afraid she can't cope with home and children by herself.
  • Loyalty. "He's sick; if he had a broken leg or cancer--I would stay. This is no different."
  • Pity. He's worse off than she is; she feels sorry for him.
  • Wanting to help. "If I stay I can help him get better."
  • Fear that he will commit suicide if she leaves (often he's told her this).
  • Denial. "It's really not that bad. Other people have it worse."
  • Love. Often, the abuser is quite loving and lovable when he is not being abusive.
  • Love, especially during the "honeymoon" stage; she remembers what he used to be like.
  • Guilt. She believes--and her partner and the other significant others are quick to agree--that their problems are her fault.
  • Shame and humiliation in front of the community. "I don't want anyone else to know."
  • Unfounded optimism that the abuser will change.
  • Unfounded optimism that things will get better, despite all evidence to the contrary.
  • Learned helplessness. Trying every possible method to change something in our environment, but with no success, so that we eventually expect to fail. Feeling helpless is a logical response to constant resistance to our efforts. This can be seen with prisoners of war, people taken hostage, people living in poverty who cannot get work, etc.
  • False hope. "He's starting to do things I've been asking for." (counseling, anger management, things she sees as a chance of improvement.)
  • Guilt. She believes that the violence is caused through some inadequacy of her own (she is often told this); feels as though she deserves it for failing.
  • Responsibility. She feels as though she only needs to meet some set of vague expectations in order to earn the abuser's approval.
  • Insecurity over her potential independence and lack of emotional support.
  • Guilt about the failure of the marriage/relationship.
  • Demolished self-esteem. "I thought I was too (fat, stupid, ugly, whatever he's been calling her) to leave."
  • Lack of emotional support--she feels like she's doing this on her own, and it's just too much.
  • Simple exhaustion. She's just too tired and worn out from the abuse to leave.

Personal Beliefs

  • Parenting, needing a partner for the kids. "A crazy father is better than none at all."
  • Religious and extended family pressure to keep the family together no matter what.
  • Duty. "I swore to stay married till death do us part."
  • Responsibility. It is up to her to work things out and save the relationship.
  • Belief in the American dream of growing up and living happily ever after.
  • Identity. Woman are raised to feel they need a partner--even an abusive one--in order to to be complete or accepted by society.
  • Belief that marriage is forever.
  • Belief that violence is the way all partners relate (often this woman has come from a violent childhood).
  • Religious and cultural beliefs

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: gary1958 on October 15, 2007, 08:22:40 PM
do these patterns repeat from relationship to relationship... .or perhaps does one person bring out more of these traits in an abusive relationship then someone else...

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: Silas Pseudonym on October 16, 2007, 10:14:28 AM
Hi Gary,

There are patterns.  I doubt many change in the long run.  If a new partner were to call the abuser on certain behaviors, the abuser might use a different tactic.  It also evolves over time.  Very few partners of abusers see this behavior as bad as it will get, at the outset of a relationship.

There is an excellent book about the dynamics of these relationships.  "Why Does He Do That?",  by Lundy bancroft.  It does lean toward men on women, though same sex & female abusers follow similar patterns.  Women are less violent & use different methods (cheating... .men find unacceptable even more than women) but if a woman is physically violent she may very likely be BPD.  A good percentage of the female prison population is BPD.


Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: JoannaK on November 24, 2007, 11:21:42 AM
Police Domestic Violence Handbook for Victims:  www.dwetendorf.com (https://goo.gl/LmvgnI)

Information for survivors of police domestic violence: www.abuseofpower.info

Resources for counselors and officers  www.dwetendorf.com/Resources01.htm (https://goo.gl/PuZM3Q)

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: JoannaK on November 30, 2007, 01:47:03 PM
I know that there are people reading here, perhaps some are posting and others not, who are experiencing recent or ongoing physical violence.  

Our goal as a community is, if a member actively engaged in an argument (which has escalated to physical violence or threats... .or appears to be heading in that direction), to encourage the member to leave the scene and contact a domestic violence hotline[/u] to chat (cool down), get information, or get assistance.  Local telephone counselors click here (https://bpdfamily.com/discussions/search-info2.htm) are best - they can do everything from just answering simple questions and being a friend, to suggesting places to go for immediate / low cost assistance, to dispatching emergency assistance in the event that it is needed.

If there is no dispute in process, our goal is to focus the member on developing a safety plan - this is the number one priority.

Safety planning should occur regardless if you are remaining in an abusive relationship, preparing to leave the relationship, already out of the relationship, or deciding to return to it, feeling threatened or not. It is relatively easy to do, and if you ever need it, you will be glad it was in place.

For men, in addition to safety planning, it is important to protect yourself against false domestic violence charges that can result in jail time and can be used against you in a future divorce or custody dispute. When arguments get heated, if you restrain your partner (even if she is kicking, throwing things) or if you push or hold her (even if she is blocking you from leaving the room or a the house), you are at risk of a domestic violence charge if the police are called - even if you call them. If it becomes "he said" "she said" the male is more at risk of being arrested. If you respond to stress by drinking, your risk goes up as it is harder to control your emotions, and the police will be less willing to listen to you.

Safety planning involves the following:
Reading information about local domestic violence resources and legal rights.
Developing detailed plans in case a dangerous situations occurs
Developing detailed plans for leaving the location early, before a fight escalates (men only)
Identification (notification) of safe friends and safe places
Keeping phone numbers of agencies, shelters or the safe friends available and at hand.
List of essential items to take should one need or decide to leave home
Supports (emotional and financial) in place
Plans for obtaining a restraining order
Plans for what to do if there is unexpected contact


Often, leaving the relationship or threatening to leave the relationship escalates the abuse as the controller feels they are losing control.  Leaving the dispute is one thing, but leaving the relationship requires planning and we should encourage members to contact a domestic violence agency for professional assistance in doing this.  Also, many people come here and will leave the board if they are strongly urged to leave the relationship... .because they are not emotionally ready to leave the relationship.

Is there anything else that we (as a board) can say or do to help people see these situations for what they are?

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: telecommdiva on December 04, 2007, 06:41:09 PM
I know that there are people reading here, perhaps some are posting and others not, who are experiencing recent or ongoing physical violence.  Some are men, some are women.  Is there anything that we (as a board) can say or do to help people see these situations for what they are and to get out?

For me understanding the cycle of domestic violence was my AHA moment. When it was "just" verbal and emotional abuse, I was conditioned to deal w/ that. I grew up w/ it, it was familiar. My friends who were married had arguments w/ their partners, family members fought, so this was behavior that was normal to me. When my ex first choked me, we separated, however I went back to the relationhip because he promised he would never do it again. I  thought the abuse would stop because he said it would. Then I lost my job and I became dependent on him financially. That's when the violence really kicked in high gear.  It didn't happen all the time, so I was able to deal w/ it... .so I thought.

I was told about the DVC in my area and I started attending some of the drop in sessions. One of the best things I've ever done for me. The meetings were empowering and this is where I learned about the cycle. Being w/ women who were experiencing the some of the same things I was living w/ also helped a great deal. There was no shame, no judgement, no questions as to why do I stay. There was information, support and encouragement.

If there is one thing I would point people to, as I have done quite a bit on this board, is attend some group meetings at a DVC. Talk w/ a counselor, there isn't a fee for this.  The DVC can assist you w/ a Safety plan.  :)on't think you can deal or handle this on your own. You can't.

Know that people who hit you don't love you, they control you.

Peace and Blessings.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: Jewls on December 14, 2007, 07:53:30 AM
I know that there are people reading here, perhaps some are posting and others not, who are experiencing recent or ongoing physical violence.  Some are men, some are women.  Is there anything that we (as a board) can say or do to help people see these situations for what they are and to get out?

JK, I was emotionally, verbally, and physically (sporadically) abused by my father as a child.  Stink Weed started repeating this pattern after the first few weeks of dating (we were 16).  I was fully aware that I was being physically abused, but as elph pointed out, it was familiar and I learned to put up with it.  My thinking was (reinforced by Stinky, but somewhat ingrained in my psyche from childhood) that if I had behaved, not voiced my opinion, not reacted, I would'nt have been pushed, shoved, squeezed, etc. (how it was in the beginning with Stinky, although the abuse became more violent).  Many of the abused are programmed to think they deserve what they get.  I remember Stinky telling me he wasn't guilty of physical abuse, and still reminds me to this day that he isn't (the first time we went to MC I had accused him of abuse and he made sure I understood, after the session, that because he hadn't punched me in the face, he was not guilty of physical abuse!).

What keeps the abused where they're at?  FEAR.  Fear of what may happen if they try to leave the abuser.  If there are kids, you choose to stay for them (BIG mistake).  The abused self-esteem is usually extremely low and they are dependent on their abuser.  The only thing I think that motivates many is when the fear of staying outweighs the fear of leaving.  Until then, a person can nag at them until they're blue in the face, but nothing will change.  The abused truly believes it will get better.

One thing that could help people "get a clue," is to make them aware of verbal and emotional abuse (believe me, they know they're being physically abused).  Up until right before I left Stinky - this is after 19 years of marriage - was I aware of what verbal and emotional abuse was and meant, and I'm not a stupid person!  I had just assumed this treatment was normal, it was all I had known.  Again, I was programmed to believe that I deserved to be talked to and treated this way.  

One person at a time, JK.  It takes people like us, who have been through this hell, to get the word out, to reply to the posts of the newbies, the undecided, a friend or acquaintance involved in an abusive relationship, whoever.  Even then, we have to be careful and walk on eggshells with them.  If we come on too strong, they will run back to their safe place, a horrible place, but a place that doesn't seem as scary as the unknown, overwhelming scenario that we're proposing (I've been there, done that).  It takes baby steps.  Little hints of information.  Patience.  The abused doesn't need to feel judged.  (Think of a stray kitten, shaking, wanting to come in out of the cold, but can't because it's frightened... .)

Hope this helps.


Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: NewLifeforHGG on December 15, 2007, 10:38:18 AM
One of the aspects that keeps the victim in the abusive relationship is shame.

       How did I let this happen to me?
Will I be pitied?
Am I a statistic?
I must be dumb?
What will people think?
These kinds of things don't happen to people like us.

There has to be a shift when the victim begins to understand that they have nothing to be ashamed about. Once they do that then they can begin to ask for help. Speaking to someone who is familiar with domestic violence is important.

The counselor in my dv case opened my eyes to the different forms abuse takes. As she went down the checklist I cold not believe all of the things that fit my situation.
I could no longer fool myself about the severity of the abuse I was experiencing. It was not mainly physical but there was a lot of intimidation and verbal terrorization going on. Soon the victim becomes mentally exhausted and is usually battling depression pertaining to the abuse. It is important to get out of the situation by any means necessary. If you have to go to a shelter to get sorted for a few days then that is what you should do.

Eventually the victim becomes a survivor. That is if they managed to live through it all.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: elphaba on April 30, 2008, 09:28:08 AM
I spent time in more than one abuse shelter, homeless shelter during my first marriage and really not sure where I even got the courage to go there.  I think my children gave me that... .not by words or deeds, but, by their existance and me knowing that there was no way I wanted to pass along that legacy to them.

