Abuse isn’t just about bruises. Not all forms of abuse leave bruises where we can see them,What Happens When You Call The Police For Domestic Violence 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 Abuse Hotline Near Me . 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 Emotional Abuse .
What Happens When You Call The Police For Domestic Violence in South Africa ?
1. Sticks and stones won't break my bones" - and words won't leave any measurable physical damage, but they will cause progressive, long-term harm. Never underestimate the power of words: words are used to brainwash.
Being told you are "stupid", "ugly", "lazy" or "worthless" is never acceptable. The first times you hear it, it will hurt, naturally. In time you "may get used to" hearing it from a partner. That's when you start to internalise and believe it. When that happens you are doing the other person's work of putting you down for them. This is why your feelings of self-worth suffer increasingly over time.
The good news is that just as words have been used to bring you down, you can learn to harness the power of words to build you up and restore your confidence and belief in yourself.
2. You are always told that it's your fault. Somehow, whatever happens, however it starts, the ultimate blame is always yours. Notice that we are talking ultimate blame here. The blaming partner will always tell you that their behaviour was caused by what you said or did. In fact, their argument runs along the lines that you can't possibly blame them for anything, because if you hadn't said what you said, or done what you did it would never have happened.
3. You're more inclined to believe your partner than you are to believe yourself. Have you ever reeled with a sense of hurt and injustice, or seethed with anger at the way you've been treated? Have you found yourself asking: "Is it reasonable to feel like this?" "Am I misinterpreting things?" "Have I got it wrong?"
If this is you, what it means is that you have become so brainwashed you've stopped trusting in your own judgement. Your mind keeps throwing up the observations and questions because, deep down, you know that what is happening is utterly wrong. But right now you can't feel the strength of your own convictions.
4. You need your partner to acknowledge your feelings. Have you ever felt desperate to make your partner hear what you are saying and apologise for the hurtful things they've said? Have you ever felt that only they can heal the pain they've caused?
Does your need for them to validate your feelings keep you hooked into the relationship?
When a partner constantly denies or refuses to listen to your feelings, that is, unquestionably, mental abuse.
5. Your partner blows hot and cold. He can be very loving but is often highly critical of you. He may tell you how much he loves you, yet he is short on care or consideration towards you. In fact, some of the time, maybe even a lot of the time, he treats you as if you were someone he truly dislikes.
You do everything you can to make him happy, but it's never good enough. You're more like the pet dog in the relationship than you are the equal partner. Your constant efforts to get his attention and please him meet with limited success. Sometimes he'll be charmed, often he's dismissive.
If you find yourself puzzling about how your partner can treat you that way, it is because you are trying to live in a love-based relationship, when in reality you are living in a control-based relationship. The mental abuser struggles with his own feelings of worthlessness and uses his relationship to create a feeling of personal power, at his partner's expense.
6. You feel as if you are constantly walking on eggshells. There is a real degree of fear in the relationship. You have come to dread his outbursts, the hurtful things that he will find to say to you. (Maybe the same anxiety and need to please spill over into your other relationships also.)
Fear is not part of a loving relationship, but it is a vital part of a mentally abusive relationship. It enables the abuser to maintain control over you.
7. You can heal. Mentally abusive relationships cause enormous emotional damage to the loving partner who tries, against all odds, to hold the relationship together and, ultimately, can't do it, because her partner is working against her.
Whether you are currently in a mentally abusive relationship, have left one recently, or years later are still struggling with the anxieties and low self-worth and lack of confidence caused by mental abuse, it is never too late to heal.
But you do need to work with a person or a programme specifically geared to mental abuse recovery.
Women who have suffered mental abuse expect radical change of themselves, and they expect it right away. This is why they often struggle and, not uncommonly, take up with another abusive partner.
Mental abuse recovery is a gradual process. Low self-worth and limiting beliefs about what kind of future the abuse sufferer can ever hope for are the blocks that can stop women from moving on. But they are blocks that you can clear very effectively. Just as language was once used to harm you, you can now learn how language can heal you. You can overcome past mental abuse and keep yourself safe from it in the future. You can also learn to feel strong, believe in yourself and create the life and the relationships you truly want.
"The Woman You Want To Be" is a unique workbook designed to accompany you on a year long journey into emotional health and happiness.
(C) 2005 Annie Kaszina
Financial Abuse By A Spouse
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.