Sexual abuse can happen in many ways. Regardless it is sexual abuse and is not tolerated. This link will help you understand what it is and what you can do.
I got this off of a Facebook page that I go to when I can because I have Fibromyalgia….
Sometimes it is very hard to do both. Especially if you are like me and have to look at scars every day. I do my darndest to forgive him because I am a christian woman, but it is very hard to forgive and forget with the scars staring at you daily. What are your thoughts?
- Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence Lucas Bldg. First Floor Des Moines IA 50319 (515)281-7284
- Domestic Abuse Services of Dallas County, Inc. P.O. Box 192 Adel IA 50003 Business #: 515-993-4095 Hotline/Crisis: (800)400-4884 Toll Free #: (800)400-4884 MLS Varies BYF R
- Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support P.O. Box 1965 Ames IA 50010 Business #: 515-232-5418 Hotline/Crisis: 515-232-2303 Toll Free #: (800)203-3488 MLS Varies BYF N
- Family Crisis Support Network P.O. Box 11 Atlantic IA 50022 Business #: 712-243-6615 Hotline/Crisis: 712-243-5123 Toll Free #: (800)696-5123 MLS Varies BYF Y
- YWCA Shelter & Sexual Assault Center 2410 Mt. Pleasant Burlington IA 52601 Business #: 319-752-0606 Hotline/Crisis: 319-752-4475 MLS 21 days BYF R
- Domestic Abuse Prevention Center, Inc. P.O. Box 451 Carroll IA 51401 Business #: 712-792-6722 Toll Free #: (800)383-9744 MLS 7 days BYF R
- YWCA Domestic Violence Program & Shelter 318 5th Street, S. E. Cedar Rapids IA 52401 Business #: 319-364-1458 Hotline/Crisis: 319-363-2093 MLS 3 months BYF R
- Council Against Domestic Abuse P.O. Box 963 Cherokee IA 51012 Business #: 712-225-5003 Hotline/Crisis: (800)225-5003 Toll Free #: (800)225-7233 MLS 30 days BYF R
- Waubonsic Mental Health Center Box 457 Clarinda IA 51632 Business #: 712-542-2388 Hotline/Crisis: 712-542-2388 Toll Free #: (800)432-1143 BYF Y
- Gateway YWCA: Women’s Resource Center 317 7th Avenue South Clinton IA 52732 Business #: 319-242-2118 Hotline/Crisis: 319-243-7867 MLS 30 days BYF N
- Catholic Social Service/Domestic Violence Program 315 West Pierce St. Council Bluffs IA 51503 Business #: 712-328-3086 Hotline/Crisis: 712-328-0266 MLS 3 weeks BYF Y
- S.W. Iowa Family Violence Center P.O. Box 451 Creston IA 50801 Business #: 515-782-6632 Hotline/Crisis: (800)842-0333
- Domestic Violence Advocacy Program 115 West 6th Street Davenport IA 52803 Business #: 319-323-1852 Hotline/Crisis: 319-326-9191 Toll Free #: (309)797-1777 MLS 30 days BYF R
- Services for Abused Women and Their Children P.O. Box 372 Decorah IA 52101 Business #: 319-382-2989 Toll Free #: (800)383-2988 MLS 3 days BYF Y
- Family Violence Center 1111 University Avenue Des Moines IA 50314 Business #: 515-243-6147 Hotline/Crisis: 515-243-6147 MLS Varies BYF R
- YWCA Battered Women Program 35 North Booth Street Dubuque IA 52001 Business #: 319-556-3371 Hotline/Crisis: 319-588-4016 MLS 30 days BYF R
- Mid-Iowa Stepping Stones Box 122 Eldora IA 50627 Business #: 515-858-2618 Hotline/Crisis: 515-858-2618 MLS 7 days BYF Y
- Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center P.O. 173 Fort Dodge IA 50501 Business #: 515-955-2273 Hotline/Crisis: 515-573-8000 MLS 30 days BYF R
- Domestic Violence Intervention Program P.O. Box 3170 Iowa City IA 52244 Business #: 319-354-7840 Hotline/Crisis: 319-351-1043 Toll Free #: (800)373-1043 MLS 4 months BYF R
