I did not know if I would write about this topic because I am a victim of spousal abuse. For 11 years I was hit, kicked, thrown down stairs, threatened if I told any one, and emotionally battered. Does it ever go away? No, but your life will go on and you find ways to cope with what has happened.
The scars are there forever and in a new relationship you wonder if this will happen again. You Hide in the Shadows and Watch.
Spousal abuse can be defined as mental, physical and verbal attacks on ones person. The abuse of ones spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend or adult child can be defined as domestic violence, which is a crime in the United States and punishable with a fine and/or jail time depending on the severity of the abuse.
Many people don’t understand what defines spousal abuse and live with it for years because they are not aware of what constitutes abuse.
As known by most, Domestic Violence is a crime of power and control. Abusers are known to deal with their own inadequacies and insecurities by taking control of others in the home.
A beating is a hard thing to describe. It’s a hard thing to remember, not because the memories have faded, but because they are so clear and painful.
Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of size, gender, or strength, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied.
Domestic violence is a problem that affects every community across the country.It crosses all races, social and economic backgrounds, cultures, religions and relationship types.
Domestic Violence is not a private matter, a couples problem, a domestic “squabble” or a “fight.” Violence is a choice the abuser makes.
Domestic Violence is a deliberate pattern of abusive tactics used by one partner in an intimate relationship to obtain and maintain power and control over the other person.
To determine whether your relationship is abusive, answer the questions below. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is that you’re in an abusive relationship.
SIGNS THAT YOU’RE IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPYour Inner Thoughts and FeelingsYour Partner’s Belittling BehaviorDo you:feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
Does your partner:
humiliate or yell at you?
avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
criticize you and put you down?
feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
blame you for their own abusive behavior?
feel emotionally numb or helpless?
see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?
Your Partner’s Violent Behavior or Threats Your Partner’s Controlling Behavior Does your partner:have a bad and unpredictable temper?
Does your partner:act excessively jealous and possessive?hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?control where you go or what you do?threaten to take your children away or harm them?keep you from seeing your friends or family?threaten to commit suicide if you leave?limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?force you to have sex? destroy your belongings?constantly check up on you?
Despite what many people believe, domestic violence and abuse is not due to the abuser’s loss of control over his or her behavior.
In fact, abusive behavior and violence is a deliberate choice made by the abuser in order to control you.
Abusers attack their partner and sometimes even the children.
This would include kicking, slapping, choking, and even threatening with a weapon. Sufferers may have also different objects thrown at them, be thrown out of a house, or, just the opposite, be forbidden to leave a house or an apartment.
Threats also may be considered as abuse, such as threats to hurt the victim or the children.
Very often abusers forbid the victim to work or get out to socialize with family members or friends.
They may destroy or threaten to destroy personal belongings of the victim.
So lets talk about what kind of tactics do these Abusers use to manipulate you and exert their power see if some of these fit your situation…………….
- They Use Dominance – Abusive individuals need to feel in charge of the relationship. They will make decisions for you and the family, tell you what to do, and expect you to obey without question. Your abuser may treat you like a servant, child, or even as his or her possession.
- They Use Humiliation – An abuser will do everything he or she can to make you feel bad about yourself or defective in some way. After all, if you believe you’re worthless and that no one else will want you, you’re less likely to leave. Insults, name-calling, shaming, and public put-downs are all weapons of abuse designed to erode your self-esteem and make you feel powerless.
- They Use Isolation – In order to increase your dependence on him or her, an abusive partner will cut you off from the outside world. He or she may keep you from seeing family or friends, or even prevent you from going to work or school. You may have to ask permission to do anything, go anywhere, or see anyone.
- They Use Threats – Abusers commonly use threats to keep their partners from leaving or to scare them into dropping charges. Your abuser may threaten to hurt or kill you, your children, other family members, or even pets. He or she may also threaten to commit suicide, file false charges against you, or report you to child services.
- They Use Intimidation – Your abuser may use a variety of intimidation tactics designed to scare you into submission. Such tactics include making threatening looks or gestures, smashing things in front of you, destroying property, hurting your pets, or putting weapons on display. The clear message is that if you don’t obey, there will be violent consequences.
- They Use Denial and blame – Abusers are very good at making excuses for the inexcusable. They will blame their abusive and violent behavior on a bad childhood, a bad day, and even on the victims of their abuse. Your abusive partner may minimize the abuse or deny that it occurred. He or she will commonly shift the responsibility on to you: Somehow, his or her violent and abusive behavior is your fault.
