I am in love with an abusive guy; but I'm telling you that he frightens me.
What am I not saying?
I'm hoping you will help me change him, even though I know that you can't.
I am sharing with you one of my most humiliating secrets.
Part of me wants you to talk me into walking away, but if you try I will fight your every suggestion.
If you tell me I'm in serious danger, I'll minimize the abuse.
Tell me anyway, I need someone to contradict the horror I'm living.
When you talk to me about what my children are witnessing, I'll insist that he is a good father.
Mostly I want him to change, and I want you to want that from him too.
I've been afraid of him for a long time, but sometimes he is exceptionally kind.
My partner tells me I that can't live without him, and I worry that it maybe true.
Remind me of who I am, even if I've forgotten.
I believe that nobody in the world knows about the abuse, even if others have talked to me about their suspicions.
If you provide options, I will insist that there is nowhere for me to go.
When you offer money to help, I'll have excuses for why it won't be enough.
As often as possible, I'll blame the abuse on external factors or other people.
Don't let me ignore the fact that you are trying to help.
Part of me is trying to regain control over what feels like an impossible situation.
I am hoping you will be a hero, but that you won't upset my abuser while you save me.
When you take time to find solutions, I won't follow through because I'm still unsure of myself.
Mostly I believe that I'm unlovable, and that is why I am suffering.
Ask me what I want you to do. I may not know, but your question will help me think differently.
I've invested much of myself into making this relationship work, it hurts to think about letting go.
I do want things to change, but I'm scared of moving on without him.
When I am alone, I research abuse to figure out if what I'm experiencing is really domestic violence.
Part of me hasn't admitted to myself that I am a victim, and I've never said it out loud.
Listen and support me, because if I'm talking to you I'm grieving a profound loss.
Don't ask why I don't just 'leave'. Instead take a minute to hear what I'm not saying and then you will more fully understand. Thinking about making big changes in our lives is always part of the process. Allow me to think and choose my path, rather than insist that my choice is simple and you know what I need to do.
Narcissism is defined as inordinate fascination with oneself, excessive self-love and vanity. The narcissist doesn’t help anyone but themselves unless there is direct personal gain for doing so. In general the narcissist puts high emphasis on personal gain, exaggerates accomplishments and reacts with strong anger at any hint of criticism. Not all abusers are narcissists, but many of them are.
Psychologists have determined through extensive research that environment plays a large role in development of narcissistic tendencies. Studies show that children who are raised in environments where they are the center of all focus often begin to believe that they need to be adored. The current parenting style that puts children's wants before anything else in the family is one of the reasons that a 2010 study by the Journal Social and Psychological Journal by J. Twenge and J. Foster shows there is a strong increase in narcissist behavior among Millennial's.
The intent of parenting in a manner where the children are the focus was intended to raise self-esteem. It is a parenting style that came into play by a generation who lived with two working parents and typically felt overlooked. Instead of overlooking their children, they have focused every moment on making their children lives as "magical" as possible. Oddly enough the rise of narcissistic behavior in light of today’s parenting style suggests this type of parenting has indeed allowed our children to feel precious, only this has a dark side. Many of these children feel that they are the focus and generally entitled to whatever they desire.
A person with coping skills will use the experience of stress to help them determine a course of action to resolve the problem, and attempt to avoid it in the future. In contrast, a narcissistic personality will blame their environment or people around them for the experience of stress. This means they will blame anyone and anything that they believe should have done something differently to avoid the stressful event.
People who believe the world should serve them, are individuals who are not afraid to mistreat others to get what they want. in many ways this is a breeding ground for an abuser. Someone who feels completely entitled will lack the ability to empathize with the feelings and needs of others. In fact, a narcissist doesn't see any reason to consider the needs or feelings of others. A world filled with narcissists is a world that accepts abuse as ‘the way of life’.
We currently live in a world where verbal abuse is an accepted response to get our needs met. Mass murders are more common and life like violence is a standard part of the video games that we allow our children and teens to play. Children as young as toddlers are being numbed by constant exposure to subtle violence in television commercials, cartoons and video games. When this is mixed with children who are raised in households where they witness their mothers being abused by their daddies, they grow up believing abuse is normal. They have no environment to contrast this belief, and as a result they believe abuse is okay because the adults in their lives are behaving this way.
The first step to addressing abuse is to ensure that our children and families know that we are a team, and sometimes we won’t get what we want. We must teach them that respecting others matter even when we don't agree. We need to allow them to experience struggle so they develop the tools that will help them when life does get difficult. It would be nice if our children suddenly developed life skills at 18 years old, but these skills are taught during the childhood years.
Moral exclusion is basically the line that each individual draws for themselves to determine what activities they feel are moral and what they feel is immoral. This line also determines the level of sacrifice that we as individuals are willing to experience on behalf of various groups of people. We are likely to sacrifice a variety of things for the needs of those closest to us, but won't offer the same level of sacrifice for the other 7 billion people in the world.