I have three daughters, I could never live with knowing that they might grow up believing that this kind of thing was ever OK... .if that meant making them tough/independant/strong (sometimes to a fault)... .than so be it... .I don't know how long I might have stayed in that marriage if it wasn't for my girls... .same went for the verbal abuse with DB, I stayed too long, I know that, but, once again it came down to knowing I could not let my girls think that this is what relationships are like, I couldn't let them watch their mother be a doormat for a very ill, very angry man.

ANY violence, physical or verbal needs to be taken seriously - those who abuse are capable of anything... .we see it in the news every day... .add any kind of mental illness into the mix and you have the perfect storm... .you MUST get out of it's path.

Overcoming domestic violence, breaking that cycle of abuse is one of the most painful, hardest, but, empowering things that anyone can do for themselves and any children who may be in the picture... .teaching ourselves & our children that we are deserving of better treatment, that love is gentle and kind, that we can overcome our upbringing, our circumstances... .what more important lesson can there be?

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: JoannaK on April 30, 2008, 10:12:52 AM
Thanks, elphie, for updating this Workshop!

I just wanted to post a reminder that getting away from physical abuse does not necessarily mean a legal divorce or even the end of the relationship. It may mean physical separation for awhile, but the issue of whether or not to divorce or split up permanently can be dealt with later.  Perhaps the abuser will get help and stop abusing.  Perhaps he/she won't.  But, for those who are having problems with the "death do us part" aspect of marriage:  You can and should make a plan (as described above) NOW to get away or physically separate when the abuse starts at least for awhile  . If you are being physically abused, start to put that plan into effect.  It is important to conatct the DV hotline and explore your options NOW --for your sake, for your childrens' sake.  You can consider the legal/spiritual questions; the whole issue of whether or not to continue the relationship later.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: JoannaK on July 22, 2008, 09:36:55 AM
  I think that subtle abuse is the toughest one to pick up on.  Most people know that if someone hits you gives you a black eye, refuses to give you any money, calls you vicious names, etc. that is abuse.  But many people don't realize that subtle comments, for example, a father saying to his child, "You know that you can never count on Mommy" with a quiet teasing voice, may also be abusive.  Or a woman who disdainfully dismisses a gift lovingly purchased by her boyfriend with the implication that it wasn't good enough... .that may also be abusive.  The mother who coldly criticizes her child over some minor mishap while heaping praise on her slovenly brother... .   we may miss those things. 

Many of these subtle things are hard to pick up because they may not be abusive until/unless they are part of a pattern.

Most people find their way to this site, not because of BPD per se, but because they are being abused.  This is why relationships with someone with BPD or a similar personality disorder are so difficult:  Because those disorders lead the person with the personality disorder to abuse their partners, children, parents, even friends and coworkers.  Not all with BPD are abusive, but any relationship in which one person's behaviors consistently serve to degrade the other person and deinimish his/her self-esteem, through either subtle or overt ways, whether intentional or unintentional, is probably abusive.  

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: elphaba on August 21, 2008, 07:12:55 AM
Wow... .I hadn't read this in a few months and yes, my posts and that poem still bring tears to my eyes everytime I read it, I can still feel the pain of being in that situation.

I've seen a number of newbies on the board recently who are in these situations and my heart absolutely breaks everytime I read a post where someone is dealing with any kind of physical or emotional abuse... .especially those who think they cannot escape it... .who apologize to their abuser for making them mad, who cower in fear waiting for the next incident, accepting the "I'm sorry, it won't happen again" and hoping beyond hope that this time it's true.

PLEASE - If you are reading my post, if you are dealing with ANY form of abuse, Abusers RARELY stop abusing, the abuse usually escallates... .please know that you can get out, there is help out there, you can survive without this person in your life, you can have a life free of fear, free of pain and hurt... .it is a struggle, but, a struggle that is so worth every moment because you CAN have your life back you can overcome it all and go on to find happiness and strength you never knew you had. 

I am living proof of that... .a single Mom who survived an abusive childhood, marriage to a man who darn near killed me on several occasions, living in homeless shelters, DV Shelters... .I now own my house, my kids are happy and healthy and strong, I have a good job and a life that I would have never dreamed of back then.

You can overcome this too... .please... .PLEASE... .be safe, protect yourself and your children... .don't let there be another generation of children who think that this is part of life... .let them know a better world exists... .know that YOU can give them and yourself that gift.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: elsi on August 21, 2008, 11:32:41 PM
You can overcome this too... .please... .PLEASE... .be safe, protect yourself and your children... .don't let there be another generation of children who think that this is part of life... .let them know a better world exists... .know that YOU can give them and yourself that gift.

Thank you for posting this, Elphie.  This is the sentement that is keeping me going right now . . .even for my stepkids, that I probably cannot have with me when I find my new place, I am realizing I am better for them as a safe haven and an example of sanity than I am from within the relationship I was living. 

Also thank you for the reminders about what abuse is - it was so hard for me to admit to myself that this was what was going on.  It was "just" words, he didn't mean them, or it was "just" pushing or shaking, he hadn't punched me -yet - OK yeah it hurt, but there aren't bruises - or at least they don't show  . . . amazing the justifications I came up over the years. 

Being able to read, and learn, and finally LABEL what I was going through - to be able to say "this behavior is abusive" - was a powerful thing.  Saying "I am an abused wife" - wow.   Not the image I had of myself.  Hard to connect this to the confident career woman I thought I was.  It rocked me to the core - and forced me to change things.  I don't want this label to apply to me anymore.  It is what I am trying to shed now . . .with lots of help from here.

Another post of yours that helped me very much, that I can't find anymore - an earlier post of yours linked to a story called "The Bridge".  I have been thinking about it a lot, lately.  And it is helping me to learn to let go of those who refuse to help themselves, and hurt me in the process.   

Thanks for sharing your success stories and your inspiration. 

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: Samuell on August 22, 2008, 03:59:24 AM
I am grateful to a friend who had seen enough of what our family had gone through. She passed me a leaflet about domestic abuse and didn't discuss it - "I just picked this up and thought you might read it." I did read it, at first not thinking it applied to me. There was a checklist of behaviours and I could tick them all. If my friend had spelled it out - "you are being abused" I would have probably done nothing, maybe even joked about it later with my abusive wife. The awareness in my own head from reading that leaflet did so much. It was further reading about abusive women online which told me about BPD, and finally to this site.

I don't know why you can't tell a victim, can't just drag them out of it. So often they need to come to the realization themselves and find strength. Giving a listening ear, not judging the abuser and providing safety to the victim is probably all you can do.


Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: foiles on November 26, 2008, 02:00:12 PM
Anything threatening is domestic violence - hitting/throwing objects, shaking a fist at someone, threatening words.  Anything physical including anything that 'holds you down' or prevents you from going where you want to go.  Any hitting, kicking, slapping, hair pulling, arm twisting, etc., even if it doesn't leave marks or they didn't 'mean' to leave marks or 'mean' to really hurt you.  I even feel that angry rages are violent because when someone is out of control like that you are in fear because you don't know what they will do or how it will escalate.  I'm sure there are others here that will add to the list.  

It's so easy to become desensitized to their behavior and we constantly are rationalizing it.  I had a bruise over my eye once, but I brushed it away into the land of denial because he didn't 'mean' to leave a mark.  Huh?  What was I thinking?  Well, it escalated into further physical abuse which again, I put into denial as "If I hadn't... ." or "I pushed him over the edge."   even though I know better.  


Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: back2reality on November 26, 2008, 02:07:06 PM
Here's some info I got specific to lesbian couples, which I know we have a few of here:

Myths of Domestic Violence for Lesbians 
# Lesbian relationships can’t have domestic violence, because they are both women.
# Only the “butch” partner can be abusive.
# It must be “mutual abusive” or “fighting” if both partners are of the same sex.
# A physically smaller partner cannot abuse a larger partner.
# S/M is abuse and domestic violence.
# Drugs or alcohol are to blame for the violence if she only attacks when under the influence.
# There is no place for lesbian victims of domestic violence to get help.
# It’s not violence because she only threatens and puts me down. She has never hit me.

Facts About Domestic Violence
# Domestic violence can occur in any relationship, regardless of sexual orientation.
# Domestic Violence occurs when one person is clearly the victim. Mutual fighting is not domestic violence.
# Even though the perpetrator may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol when violence occurs, drugs and alcohol do not “cause” the domestic violence
# 1 in 3 women will be assaulted by an intimate partner in her lifetime (30-50% of all women)
# 30% of LGBT couples experience domestic violence
# 3 out of 4 women murdered are killed by their partners
# Acts of domestic violence occur every 15 to 18 seconds in the United States
# 30% of all hospital emergency room admissions are female victims of domestic violence
# Six million American women are beaten each year. Four thousand of them are killed.
# 11 women die every day as a result of domestic violence
Barriers for Lesbian Survivors of Domestic Violence
# One of the big barriers for lesbians seeking services for domestic violence is that is may be hard for police or service agencies to determine which partner is the victim. Sometimes the abusive partner will call the police or seek services at a domestic violence shelter as a way to further control her victim.
# Some domestic violence shelters or police may not understand that same-sex couples can be in domestic violence situations.
# Some lesbians are afraid if they seek help for domestic violence, people will find out either that they are LBGTQ or that people will find out about their abusive relationship. In fact, domestic violence service organizations are bound by confidentiality agreements.
# Some survivors may face homophobia in service agencies and shelters

And here's some more gay/lesbian/bi/trans domestic violence info:

What is Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse occurs in approximately 30 to 40% of GLBT relationships, which is the same percentage of violence that occurs in straight relationships. It is a myth that same-sex couples don't batter each other, or if they do; they are just "fighting" or it is "mutual abuse".

Domestic abuse is always about power and control. One partner intentionally gains more and more power over his/ her partner. Tactics can include physical, emotional or verbal abuse, isolation, threats, intimidation, minimizing, denying, blaming, coercion, financial abuse, or using children or pets to control your behavior.

Domestic violence runs in a cycle. Typically, things are wonderful at the beginning of the relationship. Gradually, tension starts to build. Finally, an act of violence occurs. This may be verbal or physical. The victim is shocked. The relationship then moves into the "honeymoon" phase. The abuser is remorseful and attentive, and the victim wants to believe the abuse was an isolated incident. Again, the tension gradually builds until another violent act occurs. The longer the cycle goes on, the closer together the acts of violence happen.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: cult on November 26, 2008, 02:36:01 PM
GREAT thread.

"Red Flags" Of A Battering Personality:

If you are uncertain whether your partner is abusive or if you want to be able to tell at the beginning of the relationship if the other person has the potential to become abusive, there are behaviors you can look for, including the following:

1. JEALOUSY: An abuser will always say that jealousy is a sign of love. Jealousy has nothing to do with love; it's a sign of possessiveness and lack of trust. In a healthy relationship, the partners trust each other unless one of them has legitimately done something to break that trust.

2. CONTROLLING BEHAVIOR: At first, the batterer will say this behavior is because they are concerned for your safety, a need for you to use time well or to make good decisions. Abusers will be angry if you are "late" coming back from the store or an appointment; you will be questioned closely about where you went, who you talked to. At this behavior gets worse, the abuser may not let you make personal decisions about the house, your clothing, or going to church. They may keep all the money; or may make you ask permission to leave the house or room.

3. QUICK INVOLVEMENT: Many domestic violence victims only knew their abuser for a few months before they were living together. The abuser may come on like a whirlwind, claiming "you're the only person I could ever talk to" and "I've never felt loved like this by anyone". Abusers are generally very charming at the beginning of the relationship. You will be pressured to commit in such a way that later you may feel very guilty if you want to slow down involvement or break up. If you are newly out, be careful; abusers often target those they know are new to the GLBT community because it is a time when you are vulnerable and may not know very many people in the community.

4. UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: Abusive people will expect their partner to meet all their needs: the perfect partner, lover, and friend. They say things like "if you love me, I'm all you need and you're all I need". You are supposed to take care of everything for them; emotionally, physically, and sometimes economically.

5. ISOLATION: The abusive person tries to cut the partner off from all resources. If you have same-sex friends, you are a "whore", a "slut" or "cheating". If you are close to family, you're "tied to the apron strings". The abuser will accuses people who are supportive of causing trouble, and may restrict use of the phone. They will gradually isolate you from all of your friends. They may not let you use a car (or have one that is reliable), and may try to keep you from working or going to school. Some abusers will try to get you into legal trouble so that you are afraid to drive or go out.

6. BLAMES OTHERS FOR PROBLEMS: If your partner is chronically unemployed, someone is always doing them wrong or is out to get them. They may make mistakes and then blame you for upsetting them so that they can't concentrate on their work. They will tell you that you are at fault for almost anything that goes wrong.

7. BLAMES OTHERS FOR FEELINGS:Abusive people will tell you, "you made me mad" and "I can't help being angry".  Although they actually makes the decision about how they think or feel, they will use feelings to manipulate you. Abusers see themselves as the "victim" in the relationship, and do not take responsibility for their own feelings or behaviors.

8. HYPERSENSITIVITY: Abusers are easily insulted, and may take the slightest setback as a personal attack. They will rant and rave about the injustice of things that are really just a part of living, such as having to get up for work, getting a traffic ticket, or being asked to help with chores.

9. CRUELTY TO ANIMALS OR CHILDREN:This is a person who punishes animals brutally or is insensitive to their pain. They may expect children to be capable of things beyond their ability. They may tease children and younger brothers and sisters until they cry. They may be very critical of other people's children or any children you bring into the relationship. Your partner may threaten to prevent you from seeing children you have no biological rights to, or punish children to get even with you. About 60% of people who beat their partner also beat their children.

10. "PLAYFUL" USE OF FORCE IN SEX: This kind of person may like to act out fantasies where the partner is helpless. They let you know that the idea of rape is exciting. They may show little concern about whether you wants to have sex, and use sulking or anger to manipulate you. They may start having sex with you while you are sleeping, or demand sex when you are ill or tired. They may want to "make up" by having sex after they have just been physically or verbally abusive to you.

11. VERBAL ABUSE: In addition to saying things that are meant to be cruel, this can be seen when the abuser degrades or curses you, belittling any of your accomplishments. They may say accuse you of not being a "real" lesbian or gay man. If you aren't out, they may threaten to out you to family members or your employer. The abuser will tell you that you are stupid and unable to function without them. They may wake you up to verbally abuse you, or not let you go to sleep.

12. RIGID SEX ROLES: Abusers expect the partner to play the "female" role; to serve them, and insists that you obey them in all things. The abuser sees you as unintelligent, inferior, responsible for menial tasks, and less than whole without the relationship. They will often tell you that no one else would want you or that you are nothing without them. They will remind you of everything they have done for you.

13. DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE: Many victims are confused by their abuser's sudden changes in mood, and may think it indicates a special mental problem. Abusers may be nice one minute, and explode the next. Explosiveness and moodiness are typical of people who beat their partners. Many victims feel if their partner would just quit drinking or using drugs, the violence would stop. This is usually not the case. Abusive people continue the abuse, even after they stop using alcohol or drugs, unless they also seek help for their abusive behavior.

14. PAST BATTERING: These people say they have hit a partner in the past, but the previous partner made them do it. You may hear from relatives or ex partners that the person has been abusive. A batterer will beat any person they are with if they are with that person long enough for violence to begin; situational circumstances do not make a person an abusive personality.

15. THREATS OF VIOLENCE: This could include any threat of physical force meant to control you: "I'll slap your mouth off", "I'll kill you", "I'll break your neck". Most people do not threaten their mates, but a batterer will say "everyone talks like that", or "it didn't mean anything".

16. BREAKING OR STRIKING OBJECTS: This behavior is used as a punishment (breaking loved possessions), but is used mostly to terrorize you into submission. The abuser may beat on the table with their fist or throw objects around. This is not only a sign of extreme emotional immaturity, but indicates great danger when someone thinks they have the "right" to punish or frighten their partner.

17. ANY FORCE DURING AN ARGUMENT: A batterer may hold you down, restrain you from leaving the room, push you, or shove you. They may pin you to the wall, saying, "You're going to listen to me!".


Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: twiggle on November 26, 2008, 04:28:30 PM
Patricia Evans has written two books on Verbal Abuse that I found extremely enlightening and helpful. You can find more info on her website. www.verbalabuse.com (http://www.verbalabuse.com)


Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: Mousse on November 26, 2008, 06:05:03 PM
Anything threatening is domestic violence - hitting/throwing objects, shaking a fist at someone, threatening words.  Anything physical including anything that 'holds you down' or prevents you from going where you want to go.  Any hitting, kicking, slapping, hair pulling, arm twisting, etc., even if it doesn't leave marks or they didn't 'mean' to leave marks or 'mean' to really hurt you.  I even feel that angry rages are violent because when someone is out of control like that you are in fear because you don't know what they will do or how it will escalate.


I like your words, Foiles. I left him for a shelter twice.  After the first time, I returned on the condition of no abuse, period.  It slid back, gradually.  But he was able to refrain from hitting me for a good 6 months or more, which made me think "we" (?) were getting better.  So, I express a contrary opinion, then all of a sudden, he starts spitting on me.  He actually says "You can't call the cops!  I'm not leaving any marks on you!".

So yeah, loss of control, my a$$.   It is very much the use of control, though in BP's it's coupled with impulsivity.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: back2reality on November 26, 2008, 06:48:22 PM
MYTH:     Domestic violence is a "loss of control."

FACT:    Violent behavior is a choice. Perpetrators use it to control their victims. Domestic violence is about batterers using their control, not losing their control.  Their actions are very deliberate.


As a twice survivor of domestic violence and as much information as I have come across, oddly, this is the first time I have read that violence is a USE of control rather than a LOSS of control.  I've had counselors even tell me that violence happens when the abuser loses control, BUT I never thought about control over whom - himself or the victim.  So the abuser loses control over his/herself in order to control their victim? 

Maybe I'm too tired to digest such a heavy topic right now... .

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: Mousse on November 26, 2008, 07:59:29 PM

I think the abuser sees her/himself losing control of the victim.  Victim starts talking back, emotionally pulling away, making friends and venturing out into the world, whatever.  Abuser panics - because they don't want to be alone, and because they feel entitled to get what they want.  Nastiness always worked before to get the partner to give in and put the focus back on the abuser, so why not step it up a bit to make it work better (AKA escalation)?

Of course, impulsiveness plays a role here - as it does for all of us when we react in anger.  But in abuse, there is an underlying strategy to get control of the other person, and to avoid thinking of them as a "real person" with real needs and rights.  That's where degradation (verbal/emotional/financial) comes in - to set the stage to justify the abuser's actions.

Even when the abuser apologizes, the focus somehow stays on them - how they want to die, how they were hurt too, how they lost it - in other words, "poor me, I am so vulnerable, and you drove me to it".  Again, I think dehumanizing the victim is the key - the victim isn't fully real to the abuser, with real feelings and rights.   Patricia Evans's teddy bear analogy is a good one.

Not that I'm an expert by any means - I'm just going by what I observed from my own life.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: cult on November 26, 2008, 08:07:09 PM
Have you been told…
But I've never hit you!
Partner abuse is not about physical violence, it's about control. Hitting is often unnecessary to maintain control in a relationship. Verbal, emotional and economic abuse can be powerful and devastating weapons.
You've hit me too, so if I'm abusive, so are you.
Partner abuse is never mutual. Although both partners may use violence, abusers do so to control their partners; survivors may use physical violence in self-defense or to try to stop the abuse.
You know I'd never hurt you. I was high, I didn't know what I was doing.
Partner abuse is not the result of addiction, it's a behavioral choice. There are many abusers who don't use and many substance abusers who don't abuse. Getting clean and sober is no guarantee of your safety.
How can you say I'm abusing you when you're so much stronger than I am?
Partner abuse is about control, not size or strength. There is no way to tell by looking at a couple who is the abuser and who is abused.
I'll never do it again, I promise. We'll go for help.
Abusers may seem remorseful or promise to change after an incident, but often these promises are only attempts to keep you from leaving. Real change requires taking full responsibility for the abuse and committing to non-abusive behavior whether or not you stay together. This kind of change doesn't happen overnight (if at all) and usually requires the help of a state certified program for batterers. Couples counseling does not help abusers stop abusing, and can actually be dangerous for you.
You always say how great our relationship is - how can you say I'm abusive?
Abusers can be charming, wonderful, caring, fun people. If they weren't, no one would go out with them. Just because they can be nice doesn't mean they can't be abusive, and it doesn't make the abuse okay.
You don't understand - I'm just being butch.
Blaming abusive behavior on being butch is both insulting to butches and plain denial. While some butches abuse, so do some femmes. You and/or your abuser may identify as butch, femme or neither. Partner abuse can happen in all kinds of relationships, regardless of sexual identity, gender identity or gender presentation.
I thought you liked rough sex.
No one wants or likes to be raped or abused. Although some batterers may say their abusive behavior is really just part of an s/m scene, s/m requires the consent of all involved, and a scene can be stopped by any participant at any time. If your partner is disrespectful of your limits, ignores your safe word, or violates your boundaries, it's not s/m - it's abuse.
Women are safe, we don't abuse each other.
Abuse occurs in relationships between women as often as in straight relationships, and women have been seriously injured and killed by their female partners.
No one else will want you because you're transgender.
Abusers can use transphobia as a tactic of control, you don't have to put up with abuse to find love, but no matter what your partner says, you don't deserve to be abused.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: MathCoreChick on November 26, 2008, 11:24:37 PM
my EX would use the fact that i could fight back physically on an equal level as an excuse to put his hands on me to control me.  ex went to jail.  math and ex did not break up.  lather rinse repeat (all except the jail part, and even know i dont know how we both didnt end up going at times)

once is too many times.  just because you can fight back doesnt mean you should ever have to.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: Matt on November 26, 2008, 11:31:18 PM
If I had it to do over again... .

* I would not keep it a secret.  The escalating verbal abuse - only my kids knew about it - I didn't tell my family or friends - I did not document it in any way - I did not talk with a counselor or even tell the marriage counselor we saw briefly - I did not consult a family law attorney.  I just told myself, in my mind, how wrong it was, and how there was nothing I could do about it.

* The first incident of violence - I could have documented it;  I could have called the police;  I could have told my wife's family;  I could have told my family and friends;  I could have written my wife an e-mail to at least document that this happened;  I could have consulted an attorney to find out what options I had, like maybe taking civil action, family court, etc.

* I could have confronted her:  "What you did was violent, wrong, and illegal.  I will not keep it a secret.  You will either get some help to make sure you never do that again, or I will take actions to protect myself and the kids from you."