- Greene County Domestic Abuse Council P.O. Box 422 Jefferson IA 50129 Business #: 515-386-4056 Hotline/Crisis: 386-4056 BYF R
- Tri-State Coalition Against Family Violence P.O. Box 494 Keokuk IA 52632 Business #: 319-524-4445 Hotline/Crisis: 515-524-4445 MLS 21 days BYF Y
- Stepping Stones Domestic Abuse Program P.O. Box 76 Malvern IA 51551 Toll Free #: (800)468-7333 MLS 30 days BYF Y
- Domestic Violence Alternatives/Sexual Assault Ctr. P.O. Box 1507 Marshalltown IA 50158 Business #: 515-752-3245 Hotline/Crisis: 515-753-3513 Toll Free #: (800)779-3512 MLS Varies BYF N
- Crisis Intervention Service P.O. Box 656 Mason City IA 50402 Business #: 515-424-9071 Hotline/Crisis: 515-424-9133 MLS 45 days BYF R
- Domestic Abuse/Sexual Assault Advocacy Programs 119 Sycamore St., Suite 200 Muscatine IA 52761 Business #: 319-263-8080 Hotline/Crisis: 319-263-8080 MLS 1 month
- Crisis Center and Womens Shelter P.O. Box 446 Ottumwa IA 52501 Business #: 515-683-3122 Hotline/Crisis: 515-683-3122 Toll Free #: (800)464-8340 MLS 30 days BYF R
- Turning Point P.O. Box 302 Pella IA 50219 Business #: 515-628-4901 Toll Free #: (800)433-7233 BYF R
- Domestic Violence Aid Center, Inc. 32 Third Street N. E. Sioux Center IA 51250 Business #; 712-722-4404 Hotline/Crisis: 712-737-3307 Toll Free #: (800)382-5603 MLS 3 days BYF Y
- Council on Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence P.O. Box 1565 Sioux City IA 51102 Business #: 712-277-0131 Hotline/Crisis: 712-258-7233 Toll Free #: (800)982-7233 MLS 30 days
- Council for the Prevention of Domestic Violence P.O. Box 462 Spirit Lake IA 51360 Business #: 712-336-0701 Hotline/Crisis: 712-336-0701 MLS 30 days BYF R
- Crisis Services 3830 W. 9th St. Waterloo IA 50702 Business #: 319-233-8484 Hotline/Crisis: 319-233-8484 MLS 30+ days BYF R
- Cedar Valley Friends of the Family P.O. Box 148 Waverly IA 50677 Business #: 319-352-1108 Hotline/Crisis: 319-352-0037 Toll Free #: (800)410-SAFE MLS 3 days
If I may I would like to make a note here that these posts are very hard for me to do because they remind me of my abusive days which were not that long ago….so please understand that if I go awhile without posting after posting something like this it is because my nerves are frazzled and I need time to get myself together. Thank you for understanding.
Understanding domestic violence and abuse
Women don’t have to live in fear:
In the US: call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).
UK: call Women’s Aid at 0808 2000 247.
Canada: call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-363-9010.
Australia: call 1800RESPECT at 1800 737 732.
Worldwide: visit International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies for a global list of helplines and crisis centers.
Male victims of abuse can call:
Domestic abuse, also known as spousal abuse,occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person. Domestic abuse that includes physical violence is called domestic violence.
Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you. An abuser doesn’t “play fair.” Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under his or her thumb. Your abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you.
Domestic violence and abuse does not discriminate. It happens among heterosexual couples and in same-sex partnerships. 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.
Recognizing abuse is the first step to getting help
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.
