Advertisements

Let’s talk

https://joy.org.au/letstalk/

Advertisements

Sexual Assault / Abuse

Sexual abuse is any form of sexual violence, including rape, child molestation, incest, and similar forms of non-consensual sexual contact. Most sexual abuse experts agree sexual abuse is never only about sex. Instead, it is often an attempt to gain power over others.

Immediate crisis assistance after sexual assault can prove invaluable and even save lives. A person can report sexual assault by calling local police. Survivors may also wish to get a physical exam at a hospital. 

Therapy can also be helpful for those who experienced sexual abuse in the past. Some therapists specialize in addressing the trauma of sexual assault. Long-term assistance may be beneficial to some survivors of sexual abuse.

TYPES OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AND ABUSE

Sexual abuse is common, particularly for womenand girls. Ninety percent of all rapes are committed against women. One in six women in America have experienced rape. One in five girls and one in 20 boys experience childhood sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse and sexual assault are umbrella terms used to refer to multiple crimes. These crimes include:

  • Rape: Forced sexual contact with someone who does not or cannot consent. Forcing sex upon someone who does not want it, who is intoxicated, or who is not legally old enough to give consent all count as rape. Date rape is sexual assualt that occurs between people with an established relationship. A handful of states limit their definition of rape to forcible sexual intercourse. Yet any form of forcible sexual contact can have long-lasting effects on a person. Most states now recognize forced oral sex and similar forms of assault as rape.
  • Child molestation: Child molestation is any sexual contact with a child. Many children who are molested are too young to know what is happening and may not fight back. Some abusers use the child’s cooperation in these cases as “evidence” that no one was harmed. Examples of child molestation might include fondling or demanding sexual favors from a child.
  • Incest: Incest describes sexual contact between family members who are too closely related to marry. While incestuous sexual activity may occur between consenting adults, this is not common. Most reported incest occurs as child abuse. Over a third of American sexual assault survivors under the age of 18 are abused by a family member, according to latest statistics. However, incest is an underreported crime, so the actual number of incest survivors may be higher.
  • Non-consensual sexual contact: This category includes any unwanted sexual touching, such as groping or pinching. Attempted rape can also fall into this category.
  • Non-contact sexual abuse: Not all sexual abuse fits neatly into common legal or psychological definitions. For instance, parents who have sex in front of their children or who make sexually inappropriate comments to their children are engaging in sexual abuse. So-called revenge pornography sites, which publish nude photos of people without their consent, are another form of sexual abuse.

The laws governing sexual abuse are constantly changing. For this reason, most professionals who work with sexual abuse survivors rely on the person’s feelings, not the law, when determining whether a sexual assault has occurred. For example, marital rape can be deeply traumatic, especially in an otherwise abusive relationship. Yet marital rape did not become a crime anywhere until the 1970s. It is still a challenging crime to prosecute.

SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN THE MILITARY

Sexual violence occurs in the U.S. military in high numbers. According to a 2014 report:

  • Nearly 5% of all women and 1% of all men on active duty reported experiencing unwanted sexual contact. 
  • Nearly half of reports from women involved penetrative sexual assault (rape or penetration with an object). This rate was 35% for men. 

Due to the gender ratios in the military, more men experience sexual violence than women. A man in the military is 10 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than a civilian man.

Most perpetrators commit these crimes out of a desire for domination. Offenders often wish to establish control over their “inferiors.” Sexual attraction is rarely the motivating factor.

A man in uniform wrings his hands as he speaks to an unseen person.Sexual violence among service members is an under-reported crime. Studies suggest only one in four survivors of military sexual assault report their attacks. Among male survivors, an estimated 81% never report their attacks.

People who report their assaults often face retaliation. In 2014, 62% of female reporters said they faced retaliation. Many were shunned by colleagues or blamed for the assault. Survivors of both genders may face consequences in their professional lives. Some are even discharged from the military.

Reporters may also face barriers to mental health treatment. Research suggests the military has falsely diagnosed many sexual assault reporters with personality disruptions as an excuse to discharge them. The Department of Veterans Affairs classifies personality disruptions as a pre-existing condition. Thus, it rarely covers the expense of survivors’ mental health treatment.