Domestic violence and abuse does not discriminate. It occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. And while women are more commonly victimized, men are also abused—especially verbally and emotionally, although sometimes even physically as well. The bottom line is that abusive behavior is never acceptable, whether it’s coming from a man, a woman, a teenager, or an older adult. You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe.
Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to violence. And while physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone. No one should have to endure this kind of pain—and your first step to breaking free is recognizing that your situation is abusive. Once you acknowledge the reality of the abusive situation, then you can get the help you need.
There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most telling sign is fear of your partner. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner—constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up—chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs that you may be in an abusive relationship include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.
Did you know that Sexual abuse is a form of physical abuse?
Any situation in which you are forced to participate in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity is sexual abuse. Forced sex, even by a spouse or intimate partner with whom you also have consensual sex, is an act of aggression and violence. Furthermore, people whose partners abuse them physically and sexually are at a higher risk of being seriously injured or killed.
It Is Still Abuse If . . .
- The incidents of physical abuse seem minor when compared to those you have read about, seen on television or heard other women talk about. There isn’t a “better” or “worse” form of physical abuse; you can be severely injured as a result of being pushed, for example.
- The incidents of physical abuse have only occurred one or two times in the relationship. Studies indicate that if your spouse/partner has injured you once, it is likely he will continue to physically assault you.
- The physical assaults stopped when you became passive and gave up your right to express yourself as you desire, to move about freely and see others, and to make decisions. It is not a victory if you have to give up your rights as a person and a partner in exchange for not being assaulted!
- There has not been any physical violence. Many women are emotionally and verbally assaulted. This can be as equally frightening and is often more confusing to try to understand.
When people think of domestic abuse, they often picture battered women who have been physically assaulted. But not all abusive relationships involve violence. Just because you’re not battered and bruised doesn’t mean you’re not being abused. Many men and women suffer from emotional abuse, which is no less destructive. Unfortunately, emotional abuse is often minimized or overlooked—even by the person being abused.
Emotional abuse is another form of Abuse. Let’s talk about it so you can Understand it Better.
The aim of emotional abuse is to chip away at your feelings of self-worth and independence. If you’re the victim of emotional abuse, you may feel that there is no way out of the relationship or that without your abusive partner you have nothing.
Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, and shaming. Isolation, intimidation, and controlling behavior also fall under emotional abuse. Additionally, abusers who use emotional or psychological abuse often throw in threats of physical violence or other repercussions if you don’t do what they want.
You may think that physical abuse is far worse than emotional abuse, since physical violence can send you to the hospital and leave you with scars. But, the scars of emotional abuse are very real, and they run deep. In fact, emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse—sometimes even more so.
Another Form of Abuse is Economic or Financial abuse. Let’s call it a Subtle Form of Emotional Abuse.
Remember, an abuser’s goal is to control you, and he or she will frequently use money to do so. Economic or financial abuse includes:
- Rigidly controlling your finances.
- Withholding money or credit cards.
- Making you account for every penny you spend.
- Withholding basic necessities (food, clothes, medications, shelter).
- Abusers pick and choose whom to abuse. They don’t insult, threaten, or assault everyone in their life who gives them grief. Usually, they save their abuse for the people closest to them, the ones they claim to love.
- Abusers carefully choose when and where to abuse. They control themselves until no one else is around to see their abusive behavior. They may act like everything is fine in public, but lash out instantly as soon as you’re alone.
- Abusers are able to stop their abusive behavior when it benefits them. Most abusers are not out of control. In fact, they’re able to immediately stop their abusive behavior when it’s to their advantage to do so (for example, when the police show up or their boss calls).
- Violent abusers usually direct their blows where they won’t show. Rather than acting out in a mindless rage, many physically violent abusers carefully aim their kicks and punches where the bruises and marks won’t show.
Domestic abuse falls into a common pattern, or cycle of violence:
- Abuse – Your abusive partner lashes out with aggressive, belittling, or violent behavior. The abuse is a power play designed to show you “who is boss.”
- Guilt – After abusing you, your partner feels guilt, but not over what he’s done. He’s more worried about the possibility of being caught and facing consequences for his abusive behavior.
- Excuses – Your abuser rationalizes what he or she has done. The person may come up with a string of excuses or blame you for the abusive behavior—anything to avoid taking responsibility.
- “Normal” behavior — The abuser does everything he can to regain control and keep the victim in the relationship. He may act as if nothing has happened, or he may turn on the charm. This peaceful honeymoon phase may give the victim hope that the abuser has really changed this time.
- Fantasy and planning – Your abuser begins to fantasize about abusing you again. He spends a lot of time thinking about what you’ve done wrong and how he’ll make you pay. Then he makes a plan for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality.