If we determine that a person is acting in immoral ways, then we decide that this person deserves certain things that someone who hasn't committed these acts doesn't deserve. We quickly assume that in every abusive situation that there is someone who is moral that deserves fairness and someone who does not deserve the same level of fairness because they behaved immorally. A more obvious example of this type of thing might be if someone commits murder. In these cases we are typically comfortable with that person serving jail time and not being allowed access to a gun. We would consider it unfair for someone who has never committed murder to serve the same jail sentence or experience limited access to a hunting gun.
The law of moral exclusion suggests that we apply similar rules to fairness and who is guilty or innocent based on where we draw these lines. If my religion doesn't allow your life style, then I would believe that you do not deserve the same rights as someone who lives according to the rules dictated by the religion I follow. Undoubtedly, this moral code is different for everyone and will probably always have some variations from one person to the next.
What this brought up for me personally is a bit of depth to the idea of what is fair. I can't deny that I have a personal moral exclusion. Some of the people that I believe deserve fair treatment do include individuals such as the homeless, drug users and mentally unstable patients. However, I personally have a difficult time with the idea of everyone being treated fairly because that would mean a child molester deserves the same rights as a teacher and I am not comfortable with accepting that.
"All people deserve the same rights", is a common phrase thrown around but this sunny approach doesn't actually work when applied to all areas. At some point we will continue to draw a line around what we find morally acceptable. As a result, we can't in all truth say that we don't judge others based on how they live their lives because our sense of morality says that we must. We judge how others live their lives and compare it to the way we live ours and make a line around what actions we define as moral or justified and what actions we don't believe moral. To us moral includes only the things we find acceptable and everything else is some degree of immoral behavior.
Its uncomfortable, but I'm guessing if you honestly examine your own moral exclusion compass that you will find that it includes the people closest to you and considers even the distasteful actions that you have personally done morally understandable in some situations. This line often moves as we gain awareness and compassion for the struggles of those around us, making the question of morality even more difficult to clearly define.
A difficult task arises when we attempt to define who is an abuser and who is the victim, because there with the question comes an inherit idea that one party is moral and the other is not. This becomes even more complex when determining consequences for abusive actions. There is almost always evidence of each person involved in domestic violence making mistakes that in some way contributes to the ultimate problem. This is exactly why judges in custody hearings will seldom identify one party as the clear victim and the other as the abuser. There has been evidence to suggest that both parties have weaknesses that can contribute to future abuse if not fully addressed. The bigger question is how we can help each human being to accept responsibility for our actions and what can be done to assist those who are being harmed by the choices of others.
Abuse is what happens when someone needs control and doesn't have the tools required to obtain balance. Abuse isn't about an evil person intentionally hurting another person that they profess to love. Abusive relationships and the people involved in them are complex. They are invested in the relationships, and these types of issues should never be treated as if they are black and white. Morality and how we define abusive behavior is never a simple issue.
"Look at that beautiful bathing suit your grandmother bought you." I recalled my mother saying. I am terrified of the water, and don't wear bright yellow because it makes my skin look slightly jaundiced. The swimsuit my grandmother purchased for me had a bright red flower painted across the middle of an otherwise yellow one-piece suit. A small shudder raced through my shoulders as a fake smile crossed my face.
"Thank you Grammy, I love it." I leaned over and hugged my grandmother while wondering why she insists on purchasing clothing for me that looks like it belongs to a three year old rather than a 13 year old girl. I had no intention of actually wearing the suit, until my mother raised the bar.
"We will send you a picture of her on the beach in her new suit next week.", rage that I couldn't express without being rude rung in my ears. The unspoken conversation between my mother and I began rolling forward in my head.
Mom, I really don't like it, I would wine. My mother would say something like just one happy picture of you in the suit for Grammy, she went to so much effort..... besides, its cute.
We'd had this conversation a hundred times before over things my Grammie buys for me, and I'd always comply with the demands in the name of being 'polite'.
Sometimes the foundation for abuse starts with a parent trying to teach their children how to be polite or not hurt an adults feelings. Ouch, I'm a parent so I know the double side of this coin. On one hand I don't want my mother who purchased a gift for my daughter to know that she hates it. On the other hand, I don't want my daughter thinking she must do and say whatever adults want to hear. Unfortunately, it is usually easiest to comply with adults expectations than it is to acknowledge the uncomfortable feelings that my child has.
The problem is a child without a voice is simply easier for an adult to prime for abuse. A child who won't say no to a swimsuit, is less likely to say no to unwanted advances from another adult. When we insist that children comply with adults, they don't know how or when it is appropriate to stand up for themselves. Abuse is about control, so children that are trained not to express themselves if it might be uncomfortable for someone else are unfortunately easier for abusers to control.
If we need to teach our children that it is okay to say what they think and believe but keep these statements respectful of others feelings they are more resistant to abusers typical tactics.
It isn't rude for a child to express their thoughts and opinions in a polite way.
How much more might I have felt respected if my mother encouraged me to say something like:
Grammy, thank you for the suit. I might return it, since it is a little childish for my current style. Maybe we can go shopping together sometime? I'd like to show you some of the stores my friends and I shop in now that I'm older.