MALE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AND ABUSE

Men who experience sexual assault can face severe stigma. U.S. culture promotes a stereotype that men always want sex. Many people believe men cannot possibly be victims of rape.

When men report sexual assault, they often face doubt and ridicule. Others may blame the abuse on the man’s “weakness” or alleged homosexuality. Victim-blaming is especially likely when a man accuses a woman of sexual abuse.

Due to stigma, male survivors can be reluctant to label their experiences as rape or abuse. Some may not mention the event at all. However, a reluctance to disclose can prevent men from getting treatment. Without professional help, some men resort to substance abuse or self-harm to cope with trauma. 

SEXUAL ASSAULT AND ABUSE IN THE LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY

The rates of sexual assault for homosexual and bisexual individuals are comparable or higher than the rates for heterosexual people. Hate crimes account for many sexual assaults against LGBTQ+people.

Among cisgender women, the lifetime prevalence rates for rape are:

  • 46% for bisexual women.
  • 13% for lesbian women.
  • 17% for heterosexual women.  

Rape statistics among cisgender men are limited. The lifetime prevalence rates for sexual assaults other than rape are:

  • 47% for bisexual men.
  • 40% for gay men.
  • 21% of heterosexual men.

Around 64% of transgender people will experience sexual assault in their lifetimes. This statistic includes transgender people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Transgender youth are particularly vulnerable to sexual assault. In a 2011 survey, 12% of trans youth said peers or educational staff had sexually assaulted them in a school setting.

Sexual crimes in the LGBTQ+ community are often not reported. Survivors may fear revealing their gender identity or sexual orientation to others. They may not trust the legal system to protect them. Survivors could also fear inciting further violence.

Like other survivors, LGBTQ+ people often encounter stigma after they report sexual violence. Discrimination in the health care system may prevent survivors from getting care. Friends and family may believe stereotypes about LGBTQ+ people and blame the victim. In cases of domestic violence, members of the local LGBTQ+ community may refuse to believe the survivor or hold the offender accountable.

LGBTQ+ survivors of sexual assault can get help from a therapist. Mental health professionals cannot disclose one’s personal information to others. Therapy is a confidential place where one can find support without judgment. 

RACE/ETHNICITY AND SEXUAL ASSAULT

In the U.S., certain races and ethnicities are more likely to experience sexual assault. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), the lifetime prevalence rates for rape are:

  • 9.5% of Asian or Pacific Islander women
  • 15.0% of Hispanic women
  • 19.9% of white women
  • 20.7% of black women
  • 28.9% of American Indian or Alaskan Native women
  • 31.8% for multiracial women
  • The report in question did not include data on male survivors. 

Racism can place racial/ethnic minorities at higher risk of sexual assault. Many people of color are fetishized as “exotic,” hypersexual beings. As such, survivors are more likely to be labeled “willing” participants. Sexual assaults on white people are often punished more harshly than assaults on people of color.

As such, people of color are much less likely to report their sexual assaults. Some people may not trust the legal system to treat them fairly. Others may fear “betraying” their community by disclosing personal information. In some cases, cultural values create extra stigma for people who report. These factors can also prevent survivors from seeking mental health treatment.

CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE

The sexual abuse of children can take many forms. It may involve a stranger or someone as close as a parent. A child doesn’t need to be touched to be sexually abused. Voyeuristic actions, such as watching a child undress or shower, count as sexual abuse. Adults who expose their genitalia to children are also committing abuse.

An adult who sexually abuses children may, in some cases, have a sexual attraction to children. Yet sexual attraction is not necessary to commit abuse. Often, a perpetrator abuses a child to gain power over them. 

Childhood sexual abuse is common. In the United States:

  • 44% of sexual assault victims are under the age of 18. 
  • Children are most vulnerable to childhood sexual assault between 7 and 13 years old.
  • 10% of American children are abused before the age of 18. 
  • Among children who are sexually abused, 20% experience sexual abuse before age 8.

Despite being common, children who experience abuse do not always report it right away. This may be partly due to power the offender has over the child.

  • Up to 93% of children who have been sexually abused know their attackers well. An offender will often threaten or manipulate the child to prevent them from disclosing the abuse.
  • Over a third of abusers are part of the child’s family. 
  • 73% of child targets do not disclose the abuse for a year or more. 
  • 45% of child targets do not disclose abuse until at least five years have passed. 