- Set-up – Your abuser sets you up and puts his plan in motion, creating a situation where he can justify abusing you.
Your abuser’s apologies and loving gestures in between the episodes of abuse can make it difficult to leave. He may make you believe that you are the only person who can help him, that things will be different this time, and that he truly loves you. However, the dangers of staying are very real.
Abusive relationships have a powerful psychological impact on the victims. Victims of an abusive relationship may experience some of the following emotions and behaviors:
- Agitation, anxiety and chronic apprehension
- Constant state of alertness that makes it difficult for them to relax or sleep
- A sense of hopelessness, helplessness or despair because the victim believes they will never escape the control of their abuser
- Fear that one cannot protect oneself or one’s children. This person will turn down the assistance offered by relatives, friends or professionals.
- Feeling paralyzed by fear to make decisions or protect oneself
- A belief that one deserves the abuse
- A belief that one is responsible for the abuse
- Flashbacks, recurrent thoughts and memories of the violence and nightmares of the violence
- Emotional reactions to reminders of domestic violence
Victims of domestic violence can also have physical symptoms that aren’t directly caused by physical abuse. These symptoms are instead caused by the constant stress and tension of living in an abusive relationship. These symptoms include:
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
- Chronic pain
- Restless sleep or inability to sleep
- Genital soreness
- Pelvic pain
- Back pain
Not Just a Policeman
A child sits, crying, tears running down her face.
Her daddy hurt her mommy while fighting with disgrace.
She saw everything that happened, heard everything they said.
Now these scary things she heard are filling up her head.
You walked into the house and saw her mommy on the ground
Daddy was standing over he, but the Child cannot be found.
You walked into the bedroom and look over to your right
You see a little child whose innocent face was full of fright.
Over in the corner she sits curled up in a ball
She doesn’t quite know who you are, she doesn’t know at all.
You walk towards the tiny child and go down on bended knee.
Reaching out your hands you say “I’m a policeman, why don’t you come along with me.”
Whimpering so softly she lets out a little yelp “Is my mommy ok? I heard her cry for help?”
“I’ll take you down to see her, and show you she’s alright, after we see your mommy we can talk about what went on tonight.”
Reaching out both arms you picked up the fragile child, hoping not to scare he, your touch was soft and mild.
You took her down the stairs and over to her mom
You told her what was going to happen, your voice serene and calm.
She held on to you tightly as the medics drove away.
She tried hard not to cry, but you told her it was okay.
Every time you spoke to her your voice had a gently tone.
You held her in your arms, as if she were your own.
She put her head down on your shoulder and whispered a “Thank You” in your ear.
“You helped me with the scary stuff and took away my fear”
You tell her its your job to help and that whenever she gets scared again,
To remember that you are not just a policeman, but you are also her friend.
In case you still have doubts of whether you are in an abusive relationship, then see if you have similar feelings that are listed below which are sure signs that one’s partner is an abusive individual:
- You live in constant fear of your partner.
- It feels impossible to do anything right in your partner’s opinion.
- You have this increasing feeling of being at fault always.
- You start justifying being ill treated or hurt.
- You can’t think right and emotionally you feel blank.
The physical signs of spousal abuse can include:
- injuries on different parts of the body, in various stages of healing
- unexplained cuts, head injuries or bruises.
Remember the EMOTIONAL SIGNS OF ABUSE are not as easy to see. As we have talked about see if you as a victim may have these traits………………
Depression……Feelings of Anxiety…..or
- Low Self-Esteem……
The most important fact to remember if your husband raises his hand to you is that it’s not your fault. There is never a good reason for a husband to hit, insult or otherwise abuse his wife. But while there is no excuse for spousal abuse, there may be precipitating factors, which can give you insight into your husband’s mind and actions while you heal from the abuse.
The second most important fact to remember is that if your husband has abused you once, he will abuse you again–usually within six months, according to TV therapist Dr. Phil McGraw. So it’s important to leave the relationship as soon as possible and seek guidance from a program or therapist with expertise in domestic violence.
(Seeing is Believing….
