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Author Topic: 3.03 | Domestic violence  [women]  (Read 53290 times)
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« 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.

26%
40%
21%
14%
58%
30%
7%
5%
58%
33%
2%
1%
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
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NewLifeforHGG
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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2007, 06:37:47 AM »

To learn the bpdfamily DV protocol:



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

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.

PHYSICAL ABUSE
- 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

SEXUAL ABUSE
- 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

EMOTIONAL ABUSE
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

DURING PREGNANCY AND CHILBIRTH
- 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

FINANCIAL ABUSE
- 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

SOCIAL ABUSE
- 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

USING CHILDREN
- 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

DURING SEPARATION/DIVORCE
- 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 RELIGION
- 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

ENVIRONMENTAL ABUSE

ABUSE IN THE HOME
- 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

ABUSE IN THE VEHICLE
- 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

RITUAL ABUSE
- mutilation
- animal mutilation
- forced cannibalism
- human sacrifices
- suggesting or promoting suicide
- forcing victim to participate in rituals or to witness rituals
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turtle
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« Reply #2 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!

Turtle

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« Reply #3 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!

Silas

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« Reply #4 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 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) 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
.

« Last Edit: June 19, 2019, 10:11:47 PM by Harri » Logged
gary1958
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« Reply #5 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...
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Silas Pseudonym
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« Reply #6 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.

SP
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JoannaK
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« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2007, 11:21:42 AM »

Police Domestic Violence Handbook for Victims:  www.dwetendorf.com

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

Resources for counselors and officers  www.dwetendorf.com/Resources01.htm
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JoannaK
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« Reply #8 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 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

DO NOT ENCOURAGE A MEMBER TO LEAVE THE RELATIONSHIP OR THREATEN TO LEAVE THE RELATIONSHIP WHEN THEY ARE EMOTIONALLY DISTRAUGHT

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?
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« Reply #9 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.
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« Reply #10 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.

Jewls

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« Reply #11 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.
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« Reply #12 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?
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« Reply #13 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.
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« Reply #14 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.  
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« Reply #15 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.
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« Reply #16 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. 
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« Reply #17 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.

Sam.
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« Reply #18 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.  

Foiles
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« Reply #19 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.
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« Reply #20 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!".

(adapted)
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« Reply #21 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

 xoxo
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« Reply #22 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.

Foiles

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.
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« Reply #23 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... .
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« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2008, 07:59:29 PM »

back2,

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.
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« Reply #25 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.
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« Reply #26 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.
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« Reply #27 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?

Matt
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Channeling Lorelai...


« Reply #28 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?
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« Reply #29 on: November 27, 2008, 10:37:38 PM »

Excerpt
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.
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