Although sexual abuse in children can be difficult to recognize, detection is possible. If a child shows the following warning signs, there may be cause for concern:  

  • Torn or stained underwear
  • Frequent urinary or yeast infections
  • Nightmares and anxiety around bedtime
  • Bedwetting past the appropriate age
  • Preoccupation with one’s body
  • Anger and tantrums
  • Depressed and withdrawn mood
  • Sexual behaviors or knowledge that are not age-appropriate

The above signs are not necessarily proof a child is being sexually abused. Children may show these behaviors due to another issue. However, one does not need proof to report child abuse. Finding proof is the job of Child Protective Services. To report abuse, one only needs “reasonable suspicion” that abuse is taking place. 

Reporting sexual abuse may prevent a child from having mental health concerns in adulthood. People who experienced sexual abuse as children are at greater risk of substance abuse or eating and food issues. They are also more likely to be sexually abused as adults.

If you think a child is being abused, you can call your state’s Child Protective Services to investigate. You can also call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).

WHAT IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT?

Sexual harassment often falls under the umbrella of sexual assault. While the definitions of both sexual assault and sexual harassment include non-consensual sexual contact, there are some distinct differences. 

The term “sexual harassment” is often used in a legal context. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment includes:

  • Unwanted sexual advances or contact 
  • Harassing a person on the basis of their sex
  • Making offensive comments or jokes about a particular sex
  • Pressure to go on a date or perform sexual favors

Sexual harassment can occur anywhere, but many of the laws that protect people who may experience sexual harassment refer to harassment in the workplace. The broader definition of sexual harassment can include cat-calling, making sexual gestures or comments toward a person, staring, referring to someone using demeaning language such as “babe” or “hunk,” and giving unwanted or personal gifts.

MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES RESULTING FROM SEXUAL ASSAULT

After sexual assault, survivors may feel their bodies are not really their own. Survivors often report feelings such as shame, terror, and guilt. Many blame themselves for the assault. 

Due to the trauma and negative emotions linked to sexual abuse, survivors may be at risk for mental health conditions. Survivors of sexual abuse may develop:

  • Depression: The loss of bodily autonomy is often difficult to cope with. It can create feelings of hopelessness or despair. It may also reduce one’s sense of self-worth. Depressive feelings may be mild and fleeting, or they can be intense and long-lasting.
  • Anxiety: The loss of bodily autonomy can also cause severe anxiety. Survivors may fear the attack could happen again. Some may experience panic attacks. Others may develop agoraphobia and become afraid to leave their homes. In some cases, a survivor may develop a chronic fear of the type of person who harmed them. Someone who was raped by a tall, fair-haired man with blue eyes may instinctively dislike, mistrust, or fear all men who match that description.
  • Posttraumatic stress (PTSD): Someone who survived sexual assault may experience intense memories of the abuse. In some cases, flashbacks may be so disruptive they cause a survivor to lose track of surroundings. A person may also develop a related condition called complex posttraumatic stress (C-PTSD). C-PTSD yields a chronic fear of abandonment in addition to symptoms of traditional PTSD. Some people with C-PTSD also experience personality disruptions.
  • Personality disruptions: Sexual abuse can sometimes result in personality disruptions such as borderline personality. The behavior linked with personality disruptions could actually be an adaption to abuse. For instance, a characteristic of borderline personality is a fear of abandonment. That fear might not be adaptive in adulthood. Yet avoiding abandonment might have protected someone from sexual abuse as a child.
  • Attachment issues: Survivors may find it challenging to form healthy attachments with others. This is especially true among children who have been abused. Adults who were abused as children may have insecure attachment patterns. They could struggle with intimacy or be too eager to form close attachments.
  • Addiction: Research suggests abuse survivors are 26 times more likely to use drugs. Drugs and alcohol can help numb the pain of abuse. Yet substance abuse often leads to the development of different concerns.

Sexual abuse does not only leave psychological scars. It can also have long-lasting health consequences. 

A person who is assaulted may sustain bruises and cuts. They could also have more severe injuries such as knife wounds, broken bones, and damaged genitals. Others may develop chronic pain without an obvious physical cause. 