Something like this would make the point but not be rude or disrespectful of Grammy and the gift she gave, it also might let Grammy know that her precious grandaughter is growing up, but she still wants Grammy involved in the things she enjoys as she is getting older.
Life insurance isn’t exactly a pleasant topic of conversation. But the decision to buy life insurance — and how much — is an important one, and it depends on you: your income, your dependents, and your lifestyle. The research team at Reviews.com consulted with insurance experts and financial advisors to learn more about what to look for in a policy. Consider these takeaways from their research:
If you have dependents that rely on your income to stay afloat, life insurance is likely an unavoidable part of your financial future. Not all life insurance policies are created equal, however. If you place of employment offers a policy, do your research: premiums may seem lower but many employer-sponsored plans carry a low death benefit, and coverage can expire should you change jobs! When it comes to a life insurance provide, shop around and get quotes from several providers. Ultimately, look for ones that have flexible terms, extensive coverage, and from providers with reputations of strong financial stability.
To see Reviews.com’s full research and findings, along with the providers they recommend, take a look at their study here: http://www.reviews.com/life-insurance/
When a relationship is formed around HEALTHY boundaries:
1. Both partners give and take. Each get their way sometimes and they compromise at other times.
2. Respect and value one another even when they have a different opinion.
3. Encourage future goals and ambitions.
4. Talk about feelings and avoid doing things that hurt their partner.
5. Neither one is afraid of the other.
6. Feel safe expressing yourself openly with your partner.
7. Share responsibility in decision making even when things don't go as planned.
8. Accept the differences in one another.
9. Encourage each other to have friends and activities outside the relationship.
Some tips to STRENGTHEN your boundaries:
1. Practice saying "NO" and not giving any reason why.
2. Engage in a conversation with someone about something you disagree on, and intentionally listen without making any arguments. See if you can learn something you didn't know by the end of the discussion.
3. Make a list of people you ENJOY being around and identify some of the specific qualities they have that you like.
4. Spend some time with a couple of people outside of your usual go to friends.
5. Schedule a visit with a therapist to help you identify some boundaries that you personally want to strengthen and create a personalized plan on how to achieve this goal.
6. Ask your friend to spend a day doing things that you like even if your friend or partner does not enjoy the activities quite as much as you do.
7. Make a conscience decision to not involve yourself in a friends life if they consistently bother you.
Check out our previous blog for more ideas on how to provide assistance to a single parent in your life.
6. Holidays suck
The holidays are all about traditions, family and getting together with loved ones. When you are a single parent holidays are often shared with another parent. Every year, single parents across the country wake up on Christmas morning to an empty house, rather than to the fun filled excitement of opening gifts.
Want to help?
Invite the single parent over for Christmas dinner or to sing carols with you. There is a good chance that she will turn you down, because watching other families enjoy being together sometimes makes it even harder to be alone. However, knowing that you took the time to ask will help her remember that she is loved and cared about.
7. Single parents are not invited to hang with other adults
The couples night is something that many adults enjoy and couples get together to do various activities. However, the single parent is not invited to these events. Some of the reason is because single parents don't have the time or the funds to pay a sitter on top of covering the cost of the event. Girls night out sometimes presents its own problem because this also requires hiring a babysitter.
Want to help?
If couples night included watching a football game or other family friendly activity then single parents would be more likely to attend. It may create an odd number of females to males, but typically this doesn't matter in group settings anyway. Just try to be aware and occasionally include your single parent friends in your group activities.
8. Single parents have questions about raising children of different genders.
Fortunately most single parents know at least one adult of the opposite sex that they can call to ask 'personal' questions. As a female with no brothers, when my boys began needing things like cups for sports I had no idea how to ensure they were fitting properly or where to find one. On more than one occasion I had to ask the coach or my brother in law these questions.
Want to help?
If you are asked an odd gender specific questions, try to recognize why you are being asked and answer it as honestly as possible without any snide remarks. If you know the parent well enough to know they won't take offense at a little dash of humor, then lighten the mood with a joke or two.... otherwise keep the comments to yourself.
9. We don't get enough sleep.
For two parent families the late nights are shared between two parents. However, single parents face these long nights alone. The morning always comes too early and there isn't anyone else to get up with the kids after a long night. The single parent has so much responsibility that it is unlikely there will be a chance to "sleep in" for another few years.
Want to help?
Help her remember the joy of coffee that someone else went to the effort to bring. If you know a single parent is going to have a long night, bring her a cup of coffee on your way to work. It doesn't matter if this is pricey store bought stuff, or the day old Foldgers from your coffee pot take a moment to let her know that you are aware she had a tough night.
10. Take a moment to ask how their day was.
Single people don't go home to a partner and talk about their day. They might discuss the day with a favorite 4 legged companion, but in general they don't get much feedback from other humans.
Want to help?
Take a moment occasionally and check in with your single parent friends. Even if they are unable to talk, it will warm their heart to know you think about them and cared enough to see how their day went.
Our authors are just a group of caring individuals who are passionate about letting others know about domestic violence. The posts provided are intended to provide information only. If you have questions or concerns we strongly recommend that you contact a professional who can help you sort through your unique situation.