Abuse isn’t just about bruises. Not all forms of abuse leave bruises where we can see them,What Happens When You Get A Domestic Violence Charge 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 Domestic Violence Group Therapy . 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 Hotline .
What Happens When You Get A Domestic Violence Charge in South Africa ?
Good self-esteem or positive identity is an asset to any person. It helps improve relationships, confidence, job performance and makes it easier to enjoy and embrace life to the fullest. When a person has been abused, their good self-esteem is threatened and often lost. Understanding how this happens and knowing practical ways to deal with it can be valuable tools in our self-help toolbox!
Each of us is born with the gift of individual person-hood. Our unique genetic make-up and DNA set us apart from all others. We have boundaries that help us to know where we stop and where others start. Inside of these boundaries and within the context of our individual person-hood, we are free to grow, to question, to risk, to explore and to experience life in our own unique way! If allowed to continue and encouraged from those closest to us, we become comfortable in our own skin (within our own boundaries) and a positive identity develops.
Abuse is an invasion of those boundaries; an attack on our individual person-hood. Abuse happens when someone stronger than ourselves overpowers us, either emotionally, physically, verbally or sexually. Even if the abuse is not "severe" in comparison to what others have experienced, the impact on our self-esteem can be severe. The boundaries between us and the perpetrator are blurred. We tend to own some or all of the blame for the abuse and thus take on what rightfully belongs to the invader. With our boundaries destroyed and our person-hood invaded, we are left vulnerable to the world around us and confused about who we really are.
A common reaction to the invasion of abuse is withdrawal. Sometimes the victim will withdraw so far that they actually dissociate from the event completely. This may be good in the long run except for the fact that the dissociation almost always involves other emotions, longings, fears and identity markers that can no longer be accessed. People who are extremely shy and introverted, people who are emotionally shut down and people who lack in social graces are often (not always) reacting to some kind of abuse. The invasion has left them afraid to feel, afraid to connect and afraid to make a mistake.
Another reaction to the invasion of abuse is an attempt to build a wall of defense. The feeling of vulnerability is countered by erecting some kind of wall that we believe will protect us. We can become very angry and keep others at arms length by our temper. We can become very controlling and thus minimize the possibility of future hurt. We can become very sarcastic or funny to deflect our real feelings. We can become an overachiever so that others will identify us by our accomplishments and not by our fears. These walls feel protective but are actually putting us in bondage. We cannot do life without our anger, control, sarcasm, humor or achievements so we are not free to be who we really are... we are forced to keep up the act... and that is exhausting.
This second reaction was my own way of dealing with childhood sexual abuse. I kept the walls firmly in place from age 11 until age 35. At that point, exhausted from trying to keep myself safe, I attempted suicide, not out of despair as much as out of exhaustion!
When we react in either of these ways to abuse, we end up losing ourselves, our true identity, our positive identity or self-esteem. There is another way. From my own experience I have learned the power of these positive and practical steps that can lead us out of brokenness and into confidence in who we really are. Consider the following:
1) Be honest about our abuse.
We cannot properly deal with all of the feelings and reactions associated with our abuse if we refuse to face what actually happened. As with any recovery program, admitting the problem is the beginning of healing.
2) Forgive those who hurt us.
Holding on to the anger, hatred, malice or even ambivalence toward our abuser only keeps us tied to them and to the abuse and its consequences. Forgiveness does not mean that you are saying it was no big deal. It is not saying that you would let them hurt you again. It is not saying that it did not happen. Forgiveness is simply a choice to release them after coming to the conclusion that there is nothing they could do that would take away what happened to us.
3) Surrender our coping mechanisms.
Just as we have to be honest about our abuse, we have to be honest about all of the ways that we have developed to try to help ourselves cope with the abuse. What walls have we erected? What masks have we put on to hide from others? What self-medicating habits have we picked up? Name these coping mechanisms and then willingly lay them down. We may need to invite a few people who are close to us into this process since we often have blind spots related to coping.
4) Embrace the truth about who we really are.
Learn to look beyond what happened to us to the person we really are on the inside. At this point, having a relationship with God is a key factor. If we have become connected with our Creator through the sacrifice of His Son Christ Jesus, we get our true identity from Him. We are His sons and daughter, regardless of our abuse, achievements, failures or coping mechanisms.
5) Join a safe community.
At this point, with walls torn down and feelings exposed, belonging to a community where we feel safe is vital. A support group, home group, counselor or accountability group can provide a place for us to grow in our new positive identity. People who know our need for healing and encouragement will be a great help in this process of rebuilding.
Commit with me not to allow past abuse in our lives to rob us of our positive identity. Choose life!
Mental Abuse - The 7 Most Important Things To Know
I stopped by the house; my friend was crying. Her tears not from pain. They were tears of bitterness, humiliation, disbelief. She rubbed her shoulder as she wept; she couldn't look at me. Her husband had hit her again.
She wouldn't call the police; there was no point. When she did there was little they could do without a court order or visible marks of assault. He was long gone anyway. The children had witnessed his rage against her as usual. Watching their father beat their mother cut the remnants of their innocence to shreds. The eldest teenage son was torn between wanting to protect her and knowing that in his anger his father would beat him senseless if he tried. The neighbors, when they finally heard of the problems believed her husband's story not hers; he was such a decent guy, he could never act like that.
There's a reply that follows many domestic violence incidents that has become a cliché, when the victim is asked why she is staying with her attacker; 'because I love him.'
As I explained to my friend, her husband did not love her. There were a hundred 'buts' in response but they fell on deaf ears. I could only advise, 'leave...today.' It was up to her. In the end she did leave him and never looked back. She had a happy-ever-after story but many don't.
Domestic violence can follow a predictable pattern and it's progressive. It can start with shouting, threats, broken objects, punched walls. It moves to a push, a blocked doorway. A punch, a twisted arm, a black eye. Sexual abuse. Right up to death. The progression is no guarantee, at times it starts with death - by choking, gunshot, being thrown out the window, pushed from a moving car.
Where it stops depends not on the abuser but on the person being abused. That ability to put an end to it implies a responsibility to face what is happening and to make it stop. All the more urgent when children are involved.
People look for a cause for the abusers actions, as if that will change it. Alcohol, drugs, poverty don't cause it - they exacerbate it. If you're a batterer, you're a psychopath in need of treatment or jail. Just not at the expense of using someone as a punching bag as a gateway to treatment. You know it already. You're also a coward. Post-battering remorse, pleading "I'm sorry," means nothing. Empty words.
A good rule of thumb. The first time he or she hits you, leave. It's better live in a car with your kids than to live for a moment with someone who can defile or hurt you. They will eventually kill you, emotionally if not physically.
Victims give batterers permission to hurt them. Not the first time of course; certainly the second time.
It's done by not leaving after the first time; by not blowing the batterers brains out when they raise a hand to you or your kids; by not calling the police and filing a complaint that leads to an arrest.
Change starts with the victim. Change starts with you.