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BE SAFE–DON’T ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE A VICTIM — 27 Comments

  1. I would also like to add that in my opinion “forgiveness” does not include restoring the relationship or the person to a place of trust…it only means to get the bitterness out of your heart. Getting away from abusive people (whatever their relationship to you is) and STAYING away from them is the only safe and sane course in life. When we expect people to treat us well and demand that they treat us well or to get out of our lives, we are standing up for ourselves, setting boundaries and living a healthy life. If your children grow up seeing abuse first hand, even if it is not directed toward them, but toward you, then they will most likely grow up to be either abusers themselves, or grow up and marry an abuser.

  2. Excellent post and excellent timing. I just sent a link to this article to a friend of mine who I believe can use it. I hope something clicks for him and he can see what’s happening in his relationshit.

  3. I heard on the national news tonight that the police said they sent the video to the NFL EARLY in the spring but the NFL denies that they had seen it before the last couple of weeks…interesting…I wonder how this is going to play out. The head of the NFL denies that he saw the video.

    I also realize that there are Ba-zillions of bucks involved in these “sports” which are really a business in my opinion…and the ability of the players to play ball is apparently more valuable than their morality. So I think this will play out about like Penn State.

  4. Joyce, it’s always a good time to discuss domestic violence and abuse. It is no wonder that hotline calls increased when the video of the NFL player dragging his unconscious girlfriend out of that elevator went viral. The same thing happened after Robin Williams’ suicide – suicide hotlines experienced more calls after the news in one day than they had averaged in ANY given month since the National hotline database was begun.

    What is SO important to discuss is the cog/diss involed and the powerful role that Stockholm Syndrome plays in the cycle of abuse.

    Super article, Joyce. Phoenix, I hope your friend comes to terms with his situation, soon.

  5. Well, Truthy, I guess it is an “ill wind that blows no one good” and if that video going viral will wake up people (at least for a time) and get them thinking about abuse then it is a really good thing. Robin Williams suicide will hopefully save osthers from doing the same thing.

    Suicide is something that has (as a subject) interested me since my early nursing school days. Why? and “what are the signs?”

    People with Borderline Personality disorders are frequently threatening suicide, “give me my way or I’ll kill myself” and sometimes they even make gestures to convince us they “mean it” and sometimes their gestures end up going to far and they actually die.

    But of course if someone threatens suicide we must take it SERIOUSLY…and respond in a serious manner by calling 911 and reporting them so that they will be evaluated. professionally. If they were just playing the “I’m gonna kill myself and you’ll be sorry” card then they won’t like the results of the 911 call, and if they really did have the intention of killing themselves, then they will be evaluated professionally and hopefully helped.

    Many times “successful” suicides like Robin Williams and a former foster son of mine, don’t warn anyone, they just DO it and we find out their intentions when their bodies are found.

    Let us hope that the video of that attack in the elevator wakes up women who are in abusive situations and makes them consider getting out of the relationship before it is too late. And, let us hope that the discussion of Robin Williams suicide will make people think twice before they kill themselves.

    • Joyce, from my own experiences, I can remember taking the abuse and violence and literally RATIONALIZING what was being done to me. I was so deeply codependent that I would pass it off for something that it wasn’t. Abuse and domestic violence happened to OTHER people and I was in the false hopes that the abuser really was contrite for what he had done – he was going to change, this time.

      What we must begin saying is the truth: no matter WHAT promises, assurances, or guarantees that the abuser asserts, s/he will never change. It will only become worse as time passes until the victim is utterly broken or dies. That’s it. There is no “happy ending” for abuse and domestic violence.

      I wish that this was not part of the human condition, but it is, and no amount of wishes, prayers, or promises will alter this fact.

      http://www.thehotline.org

      Anyone – man, woman, child – that feels lost and beaten down by the abuse of another human being can find answers and help from the site, above. I wish that I had known that I wasn’t crazy and alone.