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 RELATIONSHIP|
|Your Inner Thoughts and Feelings||Your Partner’s Belittling Behavior|
|Do 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?||limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?|
|destroy your belongings?||constantly check up on you?|
When people talk about domestic violence, they are often referring to the physical abuse of a spouse or intimate partner. Physical abuse is the use of physical force against someone in a way that injures or endangers that person. Physical assault or battering is a crime, whether it occurs inside or outside of the family. The police have the power and authority to protect you from physical attack.
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 andsexually 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.
Source: Breaking the Silence: a Handbook for Victims of Violence in Nebraska
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.
Understanding emotional abuse
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.
Economic or financial abuse: 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).
- Restricting you to an allowance.
- Preventing you from working or choosing your own career.
- Sabotaging your job (making you miss work, calling constantly).
- Stealing from you or taking your money.
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 use a variety of tactics to manipulate you and exert their power:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Abusers are able to control their behavior—they do it all the time
- 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.
The Full Cycle of Domestic Violence: An Example
A man abuses his partner. After he hits her, he experiences self-directed guilt. He says, “I’m sorry for hurting you.” What he does not say is, “Because I might get caught.” He then rationalizes his behavior by saying that his partner is having an affair with someone. He tells her “If you weren’t such a worthless whore I wouldn’t have to hit you.” He then acts contrite, reassuring her that he will not hurt her again. He then fantasizes and reflects on past abuse and how he will hurt her again. Heplans on telling her to go to the store to get some groceries. What he withholds from her is that she has a certain amount of time to do the shopping. When she is held up in traffic and is a few minutes late, he feels completely justified in assaulting her because “you’re having an affair with the store clerk.” He has just set her up.
Source: Mid-Valley Women’s Crisis Service
It’s impossible to know with certainty what goes on behind closed doors, but there are some telltale signs and symptoms of emotional abuse and domestic violence. If you witness any warning signs of abuse in a friend, family member, or co-worker, take them very seriously.
General warning signs of domestic abuse
People who are being abused may:
- Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner
- Go along with everything their partner says and does
- Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing
- Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner
- Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness
Warning signs of physical violence
People who are being physically abused may:
- Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”
- Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation
- Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors)
Warning signs of isolation
People who are being isolated by their abuser may:
- Be restricted from seeing family and friends
- Rarely go out in public without their partner
- Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car
The psychological warning signs of abuse
People who are being abused may:
- Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident
- Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)
- Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal
If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, speak up! If you’re hesitating—telling yourself that it’s none of your business, you might be wrong, or the person might not want to talk about it—keep in mind that expressing your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save his or her life.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Ask if something is wrong
- Express concern
- Listen and validate
- Offer help
- Support his or her decisions
- Wait for him or her to come to you
- Judge or blame
- Pressure him or her
- Give advice
- Place conditions on your support
Adapted from: NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence
Talk to the person in private and let him or her know that you’re concerned. Point out the things you’ve noticed that make you worried. Tell the person that you’re there, whenever he or she feels ready to talk. Reassure the person that you’ll keep whatever is said between the two of you, and let him or her know that you’ll help in any way you can.
Remember, abusers are very good at controlling and manipulating their victims. People who have been emotionally abused or battered are depressed, drained, scared, ashamed, and confused. They need help to get out, yet they’ve often been isolated from their family and friends. By picking up on the warning signs and offering support, you can help them escape an abusive situation and begin healing.
Getting out of an abusive relationship. Do you want to leave an abusive situation, but stay out of fear of what your partner might do? While leaving isn’t easy, there are things you can do to protect yourself. You’re not alone, and help is available.
More Help for Domestic Violence
Help for Abused Men – Getting out of an abusive relationship isn’t easy for men, either, but help is available. Learn how to protect yourself while you explore your options.
Help for Abused & Battered Women – Getting out of an abusive relationship isn’t easy, but help is available. Learn how to protect yourself while you explore your options.
Child Abuse & Neglect – Learn the signs and symptoms of child abuse and help break the cycle, finding out where to get help for the children and their caregivers.
