Sunday, May 23, 2010

“Why Don’t You Just Leave?” – What Keeps People in Abusive Relationships

It’s probably the most misunderstood aspect of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV): why some victims stay, or perhaps more confusing, why they escape only to go back again and again to the same abuser who has promised that he/she will change. As a society, we end up blaming the victim. Frequently I hear friends and colleagues ask me why some people stay; why they “choose” to be victims, or they comment, “they must like it on some level; maybe they’re masochistic.” No, I say patiently, it’s more complicated than that.
Indeed it is. There are a number of factors at work in any given relationship that make it hard to leave, and most often, it’s a combination of factors working together that keep a victim immobilized. Let’s look at them one by one.
“It’s not bad all the time.” Never underestimate the power of denial. The victim will convince him- or herself that the situation is better than it is because the thought of ending the relationship is so painful. And really, when things are “good” the abuser can be extremely loving, attentive, and charming.
“Where will I go?” Frequently, an abuser maintains control of all the financial resources, so finding housing is an economic impossibility. Some victims are lucky to have supportive family or friends who can take them in, but many victims have been cut off from outside relationships. Shelters can provide basic necessities and many kinds of assistance, but shelters may be overcrowded or have a waiting list. And this may not be an option for abused men or for victims living in rural areas.
“I’m afraid of being deported.” Victims who are immigrants, legal or not, fear deportation if they lose their partner, and it may be that the abuser threatens their residency if they try to leave. Immigrants who have limited proficiency in English or who are not well acculturated in the United States are especially vulnerable.
“I’m afraid of what he/she will do if I try to leave.” Abusers may threaten victims who try to leave, saying they will find them and kill them. To a survivor of multiple beatings, this does not seem like an empty threat. Or an abuser may threaten, “I’ll take the children and you’ll never see them again” or “I’ll take you to court and have you declared an unfit parent.” Another tactic is to threaten suicide if the victim leaves. This may be punctuated by a dramatic gesture. The gesture may or may not be life threatening, but the point hits home. Some abusers will even injure or threaten to kill family pets.
“How will I make it on my own?” After years of verbal and emotional abuse — which always accompanies the physical — a victim’s sense of independence and self-efficacy are severely damaged. In many situations with female victims, she has been out of the labor market for years, by her choice or not, and may have few, if any, marketable job skills. She may face the prospect of trying to survive on minimum wage earnings until and unless she can arrange for child support.
“The children…” Though the children suffer in an abusive relationship, the victim often underestimates how much they are affected by the violence. The victim mistakenly believes that having both parents together is the best option. They may also fear that the children will blame them for “taking” the other parent from them.
“I made a commitment.” Married or not, if someone has entered into a committed relationship, they believe they have to see it to the bitter end: ‘til death us do part. Just hope that death does not come as the result of partner violence.
“But I love him/her.” Victims do love their abusers and have formed strong attachments — albeit unhealthy ones — to them. Unfortunately, they almost never realize that the abuser does not love them (or why would they repeatedly abuse?). Violent relationships are more about emotional dependence and control than love.
“I don’t want to be alone.” Pay attention to what this means to the victim. Years of abuse have taken a toll on self-confidence and self-esteem. At this point, a victim believes he or she is worthless, undeserving, disgusting, stupid and unattractive. The abuser has most likely been telling them these things repeatedly, but by now, it’s not necessary; the victim has internalized this self-concept. Another thing the abuser might be saying is “Who else would have you?” “Who else would put up with you, you worthless!!

“I’d be left with nothing.”
Victims fear loss of material things if they leave. Sometimes an abuser will threaten to take “everything”, the house, car and all the assets in order to intimidate the victim. In their vulnerable emotional state, victims believe these threats. And it is true sometimes that, in order to leave a very abusive and vindictive partner, some victims (and their children) leave with nothing but the clothes they are wearing.
“My religious beliefs don’t allow divorce.” Victims may stay with an abuser for religious reasons, and you can bet the abuser will remind the victim of his or her religious “obligations.” What victims don’t consider is that most religious leaders in western society nowadays recognize the special problem of partner violence and will counsel appropriately for safety, even if divorce is not a consideration.
Any one of these reasons may be enough to stop a victim from considering an escape, but usually several of these issues are at work. Men are as likely to stay with an abuser as women are, perhaps in part because despite Men’s advantage with regard to employment and access to financial resources, men have more legal vulnerability regarding access to their children.
So if you know someone who is in an abusive relationship, withhold the judgments. He or she is already getting plenty of that. Instead, listen. Express concern for their physical and emotional safety. Talk about how their children are doing. And yes, encourage them to leave if it seems appropriate. But be patient and understanding; you haven’t walked in their shoes.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Love & Relationships

Are you in a committed healthy romantic relationship?
That’s very good for not only you, but equally for the person you love. Love and relationships are to become made for ever, not only a few days. Take a look into getting your life much more enjoyable and purposeful by realizing how to act when it comes to those you care most for.
The greatest thing to do in a romantic relationship is to care for the other person´s needs ahead of your own. Being selfless is the core of what love is all about. If you’re having issues with selfishness you need to deal with them successfully ahead of coming into a marriage or other serious personal relationship. Why pull another individual into your issues? In the event you really desire to help them, you’ll need to put them before yourself. This suggests sacrifice. Selfish individuals aren’t prepared to make sacrifices for other people. If you’re this way, save the individual you claim to adore the painfulness of finding out.
An additional significant factor of love and relationships will be the neglected virtue of commitment. Society tends to make it difficult for a guy and a lady to maintain the dedication of holy matrimony. Within the United states of America one is actually compelled to fork out much more taxes should you be married than should you just stay together. But what does “staying together” tell society? It tells the world you desire the pleasures and advantages of matrimony with no dedication. Again, this really is selfish. Don’t forget; love isn’t self-centered. Do the right thing. In case you genuinely would like to live for a partner, make an open public commitment of holy matrimony and get the advantages of a clear conscience as well.
For anyone who is seeking to become married to end your being lonely, this is a self-centered reason. Are you going into a marriage to help make yourself happier? How many individuals are doing this very thing and rendering their lives and the lives of others unpleasant during the process? Love and relationships are created to be mutually satisfying to both persons. If one side starts to have unrealistic expectations, it could be a ticking time bomb of feelings. What will happen when both parties have unrealistic expectations? This really is a formula for failure. When coming into critical personal romantic relationships, it can be very good to have wide open communication channels. You ought to discuss all the expectations you might have plus the other half must do likewise. The word “all” is emphasized in that previous sentence. Money, sex, the long term, kids and any other important topic should be brought out in to the discussion and frankly pointed out. Getting transparent and sincere may be the greatest policy in romance.
Love and relationships are to be held in high esteem when they’re seen within the bonds of marriage. This partnership will be the bonding fabric of humankind. In case you mess it up, you aren’t doing anybody a favor. About three of five marriages in the USA are faltering, according to available data. Do not be a contributor of this break down of the social structure.
In case you are not one to keep your word, especially in marriage, it’s best to keep out of the romantic relationship. Get your life in order. Grow to be the person that others can model their existence around. Later on, enter into a meaningful romantic relationship that makes the other person the object of importance. Be selfless and become happy.