  6. Truthy, thanks for that link, it is a good one. I just read another article about WHY women stay, here is the link for it and I think it is quite good. There are a lot of “reasons” (excuses) why people stay, but none of them are valid–staying in an abusive relationship is NOT GOOD, for the victim or for their children. I agree it is HARD to leave but it is the best thing in the end.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/12/why-didnt-you-just-leave_n_5805134.html

  7. Another interesting article about leaving an abusive relationship

    “It wasn’t until the end of my relationship with my ex-husband that things turned physical. When I realized that one of us was going to die, I knew I needed to leave.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/12/why-didnt-you-just-leave-fear_n_5806006.html
    I find it very good that the NFL Player Mr. Rice’s attack on his then-fiance, now-wife, is bringing out the information and articles about spousal abuse.

    It is also interesting to see those people who think he was “punished too severely” or that his behavior is “no big deal”—- it is also interesting to me that there is apparently an NFL cover up of when they knew and did nothing until the video became viral.

    The internet is forever—so it will be there until his dying day and then some. Which I think is perfectly fine and if this causes other people to sit up and take notice, and maybe take ACTION then it is a good thing. I do feel for his wife though, trauma bonded to him.

    • Joyce, that’s a LOT of powerful information, and I think it’s vitally important to talk about these dynamics.

      There are myriad “reasons” why people remain in abusive relationships – partners, parents, workplace, religious gathering places, community groups………there is no lack of venues where abuse and violence is acted out.

      In primary relationships (parents, siblings, spouses/significant others, etc.) people remain because they honestly believe that they do not have any other options. In my first marriage to Victor, I had made specific “vows” and had produced 2 offspring with this man. I also had invested a great deal of emotion, time, and money in the relationsh*t, and I was completely reluctant to even contemplate what dissolving that marriage would mean. In the end, I discovered that my life was far more valuable than any real estate or empty promises.

      And, it’s VERY interesting that many people will not even consider ending an abusive relationship UNTIL it gets physically violent. By that time, so much abuse has already been inflicted that a broken jaw or laceration almost feels “expected.” With physical abuse, there is EVIDENCE that cannot be explained away – oh, victims often will invent stories to protect their abusers, but they know full well that they’re lying and that the bruise, gash, or fracture was caused by the actions of another person.

      Emotional abuse is so insidious that victims hardly even know that they’re even BEING abused. Sometimes, an abuser will cause the targeted victim to be (feel) abused when they abuse the family pet(s) or the children – by hurting the most vulnerable, the victims experience excruciating emotional damages.

      There’s so much to discuss about DV&A and the bottom line is that victims have DONE NOTHING to “deserve” the abuse – whether they dropped an egg on the floor, forgot to pay a bill, or spoke to a childhood friend, nothing is THAT bad to warrant THAT kind of abuse. Bottom line: you did nothing to deserve it, and the abuser is never, ever, EVER going to change. Not ever.

      • This! Truthy you are living up to your name. The verbal is certainly just as bad as physical, the only problem is that it doesn’t leave any VISIBLE marks. People cannot SEE the anguish, hurt, disgust or disappointment you may feel from being repeatedly trodden upon. For it to come from someone who is supposed to love, honor and cherish? Well whoever added in the clause of “in sickness and in health” probably didn’t mean in such warped and twisted thinking type of sickness.

        • Phoenix, indeed – there aren’t any visible indications of the emotional/verbal abuse. Neither is there any symptoms of financial abuse (IF the abuser is clever), or spiritual abuse, OR se-xual abuse. The last form of abuse is so shaming and thorough because se-xuality and intimacy are SO stigmatized that most people cannot even discuss those topics without giggling, blushing, or going on about them as if they’re some sort of hilarious activities.

          As for people “seeing” the symptoms of abuse, what victims are obligated to accept (at SOME point in their recovery) is that other people – witnesses, if you will – aren’t required to “care” about what they might (or, might not) clearly “see.” Domestic violence and abuse are still………even in this day and age of information and enlightenment………viewed as belonging to a certain segment of the population, and reserved for women, only, who have somehow “done something” to warrant such a visceral response from their partners.