Healing Emotional & Psychological Trauma – When bad things happen, it can take time to get over the pain and feel safe again, but with help, you can learn to heal and move on.
Anger Management – Does your loved one have an anger problem? If he or she is willing to learn how to express emotions in healthier ways, the following tips can help.
I had to do a lot of digging, but I finally found some information on men in abusive relationships :
While the majority of domestic violence victims are women, abuse of men happens far more often than you’d probably expect. Typically, men are physically stronger than women but that doesn’t necessarily make it easier to escape the violence or the relationship. An abused man faces a shortage of resources, skepticism from police, and major legal obstacles, especially when it comes to gaining custody of his children from an abusive mother. No matter your age, occupation, or sexual orientation, though, you can overcome these challenges and escape the abuse.
Abused men can also reach out to the following organizations for help:
If you’re a man in an abusive relationship, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. It happens to men from all cultures and all walks of life. Figures suggest that as many as one in three victims of domestic violence are male. However, men are often reluctant to report abuse by women because they feel embarrassed, or they fear they won’t be believed, or worse, that police will assume that since they’re male they are the perpetrator of the violence and not the victim.
An abusive wife or partner may hit, kick, bite, punch, spit, throw things, or destroy your possessions. To make up for any difference in strength, she may attack you while you’re asleep or otherwise catch you by surprise. She may also use a weapon, such as a gun or knife, or strike you with an object, abuse or threaten your children, or harm your pets. Of course, domestic abuse is not limited to violence. Your spouse or partner may also:
- Verbally abuse you, belittle you, or humiliate you in front of friends, colleagues, or family, or on social media sites.
- Be possessive, act jealous, or harass you with accusations of being unfaithful.
- Take away your car keys or medications, try to control where you go and who you see.
- Try to control how you spend money or deliberately default on joint financial obligations.
- Make false allegations about you to your friends, employer, or the police, or find other ways to manipulate and isolate you.
- Threaten to leave you and prevent you from seeing your kids if you report the abuse.
If you’re gay, bisexual, or transgender
You can experience domestic violence if you’re in a relationship with someone who:
- Threatens to tell friends, family, colleagues, or community members your sexual orientation or gender identity
- Tells you that authorities won’t help a gay, bisexual, or transgender person
- Tells you that leaving the relationship means you’re admitting that gay, bisexual, or transgender relationships are deviant
- Justifies abuse by telling you that you’re not ‹really› gay, bisexual, or transgender
- Says that men are naturally violent
Help for abused men: Why men don’t leave
Many people have trouble understanding why a woman who is being abused by her husband or boyfriend doesn’t simply just leave him. When the roles are reversed, and the man is the victim of the abuse, people are even more bemused. However, anyone who’s been in an abusive relationship knows that it’s never that simple. Ending a relationship, even an abusive one, is rarely easy.
You may feel that you have to stay in the relationship because:
- You want to protect your children. You worry that if you leave your spouse will harm your children or prevent you from having access to them. Obtaining custody of children is always challenging for fathers, but even if you are confident that you can do so, you may still feel overwhelmed at the prospect of raising them alone.
- You feel ashamed. Many men feel great shame that they’ve been beaten down by a woman or failed in their role as protector and provider for the family.
- Your religious beliefs dictate that you stay or your self-worth is so low that you feel this relationship is all you deserve.
- There’s a lack of resources. Many men have difficulty being believed by the authorities, or their abuse is minimized because they’re male, and can find few resources to help abused men.
- You’re in a same sex relationship but haven’t come out to family or friends, and are afraid your partner will out you.
- You’re in denial. Just as with female domestic violence victims, denying that there is a problem in your relationship will only prolong the abuse. You may believe that you can help your abuser or she may have promised to change. But change can only happen once your abuser takes full responsibility for her behavior and seeks professional treatment.
For tips on safely leaving an abusive relationship
See Help for Abused and Battered Women. While it’s written specifically for women, the emotional issues are similar so can be helpful to men as well.