Some survivors experience sexual dysfunction and fertility issues. Others may develop sexually transmitted infections. Contrary to myth, it is possible for a sexual assault to result in pregnancy. In cases where a child becomes pregnant, giving birth may be physically dangerous.

COUNSELING AFTER SEXUAL ASSAULT AND ABUSE

Many survivors develop mental health conditions after sexual assault. Having a mental health concern does not make you “weak” or “broken.” People cope with trauma in different ways. 

People who have survived sexual assault can get help from a mental health professional. Therapy offers a safe, private place to get help without judgment. You do not have to handle your problems alone.

References:

  1. Child sexual abuse statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.d2l.org/site/c.4dICIJOkGcISE/b.6143427/k.38C5/Child_Sexual_Abuse_Statistics.htm
  1. Child sexual abuse statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.victimsofcrime.org/media/reporting-on-child-sexual-abuse/child-sexual-abuse-statistics
  2. Incidents of rape in military much higher than previously reported. (2014, December 5). Military Times. Retrieved from http://www.militarytimes.com/story/military/pentagon/2014/12/04/pentagon-rand-sexual-assault-reports/19883155
  3. Marital rape. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.rainn.org/public-policy/sexual-assault-issues/marital-rape
  4. NISVCS: An overview of 2010 findings on victimization by sexual orientation. (n.d.) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/cdc_nisvs_victimization_final-a.pdf
  5. Paulk, L. (2014, April 30). Sexual Assault in the LGBT Community. Retrieved from http://www.nclrights.org/sexual-assault-in-the-lgbt-community
  6. Rape and sexual assault. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=317
  7. Recognizing child abuse. (n.d.). Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance. Retrieved from http://www.pa-fsa.org/Mandated-Reporters/Recognizing-Child-Abuse-Neglect/Recognizing-Child-Abuse
  8. Reporting rates. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://rainn.org/get-information/statistics/reporting-rates
  9. Sexual Assault & LGBT Survivors. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://sapac.umich.edu/article/58
  10. Sexual Assault: The Numbers | Responding to Transgender Victims of Sexual Assault. (2014, June 1). Retrieved from http://www.ovc.gov/pubs/forge/sexual_numbers.html
  11. Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement: Victim, Incident, and Offender Characteristics. (2000). Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/saycrle.pdf
  12. Sexual harassment. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/sexual_harassment.cfm 
  13. “Son, Men Don’t Get Raped.” (2014). GQ.Retrieved from http://www.gq.com/long-form/male-military-rape
  14. Van der Kolk, B. (2014). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma (1st ed.). New York, NY: Viking.
  15. What is sexual harassment? (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.un.org/womenwatch/osagi/pdf/whatissh.pdf 
  16. Who are the victims? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims
  17. Women of color and sexual assault. (n.d.) Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence. Retrieved from https://endsexualviolencect.org/resources/get-the-facts/woc-stats
Last Update: 09-06-2018

Copyright © 2007 – 2019 GoodTherapy, LLC. All rights reserved.

RETRIEVED: https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/sexual-abuse

Emotional Child Abuse Defined

Posted on  

SCAR

Raising awareness of emotional child abuse, its effects on adult survivors & the power of words on children

EMOTIONAL CHILD ABUSE DEFINED

“Emotional abuse is like brain washing in that it systematically wears away at the victim’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in their own perceptions, and self-concept. Whether it is done by constant berating and belittling, by intimidating, or under the guise of ‘guidance,’ ‘teaching,’ or ‘advice,’ the results are similar. Eventually, the recipient of the abuse loses all sense of self and remnants of personal value. Emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person, creating scars that may be far deeper and more lasting than physical ones.” (University of Illinois, Counseling Center)

However, when people discuss child abuse, they often refer to the physical abuse and sexual abuse of children, both absolutely horrific types of abuse. All forms of child abuse are terrible… but the one that underpins them all—the abuse that often gets ignored—is emotional child abuse.

Emotional abuse is at the core of all major forms of abuse and neglect, is more damaging in its impact than acts of physical and sexual abuse alone, and requires special attention to disentangle it from physical and sexual acts of maltreatment.” (The Emotionally Abused and Neglected Child: Identification, Assessment and Intervention: A Practice Handbook)

Whereas physically abused and sexually abused children have the physical proof as witnesses to their abuse, the emotionally abused child often does not.