          I am educated. I come from a middle-to-upper-middle-class family, and I am intelligent, talented, and compassionate. I am in recovery and healing from domestic violence and abuse. It isn’t restricted to inner-city baby-mommas, and this stigma has got to be torn down and discarded. It happens across every boundary of social status, financial stability, career choice, religious/spiritual roots, and gender / gender-oritentation.

          And, always keep in mind that “marriage vows” were written BY humans as a form of verbal contract. Marriage is not a blending of souls, legally speaking, and this is never more apparent than when a legal spouse is filing for divorce from an abusive partner.

          WE make our own rules about what we will, and will not, accept as behaviors in our own lives. If an individual attempts to use any vow, assertion, promise, or decree to excuse or “allow” abusive behaviors, they are OUT THE FUQING DOOR. 😉 I have no personal use or tolerance of one individual telling me what is/is not acceptable, anymore. And, this goes with “marriage vows,” as well. LMAO!!!!!!

  8. Truthy, I am counseling a friend who was abused/neglected as a child and then “allowed” to spend the last 16 years taking care of both her mother and father until they died. Now her brother and the church her mother and she attended have told lies about her, demeaned her, even cursed her..this is the same congregation that turned their backs on me when I reported about Ken Hamilton being a convicted 3 x pedophile who had spent almost 20 years in prison…they embraced him and called me a liar. Of course it turned otu that the minister was ALSO a pedophile and was arrested trying to have sex with a 14 year old he met on the internet, but the 14 year old girl turned out to be a 40 year old deputy sheriff. LOL

    So my friend is finally coming out of her abyss and realizing that no matter what they say about her or how they abuse her she is better off NO CONTACT even with the only family she has left.

    So domestic abuse can be your family abusing you emotionally to the point you want to die. If my mom doesn’t love me who will?

    I finally decided that if I had to live in a cardboard box and eat out of a dumpster, I would still have nothing to do with my relatives (except my youngest son) NO privation, even homelessness is worse than abuse in a 20 million dollar mansion. The Bible says a bread crust eaten on a quiet roof top is better than a feast with contention and strife. AMEN to that.

  9. Joyce, that’s the thing about family violence – it doesn’t have to involve beatings. The emotional abuse is FAR more damaging than the physical stuff could ever be.

    That’s so very distressing that she was harassed by the very same church that you were. What that speak to is that, if a group of people will turn their collective backs on ONE person who is trying to prevent a disgrace, they’ll do it to the NEXT person who isn’t following The Rules. Of course, nobody but the “leader” knows what “The Rules” are, and they change from moment to moment, and person to person.

    Right……….bless your friend and let her know that Family does NOT equal shared DNA.

  10. Truthy, I have done just that and I do think that my standing by her at this time has been helpful in her recovery. Because she has no children, is divorced and has given 16 years of her life to taking care of her neglectful parents 24/7 (she’s a PhD nurse) she had no o ne to talk to about all this. She knows my situation and so I honestly believe that God put us there in that store in the little town to “run into” each other. Since I am so far out of the “local loop” I actually did not know her mom had died, much less what had been done to her. I am absolutely NC with that organization that pretends to be a church. They have now reembraced the former preacher that was arrested for pedophilia. He’s a full fledged member there now. Apparently has no shame. She is also DONE with those people there, and now has a smile on her face and her skin looks better and she is doing better. She has a lot of anger still but she’s working through it. She’s very religious and that is a comfort to her. Fortunately, the Bible itself tells us how to deal with that kind of person or personS and NC it is…and get the bitterness out of our hearts (it only hurts us) How to handle anger, and how to NOT ASSOCIATE with people who are not honest, kind, sober, etc. You know, you don’t have to be religious or even “believe” there is a God to profit from that advice.

    You are 110% right, DNA does not make family…and I have “adopted” this lovely woman into mine…we are sisters in VICTORY not being victims because we are no longer victims. We can ACCEPT what IS, be grateful for our blessings and reach out to help others when we can…ACCEPTANCE, GRATITUDE and ALTRUISM= a good and peaceful life.

    • Joyce, this article actually turned my stomach – male-on-male rape is not even acknowledged in the military, but it certainly continues.