Domestic violence and abuse can have a serious physical and psychological impact on both you and your children. The first step to stopping the abuse is to reach out. Talk to a friend, family member, or someone else you trust, or call a domestic violence helpline.
Admitting the problem and seeking help doesn’t mean you have failed as a man or as a husband. You are not to blame, and you are not weak. As well as offering a sense of relief and providing some much needed support, sharing details of your abuse can also be the first step in building a case against your abuser and protecting your kids.
When dealing with your abusive partner:
- Leave if possible. Be aware of any signs that may trigger a violent response from your spouse or partner and be ready to leave quickly. If you need to stay to protect your children, call the emergency services. The police have an obligation to protect you and your children, just as they do a female victim.
- Never retaliate. An abusive woman or partner will often try to provoke you into retaliating or using force to escape the situation. If you do retaliate, you’ll almost certainly be the one who is arrested and/or removed from your home.
- Get evidence of the abuse. Report all incidents to the police and get a copy of each police report. Keep a journal of all abuse with a clear record of dates, times, and any witnesses. Include a photographic record of your injuries and make sure your doctor or hospital also documents your injuries. Remember, medical personnel are unlikely to ask if a man has been a victim of domestic violence, so it’s up to you to ensure the cause of your injuries are documented.
- Keep a mobile phone, evidence of the abuse, and other important documents close at hand. If you and your children have to leave instantly in order to escape the abuse, you’ll need to take with you evidence of the abuse and important documents, such as passport and driver’s license. It may be safer to keep these items outside of the home.
- Obtain advice from a domestic violence program or legal aid resource about getting a restraining order or order of protection against your spouse and, if necessary, seeking temporary custody of your children.
MOVING ON FROM THE ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP
Support from family and friends as well as counseling, therapy, and support groups for domestic abuse survivors can help you move on from an abusive relationship. You or your children may struggle with upsetting emotions or feel numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. After the trauma of an abusive relationship, it can take a while to get over the pain and bad memories but you can heal and move on.
Even if you’re eager to jump into a new relationship and finally get the intimacy and support you’ve been missing, it’s wise take things slowly. Make sure you’re aware of any red flag behaviors in a potential new partner and what it takes to build healthy relationships.
Domestic Violence & Abuse – Learn to recognize if you’re in an abusive relationship or spot the warning signs of domestic violence and emotional abuse in others.
Healing Emotional & Psychological Trauma – When bad things happen, it can take time to get over the pain and feel safe again, but with help, you can learn to heal and move on.
Coping with a Breakup or Divorce – Even in the midst of the sadness and stress of a divorce or breakup, you have an opportunity to learn from the experience and grow into a stronger, wiser person.
Finding a Therapist Who Can Help you Heal – A good therapist knows how to listen, helps you identify self-defeating thoughts and behaviors, and encourages you to make positive changes.
Anger Management – Does your loved one have an anger problem? If he or she is willing to learn how to express emotions in healthier ways, the following tips can help.
EARLY WARNING SIGN #1: COMMITMENT DRIVEN. This abuser claims to have fallen “heads over heels in love” with you, suggests it was “love at first site,” and believes you are soul mates. They will likely compare you to their ex’s, claiming that they have never felt so at comfortable, so “right,” or that they have never loved anyone as much as they love you. These individuals may propose marriage within the first 6 months, might pressure you into engaging in sex prematurely, and will fail to respect your boundaries and argue that your boundaries are unnecessary because you are obviously “made for each other.” Initially their professions of love are flattering, are intensely romantic, and seemingly mirror a childhood ‘fairytale love story.’ But in reality, these sentiments are only used so as to cloud your judgment, gain undo trust and confidence, and aides in the abuser’s ability to manipulate and control you in the future.