So of course it happened again.  I still didn't call the police - she did!  Which put me on the defensive - dumb.  I should absolutely have called the police as soon as she became violent - this time she was totally wild and dangerous.  I should have insisted they arrest her, and I think they would have.  I should have gotten an Order Of Protection that very night, so when she got out of jail the next day she couldn't come home.  She would have been on the defensive, not me.

But that's me - different situations need different choices - what do you all wish you had done?


Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: Mousse on November 27, 2008, 09:31:30 AM
I'm with Matt and the rest - I would not have kept it a secret.  I would not have excused it.  I would not have had that little voice in my head that said "We're different from other people.  This can't really be so bad.  We're not the kind of people who need to call the cops." 

You know, what continues to blow my mind is that I had NO problem confronting any derogatory remarks directed at our child, or physically and verbally intervening when I saw him physically restraining our kid (in an abusive, not disciplinary way).  So why did I let myself get hit for so long?

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: DragoN on November 27, 2008, 10:37:38 PM
There are lots of reasons why people stay with abuse that have nothing to do with weakness.  It bugs me when I hear other people blame the victim, because that continues to make victims blame themselves.  They feel too ashamed to admit what's going on and ask for help.

I agree with this... .but at the end of the day... .to make it stop, the victim owns part of the responsibility , she/he stayed. That is the part that causes the most pain. We don't stay because we "like' abuse... .we stay for 1000 other reasons.

In the end... .often end up hating oneself for that. I know I do.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: LAPDR on November 28, 2008, 07:47:48 AM
In Wednesday's newspaper there was an article about domestic violence and the statistics from the Institute for Domestic Violence reported that calls into help lines has increased 15% - 20% since the start of the current financial crisis. Items cited were money problems, loss of job and possible loss of home being the major issues driving the problems.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: cult on November 28, 2008, 10:37:15 AM
I would agree that DV can happen to anyone. After all, many abusers are able to cloak themselves in a veil of sweetness, attentiveness, and consideration until they snap.

We really have no way of knowing someone we're in a new relationship with is an abuser - until the moment they snap.

The difference is that some of us won't put up with it for a second and get out, and others stay. I think that's really the ONLY difference.

And for those of us who are primarily "battered" emotionally, it's much harder to draw the line than those of us whose partners became physically aggressive. It's so easy to second-guess ourselves, to make excuses for the abuser, to believe them when they tell us we are "too sensitive" and to convince ourselves we heard them wrong or "they didn't really mean it."

For me, in past relationships, the physical abuse was an immediate deal-breaker. The one time it happened I literally ran down the stairs, out the door, and home, and never saw her again (this person was the BPD ex).  Emotional abuse was something I was willing to put up with, though. It took me years to finally choose a partner who treated me well.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: Skip on November 28, 2008, 11:01:59 AM
MYTH:     If the victim didn't like it, she would leave.

FACT:    Victims do not like the abuse. They stay in the relationship for many reasons, including fear. Most do eventually leave.

A lot of comments about zero tolerance... .but I suspect few would leave after a single event... especially if there are significant financial or family consequences... .or its a first event... .or it was not injurous.  That seems to be a common theme here... ."I recommend zero tolerance, but I didn't practice it myself."

So what are the appropriate reactions in these cases?

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: Matt on November 28, 2008, 11:06:05 AM
So what are the appropriate reactions in these cases?

I think you're right, Skip, most of us say "zero tolerance" but didn't practice it at the time.

But I still think zero tolerance is right - I just didn't realize it at the time.

What's more, I didn't immediately see what happened - she threw an iron at me - as "domestic violence" or "abuse".  I just didn't think in those terms.  I wasn't sensitive to what was happening.  I literally laughed it off - said she threw like a girl (which she did).  Like a lot of men, I was not afraid of being hurt physically, and I did not fully understand the other impacts of what was happening - that my own wife would do something like that had a lot of implications beyong hurting me physically.

I think what's appropriate depends on the situation.  The one thing I would say for everyone is:  Don't keep it a secret.  Immediately tell someone - the police, a civil complaint, a friend or neighbor or family member - tell someone right away what happened, and document it if possible.  Keeping it a secret means it will happen again.  Telling someone will be the start of making some type of change - doing something about it - and that is critical.  You must not accept this behavior - something must change - and if you tell someone right away you can get help thinking through your options and taking some action.

We really have no way of knowing someone we're in a new relationship with is an abuser - until the moment they snap.

With all due respect, Cult, I'm not sure I agree.  I never thought my wife would physically assault me - that much is true - and I had known her for many years and been married for more than 10 years when it first happened.  But before she was physically violent, she had been extremely verbally abusive for many years.  The first time she spoke to me in a bizarre and inappropriate way - her anger way out of proportion to the situation - I had the information I needed at that time to know that something was wrong.  I did not draw the right conclusion;  thought it was a single odd instance.

To prevent abuse before it happens, I think we need to pay more attention to odd and aggressive behaviors, and consider where they come from and whether they indicate a problem - they probably do.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: zeroday on November 28, 2008, 02:33:25 PM
A lot of comments about zero tolerance... .but I suspect few would leave after a single event... especially if there are significant financial or family consequences... .or its a first event... .or it was not injurous.  That seems to be a common theme here... ."I recommend zero tolerance, but I didn't practice it myself."

So what are the appropriate reactions in these cases?

A true one-time event might be excusable, such as a slap in the middle of a heated argument, or grabbing someone's arm.  It's unacceptable behavior, but it might be fixable. 

But violence used to control, and/or repeated incidents?  Zero tolerance.  Leave as soon as it is safe, and never go back.

I've never faced physical violence myself, so who knows how'd I react, and if I'd really practice what I preach.  But I feel very strongly about this. 

In my opinion, the mental effects are the most devastating consequences of physical violence.  And I think it's even worse if you remain in that situation without doing anything to defend yourself, either physically or legally.  Once you suppress your natural instinct to flee or fight, there's only one way to survive, and that's by freezing, and doing nothing.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: MathCoreChick on November 29, 2008, 12:04:44 AM
i also think the aftereffects on the kids is something to point out.

i can only speak for myself.  i lived for the first 7 years of my life in an environment where both my parents beat the hell out of each other.  i grew up thinking this was the norm, and allowed it to set a precedent for the interactions between me and the EX. 

after the first time the EX went to jail he had to go to a program and was screened weekly (sometimes bi-weekly) for drugs/ alcohol.  he never stopped either and got away with it because he had a good ole boy p.o. who thought all women deserved it.  no i am not kidding.  he would rub this in my face when he came back from his check-ins with his p.o.  since we couldnt hit each other anymore we then had to find new ways to battle it out.  as you can imagine it went downhill fast from there.  it never happened again after he went to jail, but the emotional terrorism that replaced it was just as bad, if not worse.

just because they stop doesnt mean its all better.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: DragoN on November 30, 2008, 09:18:46 AM
1. I've been falsely accused, at least passively, of "emotional abuse".  Does that mean I've been "involved in" emotional abuse (more like, towards me)?

2. Needless to say, I'm extremely wary of the subjective portions of these checklists.  I don't doubt that "emotional abuse" exists, but a BPD by definition is very frequently feeling like they are being attacked, when they actually aren't.

3.Presenting a BPD with a paradigm where they can "be" 100% the victim, with their SO being 100% guilty, where they will be instantly and uncritically believed in their presentation and showered with support in their delusions, is, ah, not good. Not sure how to prevent it, though.

Good point.

Didn't even know the Terms "Emotional Abuse, Verbal abuse, Domestic Violence"... .till I met my H and was trying like heck to understand what was going on. By then, was already too late.

Referring to point 1... .If one stands accused... . moi one must question the veracity of the statement. Has my Intent been assigned to me by another? Or, was I 'emotionally abusive' to some one who is far more sensitive to such than I?umm... .guilty...

Referring to point 2... .yeah. They are Not being attacked, but perceive that they are, that is their reality and right to hold that perception erroneous or not, so how does one communicate in a manner to let them know otherwise?... I have no real clue... .but will see how effective the workshop tools are

Referring to point 3... .Tough one, their reality and perceptions are as real and valid as our own. How comfortable are we allowing others to assign limits and corrections on our own perceptions of reality? Breaking point?


Where violence is concerned, or the threat of violence, or false accusations of violence, my view remains that these are absolutes - not negotiable, not to be traded for other things.  "I'll agree not to throw an iron at you if you agree to validate my feelings."  Uh, no.  There will be no violence, period.

Some things are Black and White. the BPD domain... oddly enough... .

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: Matt on November 30, 2008, 09:35:19 AM
Referring to point 3... .Tough one, their reality and perceptions are as real and valid as our own.

I think this is one of the ideas common among counselors and other behavioral-health professionals that is false and harmful.  It goes along with what I described here:  each party's needs are equally valid.  Uh, no, not necessarily.

We each perceive reality differently, and when dealing with most people I think it's good to consider each party's view as equally valid;  even if the other person is wrong about something, by starting out with the assumption that we're both equally in touch with reality, we can usually work out all the issues we deal with day-to-day.

But in dealing with someone whose view is skewed by a personality disorder, we need to remember that we really don't know how they see things and we can't assume that they are in touch with reality.  I think it's a mistake to assume that their perceptions are as valid as our own - that way lies madness!

My wife accused me dozens of times of being unfaithful to her - often in front of the kids.  I think she may have believed what she was saying;  she often said "I know you are doing such-and-such with so-and-so" and it sounded very convincing.  I think she really did know that.  But it wasn't true.  There is an objective reality.  I never once was unfaithful to her in any way.  I think she believed (and maybe still believes) something that is simply not true.

Marriage counselors in particular may, very reasonably, assume they are dealing with two people who are mostly OK but each have some issues.  That's probably true for most of their clients.  We need to remember that we are dealing with people who are not mostly OK.  Even though each of us probably has our own issues too, let's not give in to the assumption that we're just as screwed up as the BPD sufferer in our lives.  We might lose ourselves if we do that.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: DragoN on November 30, 2008, 09:56:12 AM
Agree with you Matt... .was trying to see it from their/his side.

Their reality is short circuited by a PD,.,,and around and around we go with that.

Insight is not the strong point for those with PD problems... .but in dealing with them... .unfortunately one is almost forced to conclude that their version of reality is the reality that will prevail... .ultimately. As Non BPD partner will have to make all manner of choices and actions based on the perceived reality of the BPD partner.


My wife accused me dozens of times of being unfaithful to her - often in front of the kids.  I think she may have believed what she was saying;  she often said "I know you are doing such-and-such with so-and-so" and it sounded very convincing.  I think she really did know that.  But it wasn't true.  There is an objective reality.  I never once was unfaithful to her in any way.  I think she believed (and maybe still believes) something that is simply not true.

My H did the same... .till it wore really thin. The illogic of the accusations became so bleeding idiotic I questioned his intelligence. *boom*

If they truly believed that to be the case... .they would be coughing up evidence. As it was, evidence of the imagination didn't stand for anything. 'Emotional Abuse'... .it IS. And a great mechanism to jerk their unwitting partner's chain... .cuz it hurts to be doubted.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: Auspicious on December 01, 2008, 05:00:39 AM
Referring to point 3... .Tough one, their reality and perceptions are as real and valid as our own.

I think this is one of the ideas common among counselors and other behavioral-health professionals that is false and harmful.  It goes along with what I described here:  each party's needs are equally valid.  Uh, no, not necessarily.