      Rape is one of the most dehumanizing abuses/assaults imaginable. Even today, it’s not perceived to be a crime of power/control/abuse/assault, but rather se-xual at the core, and this is just NOT true.

      The military, as a social whole, is about 60 years behind the times, and even given THAT, our current civilian social views on rape have not changed, one iota. It’s still “all about se-x” and not about the ultimate degradation of the victim. Bob has tried to argue this point whenever the subject came up in discussion, and he cannot (WILL not) accept that it’s not about se-x, at all, but all about dehumanizing a target victim.

      EUGH………..what a horrible crime…….

  11. Truthy, in my experience and the experience of a friend who is a trauma victim but now nicely recovering, is that many women (especially) when they reach mid life and maybe start menopause start to self reflect his there is no longer a FOCUS in the dysfunctional family of raising the children who are now on their own.(for better or worse) but i t is NOT ONLY A FEMALE PROBLEM it is a problem of ABUSE of all genders, se-xual persuasions, religious, not religious, old, young, male or female. I am glad that many women who have lived a life time of abuse when they are no longer focused on the kdis are then focusing on why they are miserable and seeking help, but it is NOT only women, it is victims of all denominations.

    Men have also been raised to be “strong” and to not let their emotions over come them, which our society preaches is to be a “REAL MAN” but men who are in a victim status of ab use (or have been) don’t as often seen professional help or other kinds of help such as the blogs, and there are many blogs of help out there, some great, some good and some awful. I got on one blog where I was FLAMED and treated horribly and it HURT, even to be cyber bullied. I left that blog and another one as well because of the treatments.

    I started FA to reach people who have offenders in their family (criminal or not) that abuse them or try to…because the tiger does not change their stripes and to keep on trying to fix (read: enable) them only keeps us a victim. We must break free o f the past damages and the more recent ones as well in order to live in peace within ourselves.

    • Joyce, 110% spot-on……….no matter what promises, guarantees, or assertions are made, a tiger is NOT going to alter its stripes into, let’s just say, polka dots.

      ****Note: my use of CAPS is for emphasis, only, and not to be interpreted as “online yelling,” under any circumstances.****

      What I have noticed about toxic behavior of both convicted career criminals, and those who have never been charged, is that their patterns of behavior are all carbon-copied. No, they don’t all commit the exact same crimes, or use the exact same words, but the ploys, setups, and scams are all virtually identical.

      “I’m just misunderstood,” or, “I came from an abusive family,” or, “I just need someone to care about me and give me a chance……..” Dear gawd, I’ve heard them ALL, from both convicted and non-convicted criminals. It’s all a load of stinking, steaming bullsh-it and, once it’s flung, anyone who stops to listen is covered in that stink and filth. And, the more one attempts to rub it off, the more it smears.

      I said something to Bob, recently, that I “…had no use…” for someone that we both knew. He was shocked that I would use such a phrase that included “use” with regard to another person, and I cannot adequately explain what the phrase actually means. To me, it means that someone or something has no practical purpose in my life. I guess that’s the closest I can come to explaining it. So……….when it’s very clear that a person is some type of offender (career criminal or simply toxic to me, personally), there is NO PRACTICAL PURPOSE for me to maintain an association with them.

      This happened at the studio where I worked – I observed several of the people there gossiping about people as soon as they left the building. Of course, directly to my face, these people treated me as if I were, somehow, DIFFERENT and SPECIAL to them. For a short while, I bought into that illusion, but I finally came to accept the cold, hard fact that these people treated EVERYONE like that, including me, and that it really wasn’t something “personal” that they had against me, per se, but a pattern of behaviors that they acted out with everyone.

      For the people (like ME) who did not have a strong and solid sense of Self and traumatized, the studio snipes found them (and, me) to be very easy pickings. It wasn’t the calm, centered, and “aloof” people that were targeted. It was the people who would REACT. Well, don’t convicts and non-convicted criminals do the same thing? The minute they aren’t getting ANY reaction of ANY kind, they quickly change course and seek another target. They all do it. ALL OF THEM, and there isn’t a more pleasant or easy way to make that fact untrue.