EARLY WARNING SIGN #2: DECEITFUL. Minor deceit, or the ‘telling of white lies’ frequently occurs in the beginning stages of a relationship. Even in healthy relationships, it is common for one to emphasis their positive qualities while also minimizing shortcomings so as to appear more “likable.” However, the abuser is blatantly deceptive in his portrayal of self and because it bears little resemblance to reality, great conscious efforts is expended in order to maintain their lies. The abuser is often superficial. He will be preoccupied with acquiring status symbols (car, boat, Rolex watch, et.); spends excessive time “perfecting” his image; craves attention, praise and reassurance; appears be overly-confident and gloats about his super-ambitious goals. Warning: the superficial abuser lacks empathy for others and experiences limited emotional responses. If you question his apathetic response, he will either blame his lack of expression on machismo, avoid expressing emotion by giving lavishly, expensive gifts in their place, or he may even demonstrate his talent for faking the desired response
EARLY WARNING SIGN #3: MINOR JEALOUSY.At first their jealous behavior doesn’t seem excessive, so there is no immediate ‘red flag warning’ indicating a prevalence for controlling or possessive behaviors. In fact, even though you notice he is uncomfortable with you talking to other men or even when you engage in activities without him, you likely perceive his response as “sweet,” or tangible proof of his devotion to you. Unfortunately, this minor display of jealousy is only the tip of the iceberg for an abuser; it will increase in intensity as the relationship progresses, and has the potential to manifest into a lethal attack. According to Stosny (2008), “jealousy becomes dangerous once it turns into obsession. The more we obsess about something, the more imagination takes over, distorting reality and rational thinking. Jealousy is the only naturally occurring emotion that can cause psychosis, which is the inability to tell what is really happening from what is in your head.” When their jealous behaviors are questioned, the abuser will claim that they are a direct result of his genuine love and concern for you. But, excessive jealousy is not a sign of love, rather it stems from his insecurities that suggest he must control or possess you, in order to keep you.
EARLY WARNING SIGN #4: VICTIMIZED. What do you know about his childhood? Did he experience abuse or neglect? If so, do these experiences continue to have a negative impact him? An abusive childhood in and of itself should not be considered a deal-breaker, however, if he uses his history of abuse as an excuse for his poor attitude or for feeling a general sense of resentment and entitlement; then this behavior should be on your radar.
Entitlement. Individuals with a sense of entitlement believe they should receive special treatment or considerations not afforded to others. They have an unjust sense of superiority and assume that their wants and needs are more important than those of others. Believing that everyone “owes” them preferential treatment; they often feel offended and/or disappointed when special considerations are not made, and as result then feel they should be compensated for their sub-par treatment. Stosny (2008) suggests, “After the glow of infatuation wears off, the entitled person will regard his feelings and desires as more important than yours. If you agree, you’ll get depressed. If you disagree, you’ll get abused.”
Resentment. Individuals who feel like they have been or are currently being unfairly treated are typically resentful of others. Although everyone experiences incidents of unfairness in their life, he contends that no one has helped them, or understood his needs, or taken his issues into consideration, nor have they been bestowed with appropriate levels of praise, recognition, or affection. Abusers tend to feel that they are not in control of their own lives, are incapable of rising above maltreatment alone, and blame their past mistreatment for all failures or areas of incompetence. Additionally, abusers are so focused on themselves that they are incapable of considering others’ needs. If you find yourself in a relationship with a resentful individual, you will spend considerable time reassuring, praising, and accommodating your partner; and in return your resentful partner will surely be insensitive to your needs, feelings or rights, and will leave you feel insignificant.
EARLY WARNING SIGN #5: LACKING CUPLABILITY. While presented as an early warning sign, generally “blaming others” is also a red flag behavior, whereas individuals who fail to take responsibility for their emotions, behaviors, and/or life outcomes should be avoided at all costs because of their destructive nature. It is likely that they also have endured an abusive childhood, therefore tend to label themselves as a victim and blame past abuses for current inappropriate acts or behaviors. There are two types of “blamers, those who shift responsibility for their problems and those blame others for their emotional response.