WHAT IS EMOTIONAL CHILD ABUSE?

“Emotional abuse is the systematic diminishment of another. It may be intentional or subconscious (or both), but it is always a course of conduct, not a single event. It is designed to reduce a child’s self-concept to where the victim considers himself unworthy—unworthy of respect, unworthy of friendship, unworthy of the natural birthright of children: love and protection.” (child advocate, lawyer, and author Andrew Vachss, You Carry the Cure in Your Own Heart essay)

Another definition by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is:

“Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. It may involve causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a child, though it may occur alone.” (Department of Health et al, 1999, p.5-6)

The words persistent and systematic are crucial to the definition of child abuse. Emotional child abuse isn’t a parent telling his child once, “Why did you spill the juice? Don’t do that again!”

Emotional abuse is systematic. It’s a consistent destructive force in a child’s life. For example, an emotionally abusive parent will tell a child,“Why did you spill the juice? You are so clumsy…” and then, at some point in time (close enough to be linked to the first event), “You spilled something again? Can’t you ever do something right?” and then later, again at another point close enough in memory that the child ties it together, “You are always spilling things because you’re not careful. You don’t pay attention. You’re always messing things up.” And so on…

In time, the emotionally abused child adopts the phrase into his or her memory as something that defines them: “I am always messing up. I don’t pay attention. I am not careful.” He takes the words as a description of who he is… and the phrases will come back to him often.

All the destructive words, whether encased in subtle phrasing or baldly hurtful, will become part of the child’s “self talk.” The words will become truths to the child.

To find out more about the different types of emotional child abuse, visit this page.


Just waking up to the fact you had an emotionally abusive childhood?  This 92-page PDF can help you during this difficult time. For just $7.99, you receive What Really Happened: Finding Out You Had an Emotionally Abusive Childhood (and Tips for Healing).


veronica-jarski_authorVeronica Jarski is founder and managing editor of The Invisible Scar, a passion project dedicated to raising awareness of emotional child abuse and its effects on adult survivors. She has extensive editorial experience and a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Her work has been featured on myriad publications, such as Kapost, MarketingProfs, and Ragan.


Retrieved: https://cybersupportgroup.org/2019/02/12/emotional-child-abuse-defined/

The Mental Health Disorder Caused By Incest And Child Abuse

It’s the disorder that robs people of their ability to feel whole.

When it comes to the disorder that can splinter people into discrete and fractious personalities, it’s important to note that this complex disorder is not uncommon.

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, is often misdiagnosed. For the sufferer, the experience can be deeply confusing, with a distorted sense of self and long periods of time lost to dissociation.

Caused by childhood abuse, incest and neglect, the disorder often develops as a coping mechanism. It allows young kids to compartmentalize abuse so they can survive when caregivers or family members make them feel unsafe.

DID is described as a complex form of post-traumatic stress and dissociation, which causes a discontinuity in one’s self of self.

Professor Warwick Middleton is a leader in research and treatment on the disorder and has been working in the field for decades. Speaking to News.com.au, he recalls first writing a paper on the condition in 1991.

DID can be categorized as a developmental disorder, where a person’s personality fails to integrate as they develop.

It’s defined as an “identity disruption” and you may know it as “multiple personality disorder.” In some cultures, it may be identified as spiritual or demonic possession.

How do you identify dissociative identity disorder?

They have symptoms that you might have seen depicted in movies like “Sybil” or TV shows like “The United States of Tara.”

Sufferers of the disorder have a complex system of dissociation, which Middleton describes as “splitting off at different times into different identity states.”

“The individual might experience this as internal or external voices, which may argue and which may be associated with particular behaviors. Alternative handwritings. A whole spectrum of things,” he said.

What Middleton describes is a form of dissociation where the sufferer splits off into what appears to be a completely different “personalities.” Sufferers usually have at least two distinct personalities at some point in their life, some may have many more.

Middleton says that the majority of sufferers also fulfill criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression and somatization, while many of them have eating disorders and social phobias.