I agree with you. It's actually a rather bizarre assumption when you think about it - pretty much by definition somebody who is suffering from mental illness has a distorted perception of reality,

'course I guess it's hard to keep it all straight sometimes. We know that their perceptions are often wrong (what Bill Eddy calls their Mistaken Assessment of Danger, for example). But if we communicate with them like somebody who is out of touch with reality, that's very alienating. So we almost have to develop a kind of cognitive dissonance where we "believe" that their reality is valid while remembering that it isn't. I guess it's not surprising that some folks resolve that dissonance by really coming to believe that "everybody has their own valid reality".

Even though each of us probably has our own issues too, let's not give in to the assumption that we're just as screwed up as the BPD sufferer in our lives.  We might lose ourselves if we do that.

There's another website for family members of mentally ill people where I really got into quite the argument about that. The regulars insisted quite dogmatically that the codependent person is "equally as sick" as the mentally ill person. That's a lovely theory, but I just don't think it's true.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: united for now on December 01, 2008, 09:37:31 AM
My first relationship lasted 21 years. He was NOT BPD in any way, shape, or form, but there was many incidents of him getting drunk on hard liqour. He was a mean drunk on that stuff, and would turn very critical and verbally abusive towards me, then one time he got so upset that he  held my arms so tightly that he left bruises on me and threw me on the bed. I left him that night, and went to stay with family for 3 days. No kids, no marriage, so no reason to put up with it. He called and promised to never drink hard alchohal again, since he finally recognized that it made him a mean drunk. That was in year 1 of our relationship, and he stuck to that for the next 20 years. He never again drank anything besides beer and he never came close to being physical with me. He acted - I reacted and set a firm boundary that was never approaced again.

Now, did he stick to that commitment due to my being so firm the first time it happened, or was it because we were both young and he hadn't established any bad habits yet? Could he have become an abuser if he had been with someone who had accepted his excuses and apologies and not been so firm? Drinking shots was a large part of the culture during our young life, so for him to give it up meant he went against a lot of peer pressure, but he did it anyway, time after time, year after year. For him, he knew hard liquor made him mean, so he thought of it as poison and refused. It could have gone differently though... .

For me, I wouldn't tolerate any form of physical abuse then or now - but I did sit there while my now uBPbf of 4 years screamed hateful and hurtful things at me. I listened as he blamed me for everything that was wrong. I felt bad because I wasn't doing things the way HE wanted me to. I just wanted it to stop, so I gave in. Weaker boundaries and fear of him leaving me kept me silent and compliant.

One time, over two years ago, he got very upset while I was driving and punched the windshield in anger. I kept my cool and didn't escalate things, but I also didn't see it as physical abuse and surprisingly I remember not being scared of him. Now I recognize that it was a display of his power and an attempt to intimidate me. I guess since I didn't respond in the appropriate way of being scared, that so far it hasn't happened again. His excuse? "At least I didn't hit you... ."

Now that my eyes are open to what it was?

I won't tolerate signs or attempts to intimidate me, now that I know what it is designed to do... .

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: united for now on December 01, 2008, 10:40:46 AM
I believe that for many, it is a choice to become violent, in an attempt to regain control over their partner.

They can become that way when they feel they are losing their power over us, when we begin to become stronger and less compliant. They feel threatened and scared themselves, so they use aggression against us to "put us back in our place". It can become an extreme example of an extinction burst. One member wrote about the elevator analogy, that when his SO went through it, she didn't just punch the buttons, but took a sledge hammer to the panel in her attempt to regain control - to get things working like she wished them too... .

How do we deal with it?

That's the million dollar question, and for each of us it is different.

Understand that it is always wrong though, and that it needs to stop.

If we are going to stay, then we need to develop new skills and change our responses, since our previous attempts didn't work too well. You can't keep hoping for change - you have to create it... .We need to learn how to protect ourselves, and hopefully begin to recognize the warning signs early enough to take that time out, and not stick around for things to reach the point of violence and hurt.  To be more proactive rather than reactive.

We need to love ourselves MORE than we love them. To believe that we deserve better than to be abused. That if the relationship is to survive, that we are the ones who will have to make the changes first, and hopefully they will learn to follow our lead. If not? then we leave for good... .

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: Skip on December 03, 2008, 12:30:18 PM
A lot of comments about zero tolerance... .but I suspect few would leave after a single event... especially if there are significant financial or family consequences... .or its a first event... .or it was not injurous.  That seems to be a common theme here... ."I recommend zero tolerance, but I didn't practice it myself."

So what are the appropriate reactions in these cases?

If you haven't already - watch this short video


The point of this vid is:

1) we know the sequence of events that will lead to the next confrontation (it will be a repeat of before)

2) today, in the peace of day, we can design how you will react next time in a way to be safe

3) we can practice it - like a fire drill - over and over.  Like in the trauma of a fire we won't have time to think - we need to know the drill and we need to know ahead of time what should trigger our plan (don't let it get all the way  to confrontation).

Confrontations often have a pattern.  Can you think of the earliest point in the pattern that you can recognize when it is starting to "go down"?  

When that happens, what exactly will you do?

Wait a year?  Not actionable - that won't help you in a DV incident.

Go No Contact? Too general - that won't help you in a DV incident.

Zero tolerance Too general - that won't help you in a DV incident.

Not be triggered? Not realistic - if it was that easy we would have done it before.

See the point?

We really need something detailed and real, like:

Say we need to use the restroom, grab our emergency stash, quietly go out the back door to the neighbors and have them call us a cab.  Go to a hotel that we have previously identified and check in under an assumed name (we may need to pre-arrange this).  Send a text message to his phone saying that we are heartbroken that its another fight - we are safe - and we will be home tomorrow. Call the police and get the incident on record. Turn off the phone. (example only)

The idea is to have a step by step plan side step the drama, get where we can't be found, send a conciliatory note that we are "safe, gone for a day, and hope for better when we return".

After we use one, you may need another plan for the next time.  

We can't experince DV if we are gone.  And it gives both of us time to cool.


Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: StillBarbM on January 14, 2009, 03:56:15 PM
Wow Skip - that's really helpful!

definition and much, much more:  www.ywca.org/site/pp.asp?c=8nKFITNvEoG&b=1122883

Sorry this isn't set up as a link, but I'm kind of hurrying while baby's sleeping. . .  I didn't read everyone's comments real fully. . .

The above will take you to the YWCA Battered Women Task Force site from the Topeka, KS, YWCA.  It is pretty much the standard information given by most all domestic violence programs, nationwide.  I hold a special place in my heart for the BWTH in Topeka.  They saved my life.  There is also a program there called "Alternatives to Battering" which focuses on helping the abusers learn a different way.  My ex actually participated in that program himself, and we enjoyed a few good years as a result.

There is much information you can link to from this web address.  Information for all types of domestic violence, no matter what kind of relationship.  There is also much information concerning sexual abuse and rape recovery.

The bottom line, domestic violence isn't always between a husband and wife.  It doesn't always include broken bones and bleeding.  It can include so many different things that don't have anything to do with actual physical acts.  But most importantly, it ALWAYS escalates, it always cycles, and and there is no way to know when the line will be crossed between simple threats used as control, and actual physical violence.  Unless there is some intervention to break the cycle, it repeats over and over and over.  In my case, I spent many, many years being tomrented and controlled mainly through terroristic threats, money, pet abuse, property destruction, but each time I tried to actually do something about it, it always became explosively violent and dangerous - ALWAYS.  And it would have kept going that way if I wouldn't have learned how to change ME - what was in me that contributed to the cycle.  It is only ME that could change, or it would keep going on and on the way it was, and if and when I did break free, I'd probably end up being attracted to the next abusive person in my life.  That was hard to accept.  That I had responsibility in WHY this was happening.

I finally had a counselor at the BWTH sit me down, replay the recording of what had gone on in my house when a SWAT team and my ex all thought the kids and I were still in the house.  I'd escaped through a window hours earlier, but no one knew that.  She asked me, when I was not wanting to go into the shelter, if I was waiting for someone to be dead before I could finally see that I was in an abusive relationship.  What was it going to take?  I was later taken to my home to see what he'd done to it, by the counselor, as well.  Finally, I understood that if I didn't do something, learn all I could on how to get out of this relationship, we would end up on the front page - ":)eranged Viet Nam Veteran Kills Wife and Kids, Then Self. . ."

All I'd done to set this off was suggest about thirty minutes earlier that I drive us home from our friends' house as he'd had too much to drink.  What a ride home THAT was.

If we'd been in the room he thought we were in, my children and I would be dead.  It took SWAT over six hours to get him out of the house alive and once that happened, it was considered a certainty that they would unbarricade our bedroom door to find me and my children shot to death.  So much gunfire, and just about everything we owned splintered beyond recognition by his rage.  And at this point, there had been no direct violence to my actual person for a very long time.  I hadn't been hit.  But I'd had a fist put through the wall within a fraction of an inch of my face.  I'd had all of my clothing cut up with knives while hanging in the closet.  I'd had every piece of furniture in the house that really meant something to me chopped up and thrown into the fire place.  Family heirlooms destroyed.  Photos and other important to me mementos destroyed.  I'd had my dog shot in the head right in front of me and my children because he'd been chasing the cat around and it pissed him off.

I could go on with the numerous other acts of domestic violence that occurred that had nothing whatsoever to do with actual damage to my person, but this should give a good picture.  There was plenty of the other at times but I have to say, for me, it was mainly terrorism and the threat that if I tried to leave and take the kids, he'd kill us all, and he'd kill anyone who tried to help us.  These speaks to some of the discussion here as to "why" we stay.  Terror.  Fear.  And guilt that would be felt if someone got hurt or worse because they were trying to help me.  On several occasions I asked law enforcement to leave because I didn't want some young cop, probably with little kids of his own, getting blown away because he'd answered a DV call to my house.

I don't much like going down this memory lane, but if it will help others to get the help they need to get out of these kinds of situations, it is worth it.  This is just one, really small piece of the entire story for me, but it was the big turning point for me.  This event got me into the shelter and involved with the Task Force.  I learned all I could.  Safety plans were developed.  Escape plans as well.  Long term planning.  Shelter, food and clothing was provided, even being moved to a distant shelter when it was feared we'd been found where we were.  At one point, arrangements were made to change my identity and sent me to another state altogether.  Counseling.  And even though it took a number of years, I was able to break free with everyone still alive.  Lots and lots of help.  Help that is available to ANYONE who is in a DV situation but thinks they may be trapped, or unique, or deserve it, which is so common.

I have friends I made through these programs who were not as fortunate as I.  :)omestic violence is one of the leading causes of early death for women.  It takes hard work to change ourselves once we've been twisted by someone elses desire to have total power and control over us.  It can be done however and it is through these types of programs that it is done.