Blames Others for Problems. This individual appears to be attacked constantly, punished unjustly, prevented from success, and repeatedly victimized. They will almost never take responsibility for their problems, but are insistent that someone else is at fault. As the relationship progresses, he will eventually blame you as well for his mistakes, shortcomings and failures, although these claims are without merit.
Blames Others for Emotions. He seems defensive all the time and reactive to his perceived maltreatment. Clearly depressed or angry, he will claim that he was “fine” until someone treated him unfairly by his or her words, attitudes, or behaviors. As this relationship progresses, communication will decrease; you will find yourself “pussy-footing” around him, fearful to say or do things that will set him off; and you will spend considerable amounts of time trying to make him happy. The abuser will claim that you alone are responsible for maintaining his emotional well-being and happiness, and vise-versa will blame you when he feels angry or depressed.
EARLY WARNING SIGN #6: SUPERIORITY. This individual has an attitude of self-righteousness, truly believes that he is better than everyone else, and will have no qualms telling you this. According to Stosny (2008) “potential abusers tend to have hierarchical self-esteem, i.e. they need to feel better than someone else to feel okay about themselves. They need to point out ways in which they are smarter, more sensitive, or more talented than others. This, too, can be seductive in dating, as he will point out ways in which you are superior, too.” Predatory, hierarchical self-esteem has been considered the most abusive display of superiority, whereas the abuser will intentionally attack others’ self-esteem, seeking to make others feel bad about themselves, and does this solely to increase his self-esteem. Not surprisingly, he will maintain very rigid, stereotypical sex roles. Eventually, he will refer to you using derogatory female terms, insisting that ‘as a woman, you should know your place.’ He feels you are inferior, will expect that you stay at home and forgo any career aspirations. He will argue your ideals, insist that you assume traditional roles, and/or use guilt to get you to agree with his point-of-view. These behaviors are ALL highly predictive of an abusive personality.
EARLY WARNING SIGN #7: LONER. At first, it might appear that he really enjoys spending time alone with you, or that values solitary and is uncomfortable around others, or maybe it is just that he loves being one with nature; but eventually you will want to get out and do something. The abuser’s insistence to hang out alone only serves one purpose, he wants to isolate you from the outside world because he is vested in keeping you all for himself. This individual will either outright refuse or offered excuses as to why he cannot meet your family or friends, but similarly he has not introduced you to his friends either. He might question your motives for wanting to hang out with your family or friends, or suggest that those closest to you are immoral and potentially toxic to your relationship, and insists that you go everywhere together (after all, that’s what you would do if you were truly committed to him) but then rebuts all efforts to engage in outside social interaction. When you talk of the future, he shares that he would like to live a minimalistic lifestyle, in which: he would work, you will stay at home; own a small home out in the country, the closet neighbor being miles away; possess only the basic necessities, i.e. no phone, cable, internet, and survive with only one car. WARNING: His fantasy life would completely isolate you from the outside world, strip you of any resources, and place you squarely under his control.
EARLY WARNING SIGN #8: PETTINESS –or- HYPERSENSITIVITY. Abusers tend to have low self-esteem, thus they are easily upset or insulted. Also, he tends to make a big deal out of nothing, focus on insignificant details or comments, and assume that any difference of opinion is a direct personal attack on him. These abusers are highly inpatient, excessively critical of others, and lack the ability to forgive others. He often claims that you have ‘hurt’ him; even your smallest infractions cause him emotional pain. While his petty attitudes and outrageous emotional responses seem unfounded, you will eventually feel devalued and question your sensibilities; but of course, you will often find yourself apologizing for things you may have said or done, that he misinterpreted or blew out of proportion.