“Typically they present in their thirties, having bounced around the system for quite a while,” he said. “Because they hear voices … they’re given antipsychotics. From our research, about 20 percent of them are diagnosed with bipolar disorder.”

“If you look a bit closer they don’t have bipolar. That was just someone identifying them switching between different personality states.”

Losing large periods of your life

People who suffer from DID often have trouble remembering things.

In the autobiographical memory of their life, there are gaps where they have no recollection of what happened or what they did — and not in a regularly reported way, like when you drive home and arrive at your door with little recall of your journey.

It’s about losing big parts of your life to your other “personalities” who take over, commandeering your consciousness. While it might sound like the stuff of movies, the disorder is very real.

From Middleton’s research, he suggests it occurs in about 1.1 percent of the adult population. He describes this as being a “relatively common” condition.

What are people with DID like?

“(People with DID) range in a spectrum — (there) are people who sort of live on the fringes of existence who are chronically mentally ill, bouncing around services to people who are very high achieving, who may work in mental health services themselves.”

Sufferers often report weeks or months of their life passing by them where they have no memory and feel no agency over what transpired in that period.”

In the early nineties, the disorder was not often diagnosed and hardly at all identified by mental health professionals. These days it is much more commonly diagnosed.

Treatment for the disorder

Middleton says his interest in the disorder developed because there was “very little clinical awareness” and it wasn’t a diagnosis routinely made.

The other problem was that the issue of family assault and “incest” wasn’t properly acknowledged within Australia, where he is based, at the time.

“We now know that incest is, unfortunately, very common,” Middleton said.

“Basically in every country in the world where systematic research is done into childhood trauma and the presence of dissociative disorders we get very similar patterns.”

He said with standard treatment like cognitive behavioral therapy, the outcomes are very poor for sufferers of this disorder.

Treatment options with good outcomes include phase-orientated treatment.

Middleton was the first person, along with his colleague Dr. Jeremy Butts to publish research linking childhood trauma with the presence of DID. This paper was published over 20 years ago in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry.

He’s been a long-term director of the Society for Trauma and Dissociation.

Their findings showed that across the world, almost all sufferers of DID had, during childhood, suffered from some form of abuse, be it physical, sexual or neglect.

For more information on CPTSD and other issues visit our YouTube Channel

If you need support or would like to connect with like-minded people join our Private and Closed online Facebook Group for Child Abuse Survivors and those with CPTSD. Click here to join

The Memoir You Will Bear Witness is available on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback

Retrieved https://youwillbearwitness.com/2019/04/09/the-mental-health-disorder-caused-by-incest-and-child-abuse-2/

Returning to Toxic Relationships-part-1

Almost all of us have, at some time or other, run into an old flame and felt the desire to reconnect.  What draws us is a mix of nostalgia and the desire to correct past mistakes, to “get it right” this time.

The problem is that many of the former relationships to which we find ourselves drawn as abuse survivors were, to put it mildly, toxic.

Why do we save the love letters of a man who repeatedly cheated on us?  Why are we tempted to call the boyfriend who stole our charge cards and emptied our bank account?  Why do we find ourselves checking Facebook for the ex who put us in the emergency room?

The answer is not that time heals all wounds.  It is not that we are seeking closure, that we enjoy pain…or that we are simply too dim to know better.

One reason is familiarity.  There is something powerfully familiar about these toxic relationships.  They evoke buried memories from our past, memories we once associated with love.

Such memories are not generally in the forefront of our consciousness.  But a woman whose father was sharp and impatient with her as a child is likely to choose a partner with the same shortcomings.  A man whose mother was elusive and unresponsive is likely to find women with those qualities attractive.

The more closely an adult relationship mirrors the abuse we experienced in childhood, the more emotional power that relationship will hold for us.  And the more appealing that partner will seem.  It is as if we are wrestling with an irresistible force.

That force is not, however, love.

This series will continue next week.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

Retreieved: https://avoicereclaimed.com/2019/02/24/returning-to-toxic-relationships-part-1/

Red Flags – (running together with Child Sexual Abuse)

Red Flags

http://avoicereclaimed.com/2019/01/13/red-flags/
— Read on avoicereclaimed.com/2019/01/13/red-flags/

It can be difficult, at the outset of a relationship, to predict whether a prospective partner will become abusive.  However, there are certain danger signals which, in combination, should not be ignored.  These involve embarrassment/criticism, control/manipulation, isolation, blame, threats, and violence.

