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 Effects On Children . 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 History .
What Happens When You Get A Domestic Violence Charge 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
How Do You Handle Narcissistic Abuse?
When the economy dips, domestic violence often increases, affecting your workplace. This is the first of two articles on preventing DV from hitting your office.
A proactive approach to domestic violence should include designing and implementing a specific domestic violence in the workplace policy. This will not only protect your organization from liability, it will protect your employees, and help victims of domestic abuse feel supported.
Your policy should, at a minimum:
- Mitigate the effects of domestic violence in the workplace by providing victims with a link to community resources that offer counseling and advocacy. (Your organization is not required to do this itself.)
- Heighten awareness about domestic violence among all employees.
- Address issues related to the need for time off and security.
- Design an appropriate workplace safety plan, including resources, materials, and training or educational programs, as needed or as funds and time permit.
- Establish links between your organization and the local domestic violence advocacy community.
- Review existing employment policies and manuals to ensure that the domestic violence policy and program make sense in the organization's culture and environment.
- Review your EAP's policies and identify those providers who possess the requisite knowledge and experience to identify and respond appropriately to domestic violence.
- Establish and train an internal Domestic Violence Response Team, composed of designated managers, supervisors, and employees identified as the "go-to-team". Ensuring that your policy complies with the applicable laws in every jurisdiction in which it conducts business.
There are a number of security measures you can take to protect both the victim of domestic violence and all your employees. These procedures will also add protection in the case of a disgruntled former employee seeking to harm the past employer.
Imperative for the Targeted Individual:
- Consider adjusting parking and office situations (is she in an office with a window on the street; or is her office far from the main cluster?)
- Arrange for a security escort to and from buildings.
- Give temporary assignments if possible, so employees can leave on short notice if necessary.
- Be sure she knows what she can and should do if the abuser comes to work.
- Attempt to prevent gossip about an abused individual's situation
- If she has a protection order, be sure security guards and the front desk have a copy, as well as a photo of the individual.
- Help her develop a safety plan (Legal Momentum Organization website has some examples.)
- Minimal security against unauthorized persons (check-in or badges help.)
- Provide informational pamphlets in private places, like restrooms.
- Establish staggered, flexible work hours.
- Raise awareness: Use posters during October (Domestic Violence Awareness Month); organize clothes or toy drives for battered women's shelters; or otherwise connect with the anti-DV community to let employees know you care.
- Increase sensitivity: Provide training for managers, and for the DV contact team-- about how to recognize the signs of domestic violence in their staff and how to discuss the workplace policies around the issue.
- Educate: Employee training, brown bag seminars, newsletter articles, and brochures on domestic violence all create an environment where it is safe to talk about domestic violence.