By Yvonne Sinclair M.A., LMFT
Violence can be physical, emotional, or verbal. Sometimes when we grow up in an abusive atmosphere, behaviors that are abusive seem normal” or usual to us. We may be used to a type of family dynamic or way of being together. We then choose a partner with the same patterns of behavior. Ever wonder why some people continue to pick the same kind of partner again and again. It all sounds ridiculous, but this can be a real pattern for people who experienced abuse in their family of origin. We seek partners who have the same dynamic or way of being together as we have. Reasons people stay in an abusive relationship can be varied and numerous.
Domestic Violence has a cycle. It has stages of expression and development. At first the stages or events may only seem uncomfortable or hurtful. Domestic Violence has a pattern of escalation over time. The stages become more and more violent and hurtful. Eventually, any children present in the home will be battered also.
Children may become violent themselves, picking fights at school and being aggressive. They are at a higher risk for starting drug or alcohol use. They may begin to use violence to express frustration and stress. They will be set up to accept violence in their relationships. You are modeling for your children how to behave in a relationship, how to express anger, how to respect yourself and others-or not.
Clues that children are struggling with emotional problems due to the domestic violence could be; they become physically or sexually abusive, self-abusive behaviors, frequently being sick, poor school attendance and performance, bed-wetting, frequent headaches, stomach-aches.
Behaviors that indicate Physical Abuse;
Being hit or punched or slapped or bit.
Being pushed or shoved.
Being threatened with physical violence or a weapon (hands can be weapons too).
Objects being thrown at you.
Refusal to give assistance if you are sick or hurt.
Forcing you off the road if you are driving.
Having sex with you when you have stated no, either verbally or physically.
Keeping you from leaving an area.
Abandoning you in a place that is not safe.
Throwing dinner on the floor or in the sink.
Yelling in your face.
Pointing a finger in your face.
Emotional and verbal abuse are also a part of domestic violence.
If you are the one abusing and want options to stop here are some suggestions. Dysfunctional family history can lay the groundwork for an abusive relationship and domestic violence. However, you are now an adult with choices. If you choose to continue exhibiting abusive behaviors or allowing abusive behaviors, you are choosing to continue the dysfunctional family patterns. You are also passing those patterns to your children. You have control over your own happiness. Behaviors are learned and can be unlearned and re-learned. Give yourself a chance for happiness and give your children-present or future-the chance of being happy with their relationship.
*Profile of California Women, Violence, 1993 California
*Commission on the Status of Women.
*WEAVE local locations will be listed in your phone book or call the operator. Other shelters exist. More than 100 in California. These shelters, including WEAVE, provide crises intervention, counseling, shelter, emergency food and clothing for spouse and children, and legal assistance.
*Call the Office of Criminal Justice Planning 916-324-0120
I would like to remind the readers. Women are not the only battered spouse. Men are also battered. Men are not the only ones who get violent. Battered spouses can be male or female.
WEAVE is for people” not just women. If you are in an abusive relationship, take steps for changing that relationship or make plans for escape. Having someone help with the first steps in recovery or escape is an important piece when we want to leave a bad situation. WEAVE (an organization for people escaping a violent environment) has trained staff to help you with those first steps.
1. Establish your own bank account, credit card, or money readily available.
2. Car keys in an accessible place to leave in an instant.
3. A bag packed to take with you, also in a place you can access if leaving.
Abuse and Violence are not part of a healthy relationship and no one deserves abuse. Call 911, call Weave (not just for women), call a local counselor. You can find a counselor in your area at http://www.GoodTherapy.org
If there is a long history of violence and the police have been called Victim of Crime Funds may be available to pay for counseling for the battered spouse and the children.
Congratulations just reading through all this could have been traumatic. To address the fact family patterns are continued in your relationship can be extremely hard to hear. Take charge of your life. Accept the help available. Talk to your partner. KNOW you are valued and deserve love and caring treatment.
©Copyright 2012 by Yvonne Sinclair M.A., MFCC. All Rights Reserved. All material is owned and protected. Reproduction without the express written consent of the author is forbidden.