Here is a list of “red flags” [1][2]:

Embarrassment/Criticism

• A partner who regularly disparages your friends, family, ideas, and goals.

• A partner who deliberately embarrasses and insults you.  Such a partner may humiliate you in public, or criticize you viciously in private.  He or she may attack your looks or your parenting skills, as a means of undermining your confidence.

Control/Manipulation

• A partner who prevents you from making decisions. This interference may, at first, be as simple as telling you what you can and cannot wear to work.

• A partner who is extremely jealous and possessive.  Such a partner continually tracks where you go, whom you meet, and what you do.  He or she may expect to you check in, throughout the day, and spend every moment of your free time with him/her.

• A partner with a hair-trigger temper. You walk on eggshells to keep the peace.

• A partner who takes your money or refuses to provide you necessary income for expenses.

• A partner who plays “mind games” to make you feel guilty.  Such a partner may, for instance, threaten to commit suicide if you leave him or her.

• A partner who pressures you to have sex, or to engage in a type of sexual activity with which you are not comfortable.

• A partner who prevents you from using birth control.

• A partner who pressures you to use drugs or alcohol.

Isolation

• A partner who discourages or prevents you from seeing friends and family.  Such a partner may begin by fielding the phone calls intended for you, then distort or fail to relay the messages left for you.

• A partner who prevents you from going to work or school.

Blame

• A partner who refuses to take responsibility for his/her own actions and failures.

• A partner who blames you for his/her drug or alcohol abuse (and even his/her boss’ behavior).

• A partner who pretends the abuse is not taking place or blames you for it.

Threats

• A partner who glares at you in a threatening manner, or acts in a way that frightens you.  Such a partner may, for instance, brandish a gun or knife in your presence.  He or she may drive at a dangerously high speed with you in the vehicle, despite your pleas to stop.

• A partner who threatens to hurt or kill your pets.

• A partner who threatens to hurt or kill your children, or take custody of them away from you.

• A partner who threatens to hurt or kill you.

Violence

• A partner who destroys your property.  This may take the form of slashing your clothes or harming a pet.

• A partner who shoves, slaps, chokes, punches, or hits you or your children with an object.

• A partner who attempts to prevent you from pressing criminal charges for abuse.

The tragic fact is that domestic abuse ends in death, in all too many cases.  Forewarned is forearmed.

[1]  National Domestic Violence Hotline, “Know the Red Flags of Abuse”,  https://www.thehotline.org/2012/09/11/red-flags-of-abuse/.

[2]  New Hope for Women, “Red Flags for Domestic Abuse”, http://www.newhopeforwomen.org/red-flags-for-domestic-abuse.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

GLOBAL Articles …

After reading through the recent WP Articles of Supply and Demand – What about the Truth?, Abuse – Turning a Blind Eye no MoreOfficial: Priest accused of going AWOL & How to Let Go of the Need to Control Others it is noted that the patterns of Child Sexual Abuse is by no means cases of ‘isolated incidents’, ‘sole Predators’ or ‘one-off errors’. In what some have long suspected as an endemic problem, this will also require a common solution. Beyond the Religious basis of Catholicism (where many of these ordeals were hidden; 7% of all Catholic priests in Australia; age at the time of the abuse was 11.5 for boys and 10.5 for girls) , a multi-facetted approach will be needed. Australia’s 5 yr Royal Commission 2013-2017 uncovered many of these ingrained occasions, yet so much more is needed for effective change. It is known that many families of CSA Victims continue to follow their Church beliefs, ahead of acknowledging the wrongful impacts on their targeted child.
Perhaps the ingrained element of Control over our vulnerable stems from Caesar’s control over Rome, Anakin’s/Darth Vader’s control over Resistance (Star Wars), or simply the control dynamics found in many a child’s playground. The 4th Article gives us an outlook of personal stresses with micromanaging our children & spouse. Control of ourselves is a major stage in Dr Perry’s Article, involving personal strengthening stages. There may always be others trying to control us, yet through effective parenting-family-networks light will always be possible.