>Complexities of Relationships: Part Seven

>Yesterday we explored some of the most common and most dismissed forms of abuse. When we think of abuse we mostly focus on physical, sexual, and verbal types of abuse. Those are the most obvious, but let us go deeper. As we explore the types of abuse look at your life and see how abuse (and your role) has impacted and still impacts your life. Either you are defensive, take on the badge of a victim, refuse to admit you were/are an abuser or were/are being abused. Or you stand up and humbly admit the ways in which you gave in and gave up to a life that resembles the world’s most intricate roller coaster yet to be designed. 

If you are abusing someone else, stop it. You have the control and power of self to do so. Get help, counseling, and guidance. If you are being abused, get help, you are smart enough, strong enough, courageous enough, and powerful enough to not only get help but to get out of the abusive relationship. You CAN survive without your abuser. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline, your private doctor, therapist, or seek out another source that has no connection or relationship to your abuser. So yes, your pastor or religious leader may not be the best bet at this time. If you know someone who is abusing others or are being abused, get help from the National Domestic Violence Hotline to see how you can be of help (and not make matters worse). Their information is shared at the end of this post. 

Now let’s get started….

NEGLECT
When you fail to provide for another person’s basic needs for survival; your dependents such as your children, elderly parents, or a spouse can all suffer from neglect. Neglect is not giving or providing the means to receive: Food and water, shelter, hygiene and health care, clothing, safety, and love

ISOLATION 
Also part of psychological abuse is creating a life of isolation. Being cut off from the outside world, especially contact with friends, family, even having a job are all forms of isolation. The abuser controls who you interact with and when you have this interaction. Sometimes an isolated person is restricted from leaving the home unless accompanied by their abuser, or there are strict guidelines such as checking in every hour and bringing home proof of the excursion, such as receipts. 

ECONOMIC/FINANCIAL ABUSE
This is considered a subtle form of emotional abuse. Remember abuse is tied to power and control, and being able to control someone’s access to money is a very manipulative and effective way to exert this perceived power and control. We are talking about going beyond wanting to keep a solid family budget and trying to control expenses. This form of abuse includes:

-Strictly controlling your finances (leaving no room for flexibility)
-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 (you get what you are given and you can’t get additional money until you receive your next disbursement)
-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.

SIGNS THAT YOU’RE IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP (source: helpguide.org)

Your Inner Thoughts and Feelings
Do you:

-feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
-avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
-feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
-believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
-wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
-feel emotionally numb or helpless? 

Your Partner’s Belittling Behavior
Does your partner:

-humiliate or yell at you?
-criticize you and put you down?
-treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
-ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
-blame you for his/her own abusive behavior?
-see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?

Your Partner’s Violent Behavior or Threats
Does your partner:

-have a bad and unpredictable temper?
-hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you? 
-threaten to take your children away or harm them?
-threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
-force you to have sex?
-destroy your belongings?

Your Partner’s Controlling Behavior
Does your partner:

-act excessively jealous and possessive?
-control where you go or what you do?
-keep you from seeing your friends or family?
-limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
-constantly check up on you?

If you or someone you know is suffering from abuse please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-787-3224
 
Wow…now wasn’t this post deep? What are you thinking? How do you feel? Do you see yourself anywhere in this post? What role do you play or have you played? Can you see the connection between your role, your personality/relationship type from part five of this series, and how it affects your current and future relationships? Now take the time to reflect. 

Don’t react, just reflect. This segment of the series isn’t to place blame. This is about healing and becoming better, more loving people. Part seven I will share meaningful, personal information that can help us all on our journey to greatness! 

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. 

Sources:

Mentalhelp.net 
Helpguide.org  
National Domestic Violence Hotline  http://www.ndvh.org/

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