I hope this can help in some way.  Love, hugs and God bless, Barb

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: Skip on January 15, 2009, 01:23:33 PM
We have excerpts from the Domestic Violence Training Manual, SIMMONS School Of Social Work , Massachusetts NASW Committee on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault 
It is eye opening to me to see all of the different types of resources available in the communities.  Here is a short list and descriptions from the manual:
If a person is in immediate danger of physical harm, they should always call 911 or their local police emergency number.
Many times, however, survivors are looking for assistance and support without being in imminent danger. A hotline is a good resource for such instances. Hotlines are 24 hour numbers that are staffed by trained counselors. The counselors can provide emotional support, assistance with finding emergency shelter, safety planning, and information about legal options. Survivors can call anonymously and confidentially, although hotline counselors are also mandated reporters.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline - 1-800-799-SAFE provides safety planning, information, emotional support, and referrals to local domestic violence programs.
Shelters provide a safe place for many women and children to escape the violence in their homes. Most shelters will provide additional support services to the residents and community, including individual counseling, case management, support groups, children’s services, and legal advocacy. Most shelters are funded to allow a stay of 14-90 days. These services are typically free.
The goal of a shelter program is to provide a safe place for survivors and their children to manage the crisis and begin to recover from the violence while they locate safe and more long-term housing.
Battered women’s shelters generally operate differently from homeless shelters because of the safety risks to the residents. Battered women’s shelters are usually located in undisclosed locations and have rules that residents must follow in an effort to maximize everyone’s safety. These rules may include not telling people where they are, taking a leave of absence from their jobs, and having no contact with their abusive partner. Additionally, most shelter programs will not take a family or individual from the communities that they serve, although they will assist them with locating space in another shelter. The reason for this is that it is easy for an abusive partner to track a survivor to the local program.
Unfortunately, shelter beds are not always available. Shelters may be full or, for various reasons, unable to meet the needs of the family. For example: many shelters will not allow a woman to bring a son over the age of 12; most will not accept adult male survivors of domestic violence; some are not equipped to accommodate certain physical, medical, or dietary needs. Increasingly, there are specialized programs to meet these needs.
If a battered woman’s shelter is unavailable for any reason, it is important for you to identify with the person another place where she or he may seek emergency shelter.
Shelter bed availability changes from day to day. Sometimes if an alternate safe place can be found for a night or two, space will open up in a shelter. In some circumstances the survivor may feel safe, temporarily staying with family, friends or others.
Safe Home Programs
Safe home programs are similar to shelter programs, but are very short term—usually providing a place to stay for only a few days. Some of the safe home programs are designed to meet the needs of those survivors that the shelter programs can not accommodate. A safe home program will work with the family or individual to find another safe place to go at the end of their stay. Like shelter programs, safe home programs can be accessed through all the hotlines. Safe home programs are typically free.
Hospitals and Health Centers
In the last decade, many hospitals and health centers have begun to establish domestic violence programs or hire domestic violence advocates.
These programs typically offer safety planning, individual and group support, and information and referrals. The staff of the programs also train the medical personnel on how to safely and effectively intervene with survivors. 
Survivors can access these programs by contacting a hospital or health center where they have received medical care and asking to be connected to the domestic violence services.
The programs are usually free and confidential. Participation in the program does not usually appear in the survivor’s medical record, although it is recommended that the survivor ask about this to be sure.
Employee Assistance Programs
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) have also been developing expertise in working with survivors of domestic violence in the workplace. Typically, EAPs have been able to offer short-term counseling, information, and referrals to survivors. Additionally, EAPs can help with conflicts that might arise at work related to domestic violence and help a survivor develop a safety plan for the workplace. Domestic violence is one of the leading causes of employee absence.
Police Departments
Many police departments have officers designated to follow domestic violence cases and/or civilian advocates stationed in the department. The domestic violence officer or advocate can assist the survivor with filing a police report for an incident, enforcing a restraining order, or following up on abuse incidents. In an emergency, a survivor should work with any police officer. However, after an incident, it is useful for the survivor to contact the domestic violence officer or advocate and update them regarding the situation. This allows for more consistent response by the police. If the abuser is a police officer, this resource may be compromised.
Many people who have been abused seek support and protection through the district (criminal) and/or probate (family) court systems. Frequently, this takes the form of a protection order (restraining order) from the court.
Survivors of domestic violence can seek additional relief from the probate court in the form of custody and/or visitation orders and/or divorce. A few probate courts will have legal clinics at which a person can get free or low-cost legal advice for the day.
Survivors who are financially eligible may access a family law attorney through a local legal service agency. Such agencies provide free or reduced-fee legal assistance and often have attorneys who specialize in domestic violence cases. Shelters may also provide limited legal assistance around specific matters and/or have a listing of attorneys that provide free or reduced fees.
Department of Social Services
The Department of Social Services (DSS) is the child protection agency in Massachusetts. A large percentage of the families involved with this agency are dealing with abuse between the parents or a parent and a significant other.
Although having DSS involved in a family’s life can be very distressing and scary for the survivor, DSS can often be a source of support as well. Sometimes, this agency is able to assist the family with accessing services that they might not otherwise be able to access. For example, DSS may offer assistance with accessing shelters, specialized counseling for the survivor and/or children, or a batterer’s intervention program for the batterer. Additionally, DSS may be able to provide funding for an after-school program, day care, or other child-related service, depending upon the specific needs of the family. 
It is essential to engage in ongoing safety planning with the non-abusive parent when DSS is involved, as this intervention can escalate the abuse.
Individual Counseling
Survivors of domestic violence benefit from talking with a safe, supportive person. There are many potential sources of counseling available. These include domestic violence counselors in battered women’s programs and licensed professionals such as social workers, psychologists, and mental health workers. 

Couple Counseling 
Survivors often wonder if couple counseling would be helpful in ending the violence.
Sometimes this is the only form of help to which the abusive partner will agree. Often a social worker may not know if there is domestic violence. People seeking couple counseling often do not identify domestic violence as a presenting issue. It is important, therefore, always to interview each member of a couple separately, before agreeing that couple’s therapy is the appropriate form of help.
Couple counseling requires that both people be honest and open. In the case of domestic violence, survivors may face serious consequences for sharing information about the relationship. Alternatively, survivors may choose not to share vital information to protect themselves.
It is important that you recognize the real danger survivors face in their daily lives.  If there is on-going violence in the relationship, couple counseling is not a safe option. Even if the abuse is not physical, there are risks to participating in couple counseling for the survivor.
Support groups
Many survivors find a support group very helpful. Most battered women’s programs in the community, hospitals, and in mental health clinics will offer groups for survivors. Often these groups are free. There are some programs that will offer support groups in languages other than English.
Rape Crisis Services
Some battered women’s programs are affiliated with a rape crisis center or also provide rape crisis services. Often overlooked, sexual assault within an intimate relationship is a very common occurrence. Some survivors may find it helpful to get support specifically around the sexual abuse they are experiencing. This can be done through a rape crisis center, if preferred, or a domestic violence program.
Batterer Intervention Programs
There are many programs to which a batterer may be referred. Some of these are state-certified Batterer Intervention Programs. These programs use a group model to address the batterer's violence.
Groups usually meet over a period of 40 weeks. During this time, the abuser is engaged in a process of taking responsibility for their behavior and is held accountable for his actions by both the group facilitators and other group members.
These groups are offered in different languages and are also offered to lesbian and gay batterers. 
During the first stage of the group, the survivor will be contacted by a Partner Contact. This person’s role is to maintain confidential, periodic contact with the survivor in an effort to assess the current abuse in the relationship and to provide resources and support around safety. 
Immigration Services
Immigrant survivors of domestic violence may have difficulty finding appropriate resources. Frequently an immigrant survivor is more isolated as a result of language barriers, immigration status, and lack of knowledge about options and services in the United States. 
Some battered women’s agencies are able to provide services in different languages.
It is strongly recommended that if there is any concern regarding the immigrant survivor’s legal status, an attorney specializing in immigration law be consulted.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: TCarlisle on January 24, 2010, 11:25:30 AM
Regarding the section on immigration... .there are US federal laws in place that can be leveraged to get relief when a person who is not a US citizen is trapped by an abusive spouse and seemingly can't get out without being deported. A person in this situation should seek legal assistance, if possible, to petition the US gov't for green card based on the abuse from the US citizen spouse. If you can't get a lawyer, you can do it yourself. It isn't as big of a deal as it may seem. It is done by a hearing panel, not in court, and you just have to make a convincing case. Of course, if you have been to court to get an RO or have any police reports of DV, that makes your case even stronger.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: 1bravegirl on February 02, 2010, 01:50:21 AM
This thread couldnt of come at a better time.  I just posted a thread asking "how long does it take to find yourself again?" and now I realize why its taking so long.

I was abused physically and emotionally for 24 yrs!  And i wonder why im not feeling better in a few months? Geese... I wonder...    

It makes perfect sense when I remember all the abuse I endured.  I guess you have to block it out to continue to stay in the relationship but now that Im out, I wonder how much that lifetime of violence and raging and abuse has damaged me?  Will I ever be whole again?

I am in therapy and see two different therapists but havent focused on the abuse issue since I have been on the path of trying to free myself first.  and now that im free, I feel stuck.  Stuck on stupid... Stuck on somethin... but definately stuck in my mind and not able to pick up the pieces.

I really appreciate why im struggling so much now.   amazing what we can blind ourselves to.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: Celiann on February 02, 2010, 10:22:04 PM

Thanks for posting your comment because I feel the same way. Like you, I have been verbally and sometimes physically abused for over 20 years. I have finally recognized it for what it is and spoke to a lawyer. I have put some very strict boundaries since a month and I am LC. Peace has settled in the house since a few weeks although we are still living under the same roof.

My husband is seeing a psychiatrist and beg me not to leave him.

I am in therapy, but again like you, unable to pick-up the pieces. For me shame prevails. I feel constantly ashamed that I stayed so long and that I took the abuse. I knew there was a problem but I always dismissed it under the pretext that I was with a "difficult" person. Now I feel terribly, terribly ashamed. And I am more "depressed" now than I was when I had to face the abuses.

If someone could explain to me, why I feel this way... .

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: 1bravegirl on February 03, 2010, 03:46:21 AM
I think i know why cause thats exactly where im at/  when we are in it and making excuses for the abuse and living on the edge with all that adrenaline not knowing when the next shoe will drop or the next rage will occur, we dont have time to feel anything but survival and stay in denial for the most part just to cope.

But when we finally except the horrible abuse that occurred and how we too had a part in allowing it for so long we start to allow ourselves to feel things we blocked out before... And the truth will set us free but it also hurts a great deal if you havent been living in it.

So with all the new things we are allowing ourselves to feel and come to terms with, we will feel like at times its harder than the abuse itself, because we were accustomed to the abuse and allowed it to become somewhat the norm...   as a way to deal with our reality... without having to face how ugly an existence that was.  But now we have no reason to block anything out and the truth is staring us in the face and it hurts... As you said, the shame you feel is overwhelming at times... I dont feel a lot of shame since from the beginning i had strong self esteem and was a very confident and optimistic person and i wasnt til the last 5 yrs that I lost all that...   but i still always reminded myself and him too that I was not those things and it was his way of making me feel bad about myself since he had so many unresolved issues and we all know how misery loves company... so for the longest, if he cussed me out i wouldnt even let it bother me cuz i knew it wasnt true and i made the excuse that he was just very very ill  mentally and had that ugly abusive mentality passed down from generation to generation and that was all he knew...  

But now i understand, thats not my fault@  and i shouldnt help the cycle continue and be abused too!  no thanks... but it takes time to find yourself and your strength that you had the entire time but didnt know how to use it.  I pray you can overcome that feeling of shame...   It was something that was done to you...   and they hold us down by making us feel ashamed of their behavior... another controlling tactic that they use to strip us of all self worth...   you have nothing to be ashamed of.  Many times we are too insecure or we dont feel like we can make it on our own financially or whatever... it take s time to see your way through the FOG... and thats a very normal process... please know you have no reason to be ashamed of his abusive behavior towards you... That is his issue so we have to allow them to completely own it and free ourselves of anything having to do with their hangups...  

