Abuse isn’t just about bruises. Not all forms of abuse leave bruises where we can see them,Domestic Violence Effects 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 Hotline In . 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 News .
Domestic Violence Effects 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.
Divorce and Domestic Violence: Who Are The Victims of Domestic Violence?
Why do domestic abuse victims assume responsibility for the battering behavior in abusive relationships? Easy answer...because it is their "Job."
Now, I'm not being flipped here; I'm being honest and direct. Domestic abuse victims know that it is their role in the relationship to shoulder the blame for the relationship discord, and that includes the batterer's physical, verbal and emotional abuse toward them. It's part of the territory of what keeps the abuse dynamic intact.
The victim's assuming responsibility for the battering is both expected by the abuser and by the abused. The only people stunned by this action are the individuals looking in who are unfamiliar with the dynamics of abusive relationships.
Responsibility and Domestic Violence Victims
It can be anything from becoming accountable for their own injuries in a domestic assault, to sucking up ownership for something they themselves were not even a party to...or even paying the penalty for a crime they did not commit.
When engaged in the dynamics of an abusive relationship, it's not a matter of right or wrong, or even who did what. Instead, it has to do with keeping peace.
The abused may very well believe in their own innocence, yet they know from experience that owning fault buys "promise" for a reprieve of peace. The abuser declares continuous battering until victim ownership is "properly" assumed. And this is what keeps the abuse dynamic going.
Breaking the Cycle of Domestic Abuse
Conversely, the key to breaking the cycle of abuse is the abused forfeiting responsibility for the battering behavior. The moment she/he stops becoming accountable for the perpetrator's actions, feelings and beliefs, the relationship dynamics shift. A window opens up wherein the abused is then free to be responsible for their own experience.
This one shift is a major cornerstone in breaking the cycle of domestic violence. Given this, do you see the power that the victim has in maintaining and/or breaking the cycle of abuse?
If you are in an abusive relationship and find yourself at the mercy of your partner demanding your accountability for the abuse, ask yourself if your ownership of the blame beings true peace or continues the war.
Going back to our opening question titling this article: "Who is responsible for the domestic abuse in battering relationships?"...Both of the parties are responsible for maintaining the abuse dynamic. And, most importantly, each party is only responsible for their own individual actions, feelings and beliefs.