      So, huzzah to those out there who are doing the work to recover themselves and heal from their experiences. There IS a better and more pleasant world out there that is FREE of drama/trauma, fear, and toxicity. Thank you SO much for building this site, Joyce……

  12. Truthy, the phrase you mentioned “I don’t have any use for him” is a common southern, probably Scots Irish, phrase which means that you don’t trust a person, don’t want them around, and like you said they are ” someone or something has no practical purpose in my life.”

    I am sure that your son, Bob, if he were to ever come down here and hear me talk with various Scots-Irish and southern phrases will scratch his head in wonder of what the heck is she saying. My son laughs at me and calls me bilingual because I speak “Hill billy” AND English and can switch unconsciously depending on who I am talking to.

    I had a veternarian friend who did that 40 years ago and I noticed his speech change when he was talking to an uneducated man. He almost went into dialect (which I guess it actually is) and after the man left I asked him about it and he told me, that like me, he spoke that dialect as a child, then went to school and learned BASIC English. Years later people started telling me the same thing, you talk different around different people, and I hadn’t realized that I had lapsed into the “dialect” when talking to the elderly who grew up using it and the more back woods folks. Actually when I was working in the health clinic in a backwoods part of the county (4 miles from where I live now) my secretary who didn’t speak the dialect was totally confused by some of the uses of phrases and words just like your son was.

    When you speak a common “language” with people they are usually more willing to trust and accept you. I think where emotionally abused children are concerned, they feel they are in the “one-down” position and so they have MORE EMPATHY for a sob story than people who have not been abused themselves, in effect they “speak the same EMOTIONAL language” that the abuser is FAKING. Sometimes a person who has been or observed abuse as a child will BECOME an abuser in adulthood to gain a sense of POWER and control over the person with the excessive empathy. Like you frequently say, an abused person will most likely either grow up to be a victiim OR an abuser. W#hat makes the difference? I;’m not sure but I think you are right that some how that early emotional abuse and lack of nurturing must literally change our brains.

    In WWII when many thousands of infants were taken out of London which was being bombed and put in orphanages where they were fed and bathed, but there wwere so few caregivers that there was no one to interact with them, hold them, coo to them, etc and the doctors noticed that these infants DIED in droves for “no reason.”

    Later experiments done with monkeys proved that babies MUST HAVE interaction with others in order to live. I have seen infants who had this “failure to thrive” because a young mother did not hold the baby and coo to him etc. They start shutting down, not digesting food, and just become vacant in their eyes. I have also seen this in dogs that were kept isolated from other dogs as well as humans in a breeding kennel situation. The dogs lost all expression and just moped.

    Humans require interaction with others to be healthy, and that’s why isolation in solitary confinement is such a punishing treatment for convicts and prisoners of war. Unfortunately some convicts are so dangerous that is the only option to control them.

  13. Truthy & Joyce- My friend that I pointed in this direction has suffered thru years of verbal and emotional abuse. Yes for men, it is often viewed as them being weak, not manly, too sensitive and a whole host of other phrases used as a way to “brush it off” or sweep it under the rug. Truth to the matter is, they cared about the other person and suffered thru it just like anyone else has/ would/ did/ does.

    The other day on his way to work, the enormity of the stress, disappointment, sadness and everything else- hit him like a load of bricks. He was bawling and the tears just didn’t seem to stop. Been there myself, when the little things, most minor petty craap makes you cry and that’s all it seems like you can do. It’s a way of letting it go and is very beneficial in the process of healing.

    • Phoenix, men suffer a horrible stigma if they’re being abused by a female. I’ve seen it in a police barracks when a male victim of domestic violence came in and one of the cops said to this man’s face, “You can’t handle HER?”

      Female abusers know their targets – they are men who were raised that striking a woman, or putting one’s hands on a woman is “bad, bad, bad.” And, the abusive women take full advantage of that.

      I’m so sorry for your friend and I hope he gets with a good, strong counseling therapist to help him recover.

