Abuse isn’t just about bruises. Not all forms of abuse leave bruises where we can see them,Section 12 Of Domestic Violence Act in South Africa . Although physical abuse is terrifying and needs to be addressed immediately there are other forms of abuse that can cause significant damage. One type of abuse that is very difficult for outsiders to detect is financial abuse. Marriage should be a partnership but when one spouse completely dominates the finances to the point that the other spouse has no control and no options financial abuse may be occurring.
What Are Signs of Potential Financial Abuse?
Every married couple handles their finances differently. In some cases one spouse handles the majority of the finances. They manage the accounts, pay the bills and deal with creditors. That does not by itself equal financial abuse.
Financial abuse occurs when one spouse is treated like an irresponsible child and How To Prevent Domestic Violence . They are cut off from funds and their knowledge about the couple’s finances is severely limited. Some signs of financial abuse include:
•Strict Allowances. This isn’t an amount that the spouses have agreed to limit themselves to but is instead a set amount that is grudgingly handed out from one spouse to the other and is all that will be given.
Documents, documents, documents. Written evidence is incredibly strong and can range from credit card bills showing that there is a credit card but that you aren’t named on it to emails from your spouse that show the financial abuse.
Other witnesses can be incredibly powerful on your behalf. Financial abuse is hard for people outside the relationship to detect. So when someone credible comes in and tells the judge that it is happening and they can see it the judge will listen and Domestic Violence Effects .
Section 12 Of Domestic Violence Act in South Africa ?
Have you ever experienced sexual abuse? Do you know that the negative experience you had may still be affecting you in the present?
In my practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist, I discovered that many women, and even some men, experienced sexual abuse. As I counseled the clients, they became aware of the negative decisions they had made from their sexual exploitation. In fact, many years later those painful thoughts were still affecting their lives in negative ways.
Some of the symptoms that it still influenced their lives were low self-esteem, avoiding dating, struggling in their relationships, not enjoying their sexuality, hiding their physical beauty, shyness, and doing everything to please others.
I included 14 hurtful thoughts that caused the above symptoms that I heard from many of the clients of all ages. Can you relate to any of them?
14 Negative decisions based on sexual abuse include:
1) I feel shame.
2) I am bad and dirty.
3) I am not safe in the world.
4) I can't trust men not to hurt me.
5) My parent or parents betrayed me because they did not protect me.
6) I can't trust people I love to be there for me.
7) I should have stopped it.
8) Sex is painful, dirty and wrong.
9) Men want me only for my body.
10) I feel guilty because it felt good.
11) I feel different than others; I am an outsider.
12) I have to hide my secret so people do not judge me.
13) I have to do what others want me to or I am not safe or loved.
14) It is not safe for me to get attention from men.
For example, Susan was molested by her father. As a result, she hated men and that affected all her relationships with the opposite sex. She also was very cute, free- spirited and loving as a child and that is when her father started to molest her. Her decision was many of the above negative beliefs, as well as it is not safe to be free, happy and shine. She just did what people wanted to stay safe. Her self-esteem was very low and that affected her social interactions and professional success. To stuff her pain, she overate and was obese.
Her mother knew but did nothing to protect Susan. (Mothers often cannot deal with the rejection so they deny it, and may also be afraid of their partners.) To help Susan, I suggested that she imagine her mother in front of her and say, "You did the best you could with the information you had, I forgive you."
Then I helped Susan release the other negative thoughts based on her negative experiences, and she felt much better, began speaking up for herself, and her relationship improved.
By the way, sexual abuse is one major cause of weight issues. Nancy told me that whenever she was thin, men made sexual comments and she did not feel safe. The weight is her wall of protection. "Helene, she said, "I have to make myself unattractive with my unattractive hairstyle, baggy clothes, and fat, for the men to leave me alone!"
Can you relate to Susan or Nancy? If you do, it would be very beneficial to release those hurtful decisions, so that you can enjoy a healthy and happy life.
Abuse and Its Effects on Self-Esteem and Positive Identity
Domestic violence has so many different facets. Everyone is familiar with the classic physical abuse situation. Honestly, when I was younger, these scenarios would irritate me to no end. I never could understand why a woman would stay with a man that hit her. In my mind, it was just as much her fault for staying as it was his for hitting. I've come to understand that everything happens for a reason. The older I get, the more obvious the events are in the scheme of things. I have not been in a physically abusive relationship, but I'm exiting an emotionally abusive one. Now, I find it hard to believe that anyone gets out of any abusive relationship at all. I understand it all now. I have no bruises, and no broken bones, but make no mistake - I am broken.
These are 4 of the eight defining characteristics of emotional abuse.
- Using Isolation
- Minimizing, denying and blaming
- Using Children
- Using Male Privilege
These might just be four of the classic signs, but let me tell you - when you are in the thick of it, you might not recognize even one as being an issue. Seriously, when I got married, I just came to the conclusion that I had to put up with whatever he dished out because that's how marriages stay together. We all have our faults and I want someone to accept me for mine, so I will accept him for his. This is a flawed way of justifying everything I had to put up with.
Using isolation seems pretty cut and dry, but it's really hard to tell when you are the one isolated. The classic explanation uses the word "control" because that's what it is. But this makes it seem so obvious, and it's not. If your partner is constantly curious as to where you have been and who you have been talking to, then you might be "controlled". Or maybe they love you so much that just the thought of you talking to anyone else, especially of the opposite gender, makes them insanely jealous. You, then, decrease the amount of time you spend out in public, and restrict your activities and conversations just to avoid drama at home. If this sounds familiar, then you have one of eight signs already.
Minimizing, denying and blaming are where we question if this is even really an issue. To bring up a concern in a relationship is just part of the growing process. If the person you express this to seems unwilling to talk about it at that moment, then give it a while and try again. If they never want to talk about any issue you have, then pay close attention. My favorite is acting like it never happened at all. It's like living in a time warp. You bring up an issue, say, the "jealousy" problem. Then, since the other person has "no idea" what you are talking about, you start to question if you imagined the whole thing! Mind games, people!
To use a child in any way, shape or form is bad enough; but when the child is being used as a tool in abuse, it's reprehensible! If you are a mother, then you have one weakness and that is your children. If you come from a divorced family, then you probably want to avoid that for your own children. This person will ask you if you really want your child to come from a broken home like you did. If you want the kids to see their parents fighting - and the answer will be "no" and you will drop it. No one wants to put their kids through hell, so making you question your parenting skills is an easy way for you to "stay in your place".
Using male privilege is what most of us would view as archaic. The thing is, it isn't as cut and dry now days. If you have noticed that he wants to "help you" out by paying all the bills himself, or making that decision to buy a new car alone, then you are experiencing a form of male privilege. Having "your" chores be focused around the home, and his responsibilities are outside of the home is a way to control you. If he flat out treats you like a maid and tells you what your "job" is and what his "job" is, then he's putting you in your place. My favorite saying is, "It wouldn't hurt you to get off your ass and do something."
These are four of the eight signs of emotional abuse. If you read this and find it eerily familiar, then you need to pay attention to your situation. Most likely though, if you read this and find that it hits home, you will try to justify every single one. The control this person has over you is the hardest type to identify and prove because it's them using your emotions and mind against you. They are using you as a weapon of control. There is no harm in asking a few questions. The Domestic Violence Hotline is there to help you. Take the first step and just see if what you think is true has any merit.