We dont have those abusive hang-ups so why should we feel bad for them.? It certainly isnt a case of "ignorance is bliss"  lol   no we were ignorant in many ways but we found a way to educate ourselves and are making our way thru this when it was right for us...   here i am 24 yrs married this July and I will not allow myself to take on more pain than I already have... I'll except my part in staying as long as i did but will not let that rob me of anymore self esteem and inner peace and confidence that has already been robbed from staying...

I look at it this way... if we continue to feel bad about our role in that abuse, then in essence they still have a hold on us and are affecting us negatively even while we are out of the abuse   we cannot let that happen if at all possible...   we have already been thru so much...   we need to love ourselves and embrace our love and heart and humanity and all our gifts and if we do that, we will have no room to think about our faults that burden us down or our guilt from the past.     We can let that go when it is time to do so and feel the freedom that our Creator wanted for us...    We are not responsible for their abusive ways... we were there trying to make the best of it and support them at way too big a cost...   we understand that now... .

It is all a learning experience and we cannot feel bad about something that we were learning ourselves as the years went on.   too many dynamics to even try to explain why and what if i would of?  no reasoning can ever make sense of it... it is what it is but it isnt anymore and thats all that counts. right?   

Much love to you friend... xoxo

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: foiles on February 03, 2010, 07:02:17 PM

Children are trained and conditioned to not ask for help from other adults; they're even made to fear and mistrust other adults, plus, kids believe that they deserve whatever treatment mother dishes out to them.

This quote of yours struck home.  Not because I was abused as a child (maybe neglected emotionally, but not abused in that sense), but because this is exactly how my exBPDbf made me feel.  Afraid of other people, mistrustful that something they would do would 'set him off'.  I was told that what he did was my fault.  Abusers are a consistent bunch, that's for sure.


You are so right it takes awhile to find yourself.  It's not overnight.  I remember thinking to myself "I just want to get to a baseline of emotional stability.  I don't have to be overjoyed.  Just a baseline."  When it happened I didn't even recognize it; it happens by such increments and there's the old 3 steps forward, 1 step back... .

Keep working at it.  Don't stop.  Don't sell yourself short.  You can do this.  Pick one or two or three things you want to work on at a time.  Post those things everywhere!  Keep re-wiring the tape in your head.  Keep repeating what you are working for, not what you're working against.  Push what is holding you back away- just for those times you are focusing on the FUTURE.  I don't advocate not going through the emotions and things you've been through.  It's like telling you to not think about the black cow by the fence.  What do you think about?  You've got to go through the steps.  Not easy... .But once you get through it... .WOW.  It's like the 4th step in AA- facing your mistakes.  Often, people leave at that step.  But if they can get through that ... .  WOW.  I know this is rambling... .But you all can do this.  I've been through every sort of abuse in the short time I was with my exBPDbf... .  I didn't walk away, until I had to.  But I did.  You did.  If you all could do that, you CAN DO ANYTHING.  Don't give up.  Don't become the perpetual victim.  YOU ARE NOT.

Take care,


Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: Celiann on February 03, 2010, 09:55:52 PM
Hi 1bravegirl

Thank you for your comment. It makes sense. I am still at the stage where I re-live everything. I was in so much denial until just a few weeks ago. Now it's overwhelmingly painful. I have no energy, just pain. Hopefully it will go away

How are you feeling? Just a few days ago you were saying that you feel stuck.

Kind thoughts back to you. xoxo

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: marlo6277 on February 24, 2010, 12:30:33 AM
Just thought I'd add to the thread... .
If you are living in an abusive relationship and are not ready to leave, you must keep yourself and your children safe.  Whatever your reasons for staying, you do not deserve to be abused.  If you decide to stay with your partner and work things out, seek outside help.  See a counsellor who does not blame you for the abuse, and who puts yur safety first.
Contact a women's shelter, public health nurse, nursing station or hospital to get recommendations for counselling.
Prepare a Safety Plan
  • Be aware of any weapons in the house
  • Make a plan about what to do and where to go if you are in danger.  Tell your children of your plan if they are old enough to understand how to follow directions.
  • If you have a car, truck, skidoo, or motorboat, make sure it has gas.
  • Try to keep your transportation in good repair so it won't fail you.
  • Keep an extra set of keys in a secret hiding place.
  • Always keep some money hidden to help you get away.
  • Keep a list of important phone numbers in the hiding place with your money.
  • Work out a code word that can be used on the phone with someone you trust if you are in danger.
  • Have a signal - some women hang something out of a window that can be seen by a passerby who can check on you.
  • Have a place of hiding to go to.
  • Call people in advance to tell them you are coming over, so they can watch for you.

Save Money
Save whatever money you can in a bank account which is in your name only.  Kep the bank book in a place where your partner won't find it. Many people are surprised at how quickly and suddenly they may be in an emergency situation.  Save from the grocery money or however you can if you don't have any other sources of income.  Knowing that you have an demergency fund will help reduce your anxiety.
Do not get pregnant if you think that your relationship is not good and may become more abusive.  Make sure you control your birth control method and that your birth control method works.  Your parner may abuse you even more while you are pregnant - and after you give birth.  Pregnancy could also make it harder for you to leave.  IF you become pregnant and don't want to be, get counselling to discuss your options.  If you are already pregnant, you can still follow these other survival measures. If you are a man take charge of birth control. No glove no love.
Secrets are Harmful
Don't be ashamed to discuss your problems with others who believe abuse is wrong.  You need support.  There are still many people who believe, wrongly, that it's okay for a man to abuse his partner and that it is her fault if he does.  Choose the people you talk with carefully.  Many people do not understand the seriousness of abuse of men by women.
The abuser is Responsible for their Behaviour
Remember, his/her behaviour is not your responsbility.  :)o not be ashamed to tell someone if he/her is abusing you.  It is not your fault.  if he/her abuses you they have a problem.  Encourage them to get help. 
If you feel something is wrong, it is smart to ask for help.  It does not mean you are weak, sick or stupid if you askd for help.  You are doing something positive for yourself.
Stand up for Yourself... .
IF the abuse is just starting, tell your parner you will stand up for yourself and your rights and that you will not them abuse you.  If possible, ask his/her family, as well as your own, to tell them this behaviour is not okay.
... .But Be Careful
If he/her is used to getting their own way and you giving in, they may abuse you even more if you try to stand up for yourself.  If you are afraid this may happen, try to get support from family or counsellors before you make a stand.  :)o not try it when you are alone with them and make sure you have a safe place to go if you need it.  Be prepared to take the step of leaving your partner in order to be free from abuse.
Suicide is Not the Answer
It is normal to feel depressed at this time of your life.  Many people have the feeling that suicide is the only real option.  Killing yourself may seem like the best escape. It is not. 
If you feel suicidal it's often the result of believeing your partners's put downs, denying your anger twoard them and turning it on yourself.
There are other options.  There are shelters. There are crisis lines. There are people who will help you if you reach out.  IF you do not find help at first, keep on looking and asking for help.  You have the right to be angry at your situation. Use your anger to begin to take care of yourself.
Faith and trust in yourself are important to feeling good about yourself.  Face your feelings and fears.  Praise yourself for what you do well.  Have faith in your future. You can learn from your experiences.  You can change your life.
Relax and Play
Find something you like to do for yourself.  You deserve to have some happiness and fun in your life.
You need to remind yourself that you are strong.  No one has the right to abuse you.  Violence is not a private family affair.  There's no excuse for abuse.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: Matt on February 27, 2010, 01:13:52 PM

An article from today's New York Times about a high-profile case... .

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: Clearmind on August 24, 2011, 01:52:07 AM
I had a very hard time trying to explain the type of emotional abuse I received from the uBPDexBF. I found a great article on ambient abuse - which explains the unexplanable. The article also explains silent treatment, blanking, invalidation and withholding)

These types of emotional abuse are not always recognisable.


Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: Annaleigh on August 24, 2011, 05:04:44 PM
I had a very hard time trying to explain the type of emotional abuse I received from the uBPDexBF. I found a great article on ambient abuse - which explains the unexplanable. The article also explains silent treatment, blanking, invalidation and withholding)

These types of emotional abuse are not always recognisable.


Good article.

You know, movies like Sleeping with the Enemy and Enough, the abusers are so ick.  Julia Roberts and Jennifer lurchlookalike are doing everything they can to GET AWAY and you absolutely agree with them.

I didn't feel like that, like running.  The abuse was like in that article... .subversive.  The blanking, the silent treatment, refusing to talk.  I still don't think it's knowingly intentional, as in, by george I'm going to get her back in line.  I think he learned it growing up and it just comes naturally. 

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: RCA212 on September 06, 2011, 10:51:49 AM
I've been wondering what the success rate of relationships is for males with female pwBPD vs. females with male pwBPD.  As a female I do not believe that I could overpower any man who tried to attack me, nor do I feel as if I could successfully attack a man.  I know that women have the ability to physically hurt men, but I think men have the power to hurt women to a greater degree (mine could kill me with his bare hands if he wanted to).  While neither relationship is easy, it seems like its more dangerous for a female to be in a relationship with a male pwBPD - this may simply be due to the fact that I'm a female, and I'm willing to acknowledge that - I just want to see what perspectives other people have.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: beyondbelief on September 06, 2011, 11:23:36 AM
I suppose it depends on your definition of dangerous.

If you are thinking strictly in terms of unarmed combat then you are probably right for most couples.  Of course there are women who have killed or seriously harmed men using weapons.

If your definition of dangerous includes non-physical interactions then not so much.  Both men and women have equal power to inflict mental and emotional damage, sabotage lives, etc.

The weapon of choice for destruction is often the power of the courts.  I would guess women are more successful (certainly initially) with making false accusations that lead to arrests or not being able to be with our children etc.  It can cost huge amounts of money and take months if not years to straighten this stuff out if it ever gets cleared. 

Success rate is a statistic and unless it is either 0% or 100% then it is immaterial for a given individual.  The real question for everyone is will their relationship be successful according to their definition of success.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: RCA212 on September 06, 2011, 12:11:37 PM
You're right, it certainly depends on your definition of dangerous and your definition of success.  For me I'm thinking purely physical danger, I feel like I've gotten so cold and hardened that the emotional abuse can't hurt me nearly as badly as what could be done physically.   

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: isilme on November 03, 2011, 10:56:55 AM

I feel almost the opposite.  My BPD dad beat me regularly as a child, and my BPD mother (great pair), often at her urging and provoking.  But even after he stopped (which seemed to coincide with me going to Jr High where the bruises would be notice in gym class, hmmmm) I was terrified of him, and her both.  I wanted and needed their love an approval, and withholding that and emotionally scarring me seems to have done far more damage to me than basic physical pain can.  Now, I have been terrified a few times when my dad would get the blank, disconnected, soulless look in his eyes, like a warning light went off and I knew I'd better be ready to run to fight back, but I did manage to drag him off from throttling mom the last day we all lived under the same roof, before the divorce.  But, even though she was physically weaker, Mom was a slapper, and if you are a child, then both mom and dad can over power you - it doesn't matter if it's a male or female - some adult is beating you with a belt or slapping you around for having he wrong look on your face. 

uBPDBF has a scary temper, but he has never hit me.  He will hit everything else in creation, and break things, and I really don't want to have to fight him back, partly because I think I have some PSTD which when triggered means I strike first, run, then ask questions.  I've been startled by friends trying to surprise me as a joke, and I am afraid I knocked one over without thinking because he scared me. 