EARLY WARNING SIGN #9: CONTEMPTUOUS. He his always joking around, or so he claims; but his “jokes” are ripe with malicious sarcasm and condescending undertones. While his jokes, albeit poorly timed, seem genuinely innocently intended; other times his hostility is as unmistakably purposeful. When he is not poking ‘fun’ at others, his direct conversations will likely be condescending, cruel or rude in nature. Importantly, listen to the way he talks about his ex; does he become angry, call her names, or use insulting descriptions in an effort to blame her for the demise of the relationship? Considering these interactional patterns, understand that for now, these are directed at others; but as the relationship progresses, you must realize that the attacks will shift onto you.
EARLY WARNING SIGN #10: AGGRESIVENESS. The words ‘abuse’ and ‘relationship violence’ immediately conjures up mental images of physical fights, bruises, cuts, broken furniture, et. We really have been cued into the tangible aspects of relationship abuse, we recognize it when we see it; we can identify it, when we hear it directed at someone. However, aggressive individuals never end the first dating by punching her in the eye; instead these behaviors manifest over time. Clearly, acts of aggression toward animals or children or verbal assaults would be considered ‘red flag’ behaviors. However, the abuser may act out his aggressions in other ways that will indicate his abusive personality. Aggressive individuals often have little patience, can be triggered into violent rages by minor frustrations, have a tendency to throw, smash, or obliterate objects that irritate him. These aggressive behaviors will likely present in regards to issues of intimacy, i.e. he will pressure you to engage in acts that make you uncomfortable or use ‘playful force’ during sex. He thoroughly enjoys being in control and likes it when you play the helpless victim; unless all other areas of the relationship are in perfect balance, you are dealing with a potential abuser.
While extensive, this list is certainly not exhaustive. The single most important tool for identifying an abuser is YOU. You must listen to your inner voice that tells you “something’s not right,” trust your instincts, and then act upon them. Don’t look for alternative excuses or conjure up an argument for why he exhibits such bad behavior; the reality is that he does, and has been, and will continue to behave this way regardless of any alternative explanation you might offer. Require more of yourself and more of a potential partner; do not settle for someone that would cause you to be fearful, defensive, or diminished. Understand that ‘if’ these abusive personality traits present at the beginning of a relationship, they will be followed with dangerous levels of anger, hurt, and resentment that will eventually be centered solely on you. Don’t take a chance on the potential loser; Get Out, Get Safe, Get Strong!
I will go through and type in purple my experience and thoughts about some of what is said here:
|Victims of Abuse|
Domestic Violence: Healing the Wounds
There is hope for survivors of domestic violence. Although difficult and painful, recovery from abuse is possible. The healing process starts with recognizing how domestic violence impacts its survivors.
The impact of abuse on survivors
It is common for an abuser to be extremely jealous and controlling, and insist that the victim not see friends or family members. The victim may be forbidden to work or leave the house without the abuser. If the victim is employed, she often loses her job due to the chaos created by such relationships. (Mine was VERY jealous! I could not have friends and he made sure that my family wanted to have nothing to do with me. I can’t tell you how many jobs I lost because of him. Always calling, or stalking, or sending other people to check up on me.)
This isolation increases the abuser’s control over the victim and results in the victim losing any emotional, social or financial support from the outside world. This increases the victim’s dependence upon the abuser, making it more difficult to leave the relationship. If she does leave, she often finds herself totally alone and unable to support herself and her children. (ANY little chance I got, no matter how much it was, even it was just change, I put it away. In the end it was just enough for gas to get me to where I needed to be and that was it.)
A traumatic experience
I have PTSD and have all the above except for the suicidal thoughts. I have children and don’t want to die. I want to live for them.
Recovery from domestic violence is a step-by-step process; a journey no one should take alone. The first step toward becoming a survivor is taken when victims call for help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is (800) 799-SAFE. ( I did it alone for years! I was abused most of my life. But just recently decided I can not deal with this on my own anymore. I am not good at expressing myself and my therapist is finding this out. But she is patient and is helping me to learn to express my feelings without fear of some sort of retaliation.)
- Domestic Violence (jmack7002.wordpress.com)
- FACTS About Domestic Violence – What we need to know. (fromgirlstowomen.wordpress.com)