      • The man I spoke of is more emotionally abused than physically I think (don’t know for sure) but his wife threatens that “if X has anything to do with his sister I will kick him out of the house.” The man’s “public image” ( i.e. “what would the neighbors think?) is VERY important to him so if his wife did file for divorce he would be devastated PUBLICLY and he cannot face that I believe.

        Both of the parents of this man and his sister were abusive to the children emotionally. Both became victims of abuse from others. The man also abuses his sister but because if he doesn’t go along with his wife’s abuse she threatens to “kick him out” The wife has verbally attacked, cursed, lied about etc, the sister too the point the sister has no support except for me. She is however learning that NC and self validation are what is important NOT ‘what will the neighbors think?” That phrase was paramount in that home as well as my own.

  14. Phoenix, you know, men who have been abused have a harder time I think than women do in seeking help and recovery, because they are taught that they must be “strong” and not “let the little things bother you” and all that carp. I have known many women who verbally and emotionally abused their men and/or children/family. Other men RIDICULE them and laugh at them…so who are they going to talk to, huh?

    It isn’t easy being the target of abuse and I feel for anyone male or female who is abused by someone they love (whatever the relationship) and those of us who have been trained to be targets by our up bringing are frequently the targets in serial relationships because when we escape from one we find another abuser because that is what feels “normal” to us and because if they throw us the love bomb at first we respond to it, OVER respond actually and think we have found salvation at last only to be abused again.

    Right now a man who grew up with me, I am finding out he has been abused for 40+ years by his wife, who is in turn making him abandon his other family (remember, isolating the target is a big part of keeping them servile.) I am sorry for him, but I know that there is nothing I can do to help him, no advice I could give him, he is going to remain a victim for the rest of his life. It is sad, but that’s his situation and he is not going to leave his wife at this stage of the gave (65+) I know another man who is also in a dysfunctional/abusive relationship with his wife, and ditto, he is in poor health and 65+ and he will endure to the bitter end, drowning his pain in booze.

    People have to be WILLING to open up to healing before they can heal…and it is hard work and takes TIME and until we are willing and able to spend the energy and time to heal we will keep on in the cycle of abusive relationships. We must LEARN what it is that was the problem in our previous bad relationships….and part of the problem is our own injuries from the previous abuse. Before we can even THINK about a healthy relationship we must be healed from the previous bad ones. Also, to take on a “wounded” person as a relationship when they are still in confusion and pain is a losing proposition as well for us and for them. Two healthy adults are the only two people who can have a HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP.

  15. The Phoenix,

    My heart goes out to your friend. He sounds like he’s a stand-up guy. I’m sorry for all of his suffering (via his wife, the one who should be treating him with respect, dignity, kindness, etc.). May karma bite her in the _ss.

  16. You know, Karma does usually bite them in the arse….while the Bible tells us that it “rains on the just and the unjust,” in the end, people who are hateful and nasty, whether they are legal criminals or moral ones don’t usually have happy ends.

    Next month is Domestic Violence awareness and I just found a great article about DV and men so will be putting that one up soon. Also noticed that there are some good articles about male on male rape in the military now, and of course male on female rape in the military has been going on since women joined the forces. And of course the services do their best to cover it up…just like the NFL, the catholic church, penn state and other organizations do.

    Many of us have EXPERIENCED domestic violence from those we love most…be they spouses, friends, or other family members….in some cases…multiple times with multiple people. One of my son’s friends age 26 is having problems with a long time live in GF who is an alcoholic and has been fired from every job she ever had because of drinking and inappropriate behavior. Though she doesn’t hit him, her addiction is abusing him financially and emotionally. He’s having a difficult time disconnecting just like many female victims do. He has opened up and talked to me about it but doesn’t want anyone to “know” what is going on because of pride in being a man I think. He’s a good young man you’d be proud to have for your son and I hate to see him involved in this thing, but he will disconnect when HE is ready.

    My childhood male friend who has been severely abused by his wife, I do not think will ever disconnect. Between the social stigma about divorce in his family, and having grown up in an abusive family, he grew up to be a victim like many of us but doesn’t have the support from himself or anyone else to get OUT of the situation. As a result of his wife, he also allows her to abuse his sister who is his only family besides his kids.

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