I agree that women can play the victim better in court, and I am not knocking those who actually are victims.  I am talking about those like my mom who can be weepy and pathetic about being beat, but during the time were shouting that their husband wasn't a man, that he couldn't hurt her, to go ahead and do it, look at you, provoked by a woman, so on. 

Verbal and emotional abuse comes in all shapes and sizes and genders.  Words don't need physical stature to hurt and still ring in your ears years later. 

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: columbiabpd on December 19, 2011, 02:22:44 PM
I agree that the capacity for a person to do harm is not necessarily based on their size or gender.   I think it has more to do with their own intentions-- what kind of violence it is.  In my own experience with a BPD male (who was much larger and stronger than I), he was more often violent to himself (punching himself in the face, punching brick walls until his knuckles bled, and then saying it was my fault, etc... .), then he was violent to me.  When he did hurt me it was not in order to cause me serious physical pain so much as to scare me.  Often he did it when, during some ridiculous argument, I would get fed up and tell him I was going home.  His abandonment anxieties would provoke him to run after me and slam me against a wall or slam me onto the floor, so as to prevent me from leaving his apartment.  He did however, injure me quite seriously on one of these occasions.  And of course, emotionally I was traumatized, was later told by my therapist I was probably suffering from PTSD.

That being said, I think that while he did not usually cause me real physical injury during his rages, the knowledge that he was so much larger than me made me absolutely terrified of what he MIGHT do, and I imagine this size imbalance might often make the plight of the woman dealing with a male BPD more difficult than vice-versa.  My ex-BPD was often totally out of control, and there is no way I could have defended myself against him, had he really wanted to hurt me.  After we'd gotten back together following a 6-week breakup, he managed not to be violent to me for a couple months (but was still prone to punching himself and saying it was my fault).  The first time he resumed physical aggression to me, I left him for good.  We only were together for only a year, so who knows how bad the violence could have gotten.  (And, in the spirit of honesty, I should confess that I slapped his face on three occasions, albeit rather weakly.)

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: allibaba on June 26, 2013, 08:01:51 PM
I just wanted to say THANK YOU for this posting.  

This afternoon my husband came home and threatened me.  Because I had read this posting, I knew that I had to get out immediately before the situation became worse.  I am now sitting in a domestic violence shelter in a dark room and my son is asleep in the crib in here.

My husband is sending message after message that if I don't come home with his son (our son).  He will call the police and report that I have kidnapped him.  I responded that we would both be home soon but that I did not feel safe at home right now (true).  

I don't know what will come out of this situation but I know that this posting probably saved my bacon today.  

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: ForeverDad on June 26, 2013, 11:00:01 PM
My husband is sending message after message that if I don't come home with his son (our son).  He will call the police and report that I have kidnapped him.

Reality check... .   He's huffing and puffing as far as the legal consequences so it's mostly hot air, his sense of emotional entitlement and need to demand and control.  As your DV shelter counselors and even the police would probably tell you, as parents and as husband and wife, you both have equal but unspecified rights as parents.  The police won't force you to go back.  The police won't force an exchange since there is no court order specifying a parenting time schedule or exchange times and locations.  The police won't declare an Amber Alert on you, not without reasonable cause.  Yes, if he calls them, they may try to do a 'welfare check' on the children to make sure the children are okay, but most likely that's it.  Yes, it could become very sticky and complicated if your spouse starts making false (legally: unsubstantiated) allegations.

If your spouse is willing to start meaningful therapy, make meaningful improvements and walk that path toward recovery, there is hope for the marriage.  If not... . then it's time to investigate your legal options.  You not only need to feel safe for yourself, but also ensure the children are as safe as circumstances allow.  If you don't feel safe, even part of the time, then you need to protect yourself - and the children - with long term solutions.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: allibaba on June 27, 2013, 09:14:56 AM
Thanks SO MUCH ForeverDad,

Right now my husband is doing everything in the book to try to control me back. 

I won't do it.  I am a good mother with nothing on my record, no drug or alcohol issues, work full time and support my family.  I am the primary care giver.  My husband is a good father (other than the inconsistencies caused by BPD).  He has every right to access to our son.  While I am taking this timeout at the DV shelter I have let him know that our baby is at daycare all day today.  He responded that he will be picking him up.  I responded thanking him for letting me know and with the daycare provider's phone number.  I also let our daycare lady know that my husband may pick him up today.

I firmly believe that by being calm, loving and collected - but by leaving before things escalate - that I can do the right thing for all of us (my husband, me, and my son).  There is no question that my husband needs help.  I can ask but not force.  I will do what I need to do to protect all of us.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: oolia on July 11, 2013, 08:52:02 PM
Why did I stay in my verbally/emotionally abusive marriage to BPD?  Still working that one out... . tough stuff.  It took me a very long time to see what was happening as abuse, then a bit longer to be willing to break through the denial and admit it, to use the word "abuse."  Lots of shame.  The hardest part is thinking that a part of me thought I deserved it, or at least didn't deserve better.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: losingconfidence on April 10, 2014, 03:28:06 PM
To "ritual abuse" I would add a few things such as:
     * attempting to use magic/the occult/etc to monitor or control someone else (whether you believe this can literally happen or not, it still constitutes  abuse).
* being subjected to torture or forced/pressured to torture others.
* partner purposefully depriving you of food and sleep to prime you for a "lecture" or "interrogation" meant to change the way you think.
* partner subjecting you to lengthy "interrogations" or "lectures" during which you have recently been physically abused or are being physically abused.   

These go beyond the accusations of cheating that happen in emotional abuse, and involve the person trying to find out literally everything about you and your deepest fears so they can exploit you/not letting you leave until they somehow convince you the abuse didn't happen/not letting you leave until you believe that you are bad at sex, not worthy, shouldn't have a job, etc.
* using MC/programming cues and triggers from past ritual abuse in childhood against you.
      * contacting people who abused you as a child with updates about what you do and do not remember.
* actively trying to control what you do and don't remember.
* being denied medical care for serious injuries ie: if you go to the hospital for hypothermia the doctor might wonder why you're freezing.
* using a survivor of RA's past abuse against him or her, encouraging her to question everyone close to them including supportive people as "cult members."
* if you have DID from childhood abuse, purposefully encouraging you to switch and harming alters/system members.
* subjecting you to strange religious ultimatums ie: "you will never escape this pain without God" or "you need to abandon your religion because it's toxic."
* claiming a supernatural or paranormal connection to you that mandates your relationship ie: God predestined our love/we are predestined/etc.

My ex with BPD actually knew someone from the cult that was involved in my childhood ritual abuse and was actually sent to pose as that perfect romantic partner for me so that I would essentially get re-engaged in the group. It took me a long time to figure out this was happening and it was terrible.

Title: Re: TOOLS: Responding to domestic violence [women]
Post by: Suspicious1 on October 02, 2015, 05:28:28 AM
This is such an important thread, thank you so much to everyone for sharing their stories.

My abuse was mostly psychological - not by my exBPDbf but by my now ex-husband. I am still confused about it, and that's something that people don't tell you - it can be so confusing and it's not always easy for people to work out whether they are being abused or treated badly or not. Even now, after divorcing him successfully on the grounds of abusive behaviour, I still don't really know if he was abusive or not.

The only thing I know for SURE that he did in a premeditated, systematic way, was to digitally stalk me. I'm not even convinced that constitutes abuse anyway, as the police said "yes it's wrong and illegal, but the courts may judge it appropriate for a husband to know all his wife's passwords". My solicitor said otherwise, as did the psychologist who treated me when it all got too much and I thought I was going insane.

In short, he would periodically break into my computer and install spyware so he could gather my email and social media passwords, and then he would download those accounts to his own devices without my knowledge so he could monitor everything I did. He would then do creepy stuff with the information, such as mail me things I'd mentioned in conversations to other people, use words and phrases I had used, and also claim we'd had conversations together where I'd told him things I knew I hadn't. He'd say "how else would I know if you hadn't told me?". Or he'd say "no you didn't tell me, I just know you so well". He did this for approximately two years before I found out. After I upped my security, he'd covertly watch me to see what passwords I entered on my phone, so that he could read things on there when I was asleep or in the shower.

It utterly messed with my mind. When I say my ex was abusive, people ALWAYS ask "did he hit you?", like that's the most important sign or like anything else isn't REALLY abuse. And I never know what to say. I say "not really. He was physical sometimes, but it wasn't really about that".

Like my confusion around the stalking, I also have confusion around the physical abuse. Since before I was pregnant with our first child, he would sometimes shove me if he felt I was in his way. He was a big guy - over 6ft and a former Rugby captain. Him shoving me resulted in me ending up at the other side of the room. It was horrible and I hated it and asked him to stop. I would say "don't push me!", and he would say "well then don't stand where I want to be". How hard would it have been for him to say "excuse me" if I was in his way?. At the beginning it was occasional, but by the end it was far more regular. A shove here and there if I was in his way was quite commonplace, not always a hard push, but enough to move me against my will. If I said to him "don't push me", he'd say "I didn't push you, I was moving you out of the way". Eventually he did the same to the children, and used the same excuse. Once, he hit our son quite hard round the head, and said "I didn't hit him, I just tapped him".

It's a common abuse tactic. Relabel the behaviour. Minimise it. But my confusion is - did he REALLY think he was just moving me out of the way? If he didn't mean to push me, he just wasn't aware of his size and strength, does that make it abuse or an accident? Can I say he was physically abusive? I still don't know. I remember one day he punched me so hard in the thigh he gave me a dead leg, but did he REALLY punch me? He told me it was playful because he laughed when he did it. He also repeatedly and painfully penetrated me to the point of injury while I said no over and over again, but afterwards said "it was a genuine misunderstanding, for which I am deeply ashamed". Was THAT an accident? He seemed so sure that it was, and becomes so angry and hurt if I suggest he was abusive.

So when people ask me "was he physically abusive", I still don't know. Yes he pushed me, punched me and sexually assaulted me, but he says it was all accidental. He also broke or threw away many of my possessions, but always said it was accidental. He said he was just clumsy. Was THAT the truth? The only thing I KNOW wasn't accidental was his stalking. And the police suggested that it wouldn't be seen as an offence anyway.

It took me two years to figure it all out and gain the courage to leave, and I'm still uncertain about it all. I can't be the only one. That was the bit that no one told me. I thought "if I was abused, I'd know about it". But he did so many things on the list and I'm still unsure. There were so many good times - far more times when he was gentle and considerate and loving. A push, a punch, an assault, an incident of stalking - it should be clear cut, but I still wonder if it was abuse or just an accident. The guilt that consumes me when I think I might have wrongly accused him is overwhelming and sickening. No one ever tells you that something which ought to be so clear and obvious, often isn't so at all.

Title: Re: 3.03 | Domestic violence  [women]
Post by: Inneedofhelp on April 05, 2017, 02:30:22 PM
I answered yes to too many of the abuse statements. How do I get help if he threatens in his BPD rage to get me worse? I desperately want him to acknowledge his BPD and get help, but I don't see that happening. I am so worn out being the object of his anger-I know I haven't done anything to deserve it, but he doesn't see it that way.