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I grew up watching the show “One Day At A Time”…and throughout the years it still reigns as one of my favorite shows…
There is a certain wisdom that comes in learning to live one day at a time…and yet for many abused women one day at a time is even too painful…
When someone abuses you…well..at first it feel surreal because polite people in civil societies are not abusive…right? But that is not true…
Years later I have found that it helps to learn from the past…plan for the future…and live in the now…But this wasn’t always the case…each woman find certain things easier to deal with than others…the past was easy for me…because I didn’t mind discussing it…the future was okay too
because I had grown up with hopes and dreams of some or the other future I would one day have…what I could not do very well was live in the present…I was aimless about living in the now…
Living in the present meant that I would have to grin and bear everything in a very chaotic state…I hated chaos…as a child I use to wake early in the morning and clean my room…I had even been known to iron my underthings…(true story)…the point is though that “the present” is unpredictable…it is a fluid concept…but a part of being abused makes you hypervigilant…in other words a control freak…it isn’t that you want to control or manipulate others…it is just that you want to keep yourself from being hurt again…
Stop The Violence
She was a shell
Empty and alone
Where could she go?
Who could she tell?
Was easier to stay
To accept defeat
Everyone told her
That’s the way it should be.
They all looked away
and left her alone
they turned their heads
to any broken bones
They told her to be strong
for that was the plan
Her only goal
should be to please her man
She did her best
She gave it her all
When asked “What happened?”
“Oh, Just a fall”
Years went by
she learned to adapt
she learned how not
to make him mad
She learned how to please
Just what to say
She learned to make sure
HE had a good day
Those looking on could not see?
Would not see?
The pain that was so deep inside of me
Was it easier to just look away?
Distance and time
closed for me
there was a hand that
could be reached
A hand with a face
from the past
A hand that only for a
short time would last
I held on to that hand
with all my might
I pulled myself up
I learned how to fight
A year has past
And now I see
just how wonderful
life should be
Written in celebration of my freedom
Dedicated to the face from the past.
If you’re trying to decide whether to stay or leave, you may be feeling confused, uncertain, frightened, and torn. One moment, you may desperately want to get away, and the next, you may want to hang on to the relationship. Maybe you even blame yourself for the abuse or feel weak and embarrassed because you’ve stuck around in spite of it. Don’t be trapped by confusion, guilt, or self-blame. The only thing that matters is your safety.
If you are being abused, remember:
- You are not to blame for being battered or mistreated.
- You are not the cause of your partner’s abusive behavior.
- You deserve to be treated with respect.
- You deserve a safe and happy life.
- Your children deserve a safe and happy life.
- You are not alone. There are people waiting to help.
Many victims of physical abuse become experts at hiding the abuse from others. They also become experts at coming up with excuses for their bumps, bruises or broke bones if they are ever discovered and asked about them. After the trauma you’ve been through, you may be struggling with upsetting emotions, frightening memories, or a sense of constant danger that you just can’t kick. Or you may feel numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. When bad things happen, it can take a while to get over the pain and feel safe again. Whether the traumatic event happened years ago or yesterday, you can heal and move on.
Bill of Rights for Survivors of Domestic Abuse
1. I will not be blamed or shamed for having been a victim.
2. I have the RIGHT to be HAPPY.
3. I have the RIGHT to be free of all forms of abuse: physical, mental, emotional, psychological, economic, or sexual.
4. I have the RIGHT to feel my feelings.
5. I have the RIGHT to take care of myself.
6. I have the RIGHT to have my needs met.
7. I have the RIGHT to make choices.
8. I have the RIGHT to be loved in a healthy way.
9. I have the RIGHT to live without fear.
10. I have the RIGHT to express myself.
11. I have the RIGHT to forgive myself for things in the past.
12. I have the RIGHT to make a better life for myself.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but this cause is an important one year round. Women need to be empowered. Women need to be supported. Sometimes it is a simple helping hand that can change a woman’s life. This month Allstate is donating $5 for each Purple Purse that is passed virtually or physically. What is a purple purse? Quite simply it is small purple purse with information regarding how to receive help if you are the victim of domestic violence. For many women it might seem impossible to reach out for help or discuss their abuse situation. Encouraging women and providing them with the necessary information they need can save a life.
Participating in the Pass the Purple Purse campaign does not cost YOU anything. Instead a few simple clicks on the computer can help others. I love campaigns that make it easy to give. Not everyone can give their time or money to a cause, but it is wonderful when a few moments online can help.
Visit purplepurse.com and enter your purse code (codes are provided) and your zip code, then track to see where your purse has traveled.
If you need HELP call these PHONE NUMBERS and GET THE HELP YOU NEED! No one needs to be in this SITUATION!!
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) – A crisis intervention and referral phone line for domestic violence. (Texas Council on Family Violence)
State Coalition List – Directory of state offices that can help you find local support, shelter, and free or low-cost legal services. Includes all U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)
The Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men & Women – Specializing in providing support to male victims of abuse. (DAHMV)
Worldwide: visit International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies for a global list of helplines, shelters, and crisis centers.
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